Viking Longship

First thing to say is that I used a model from Blendswap by Boris Marjanic for this picture. The sky and ocean and lighting etc are mine as is the composition ( which could be improved I think as the boat is stuck to the right too much).
I was trying to get a moody, storm sky with light breaking through and sparkling on the water, Ive given the sail some translucency.

I would be interested on anyones thoughts on what I should do to improve this. There are a few previous incarnations of this on page 5 of my sketchbook.


I have moved the POV and rotated the ship for this one. Also tried a different sky and using my background sun group for lighting rather than just as sun lamp. Some changes to post processing and using a different film. V5


Water is very off (no offense) . there r plenty of good tutorials on oceans just google em
U say u want it moody then the hdr or sky or whatever u r using is not right.
I presume u plan to add ppl in the boat coz that is kinda necessary
Also change the sail right now it is very plain with stripes… (also i presume vikings didnt make stripes on their sales) try adding a picture on it (ie dragon head)

Thanks for the comment. I was liking the waves but I was probably focussing too much on getting lighting dramatic so ill check the tutorials again. I’m using a wave material setup but Ill try some other setups of it. I’ve got a viking posed for the front of the boat but I’m not doing a full render with him until Im happy with the rest. Putting a dragon head on the sail is a great idea. Thanks again for commenting.

Found this quickly on the interweb thingy. This is the sort of water light effect I envisaged, but with a somewhat oilier less choppy sea.

I actually like the direction where you are going with the waves, but I have to agree with The HK that they do not look realistic. I think they are mostly too “clear”. They should not have sharp tips as their highest points and the smaller “sub-waves” should have a bigger effect.

Apart from that: If you are going for a dramatic look, you should work on the sky texture, as it is looking quite friendly right now :wink:

U r unlikely to find the hdr u want so i reccomend just adding in the sky afterwards. U can easily get a nice stormy sky online.

Many thanks for taking the trouble to comment guys.
I want to do as much of this procedurally as I can. I will probably resort ultimately to a HDR eventually. The sky has only been a standin really so far as most of my attention was to get the sun light and sail translucency. ( both of which are in the ball park but need further tweaking.
Ive done some more work on the ocean shader. I didnt go back to any tutorials yet as one of the objectives for me in a piece like this is to see if I can work a result myself. Its a test I guess.
Anyway the tweaks to the ocean shader include adding and texturing the foam, texturing the non foam water and some testing of different colors. The colors are much in play still though because my final choices for water shading will have to play well with whatever sky I make ( or use utlimately)

Anyway here is a test render as I m working on things. This is small and about 150 samples I think. Ive changed camera position slightly and there are one or two tweaks needed to account for that ( mainly sun rays).

I would love any more comments anyone has.

The water looks much nicer now, although some lines (can be seen well on the lower left) are still much too clear, which does not look natural. But that can probably be fixed with another layer of noise or something like that.

The person is a nice addition! Of course it needs to be worked on further, but I think that it will help make this a great image!

One thing you should think about (in case you want to do that in this stage already) is the composition. You need to either get closer to the ship or show it in its entirety (including the sail).

I agree that the water is coming on and I’m with you on needing some further work to the sea texturing.
The composition I also agree can be improved and that’s clearly my two choices. I’ll probably cheat and do both. Lol.
One thing I’m considering is changing the picture proportions though to better match the shape of the ship. I suspect do this picture the off the shelf format will not be the best one. oNe thing I’m wanting to do is get just a little more lighting on the near side of the ship. I could bring up the env lighting but this will kill any dynamism I have in the lighting of the sea. So I may cheat with a very low intensity mesh light to just bring up some areas. I’ll need to be careful though or it could look very artificial. I’ve been trying some skies but its at a very early stage.

Ive tried a few setups to produce storm clouds using either the environment, texturing a volume or using smoke. Nothing satisfactory at the moment though. Reference material is a google for “sun through storm clouds”. The simplest sort of image would be like this essentially a sort of hole in a dark cloud layer. Im wanting more detail in the clouds than that though. Im not giving up just yet on doing the clouds procedurally though.

An extremely simple material setup for water/oceans that always tends to work out nice for me is just the Glass Shades with an IOR of 1.333 (Water), and then tint it in whatever color you feel like :slight_smile:

One of the hardest bits I find with non volumetric procedural environment clouds is getting them to have some sense of volume and to be lighter at the edges when lit from behind. Ive tried lots of times previously to do this but never really managed to crack it. I used a different approach this evening and got something that at least looks more than just flat clouds. its actually a fairly simple node setup for the background texture. My thinking now is to replicate this a few times and overlay variations on each other to give a more complex cloudscape. I need to do this in a way which leaves space for my sun.

This is a quick render showing my clouds. The sky and sun arent the ones that I will be using they are just a standin while i work up my procedural clouds.


Some tweaking of the clouds gives me this ( straight render no post process)

Another variation - these clouds rotate and move really nicely and render really quickly.

Ive added the cloud node group into my sky now and this is a test render to see how its looking. Im still needing to work on things like cloud scale etc but its getting there. Ill take these procedural clouds as far as I can before trying an actual cloud HDR.

One impact of adding the clouds has been to reduce the ambient light on the front of the ship… I f i turn the strength of the sky up it will risk blowing any detail on the clouds so I really need to solve this. Ive two routes I think. One will be to use one strength for the camera and another for scene lighting and the other will be to add specific lights to thrown some light on the boat. Wave texture also needs some more work.

Wow those new clouds look great! How did you do this?

I will post the cloud node group later.

Ive tightened the composition around the ship by altering the format. I think this is better. I might adjust camera so that the ship doesnt touch the top of the picture. Water textture has had some work and is better. Ive camera ray logiced the strength of the visible sky versus its lighting strength so I can adjust separately. The sky has been adjusted here as I was trying different effects.
There is no post processing so glare and sun rays arent showing.