Underwater Scene: Reef, fish, ocean, boat, etc

Hey guys

I’m new to Blender but I feel I’ve become comfortable enough with it to start a serious project. I work for a Sportfishing magazine and have done underwater illustrations for them in the past — all in Photoshop (two previews below). My plan is to “convert” it to true 3d in Blender, and in the process improve on it as well. It will certainly be a pleasure to make ammendments to a Blender project instead of a Photoshop one – I’m reaallly sick of the clone tool!!

Speed and progress on this will mostly depend on how much time my company allow me to spend on it, while busy with other (boring) jobs.

I started with a small test fish – a 'Cuda. I’m not too happy about the first top fin and will try and improve on it. The texture is quite low and the poly count quite low as well, in the end it won’t need to be very high quality as the fish is fairly small in comparison to the whole illustration.

I’ve also found some really good Tutorials on this forum, which I’ll certainly make good use of.

Keep well

EDIT Sorry guys, if I should rather be in the “Works in progress” section could the mods please move it for me?


These are two previews of jobs I did in Photoshop:

great scene ! :wink:

just little fake caustics to the ground sand in the first image :smiley:

I believe the first one to be a photoshopped image… the fish looks good though :wink:

This is a great start. The modeling is perfectly fine for what you want to do, and you say you don’t need the fish to be high detail, but if you did I would recommend the following:

  1. A better texture. If you work for a fishing magazine, hopefully you can get hold of a nicer image of a fish - preferably from directly side on. This texture image almost seems to be a photo taken from an angle.

  2. a Bump map. Especially for scales . It should be a very mild amount of bump (or normal), but I think it will change the light and add 100% more realism.

Finally, from the Barracuda I have seen (and caught), this looks a little plump, and its missing those three vicious teeth that they have protruding from the bottom jaw. Or are there a variety of barracuda?

Hi Guys

Thanks for the replies. Ingoenius, yeh hehe, there’s lots of fake things in that image – entirely photoshopped.

Sandrew thanks, I combined 4 different renders into one image in photoshop.

Thanks Goosey for the suggestions I’ll implement them all. I’m gonna redo the whole fish. It’s quite frustrating because even though I work for a fishing mag I hardly have any decent side-on shots, but I’m gonna make a plan somehow. You’re right about the species, technically it’s not a pure Barracuda as such, it’s a King Mackerel but some here in SA call them 'Cuda. Its teeth are alot smaller, however the mouth in my model is way to small, I had hoped that the texture would add to the mouth (as it’s slightly closed) but that didn’t work — too bad a quality texture.

Thanks guys. I’m going to make all the different species of fish and post them in the “Work in Progress” section as I progress. As soon as I finalised them I’ll post them all together in this section for serious crit. From there I’ll do each part of the scene and as I finalise each part I’ll update it here ie:

  1. All the fish
  2. Scene with ocean-water, water volume & sand bottom
  3. Reef
  4. Charter Boat with outriggers

Otherwise I might get in trouble for posting here in the “serious works” threads if I haven’t made enough progress yet.

Hey! Welcome to the community. Always great to hear from professionals like you putting Blender to work and getting paid to do it. I think you will love Blender. From your pics, I see a definate 2D shortcoming, and using Blender will add so much more depth to your work. It takes longer to do, which is a bummer for magazines and their deadlines, but the quality of the work will be so much better. I can see lots of applications, because you are trying to help the reader visualize what is going on “beneath the waves”. I can see that 'cuda snapping on a lure jumping right out at you; something you can do in Blender but not the 'shop. Keep us posted! And of course, if you snag your line (get the reference?) we’re here to free it up for you.

Hi Roger! Thanks for welcoming me hey! Hehe I think I’ll need lots of help freeing up my line, in fact I’ll probably get my line broken off and lose my bait, hook and sinker! But hey I’m up for it and if one don’t have one’s line in the water you’ll never catch that big one! hehe

Too be honest Roger I think in the end it will speed up my work flow, the initial creation of the scene I think will take a fair amount of time, but once I have the main templates and modelling done it will be so much easier to modify. At the moment the 'shop will only allow me to do so much and sometimes the smallest ammendment can take hours! And like you mentioned the 2d shortcoming is very frustrating. And the really cool thing I think is eventually I’ll be able to animate it, or have the camera track through the scene and actually show that 'cuda take the lure like you said! And who knows maybe I could get a spot on the Supersport Channel or ESPN as our mag is getting invlolved with a locally produced TV program at the moment.