Arr! Here Be Pirates! – Modelling Project (part 1)

We’ve started up one last project for our modelling class, where we’ll be creating (at minimum) one “hero piece” to bring to our group and make up a part of environment. I’ve been matched up with a very good group who had no problem coming up with a theme and we spent the rest of the class working on the first few of Matt’s project requirements.

To begin with, we needed the following:

  • Ideas mind map
  • Research images (both group and individual)
  • An asset list for the project

Once we were done with the group portion, we could pick which item we wanted to focus on and sketch out three concept ideas – one of which we would move forward with. At each stage, we needed to verify with Matt that we were staying the course, so that we wouldn’t stray too far from the point of the project.

The theme we chose ended up being pirates (slightly obvious from the post title), however more specifically we were going to focus on the Captain’s table in his quarters. To begin with, we just started throwing out ideas of what one would find on a ship or in the quarters.


Our group currently consists of seven people, who chose their item from the mind map and that meant we could move on to the asset list. This was quite easy to make, considering we had a whole bunch to choose from our mind map. I just ended up sorting their priorities by what we were all definitely going to do, what would be a nice addition to the scene if people finished their models early, and the very furthest “stretch goals” if we really make good time on the project. This will also be useful if we end up getting another person on the team (since I believe we were supposed to be eight, but some people were absent from class).


While the asset list was quickly thrown together, it was suggested we set up a Google Docs slide show for our mood boards; that way, we could toss all our research images into one place everyone has access to – we could add both the group mood board (shown as the first image) and our own individual ones (mine is the second image below).


I went about gathering a number of pictures of various chests – my favourites were the ones with ornate filigree or carvings, as well as the designs with skulls or feet. I think the finer details of the exteriors outweighed my design to make an open chest – I could focus more on the outside design rather than what I would have to model to fill it. If I plan it correctly, I could always model some extra things if there’s time, but I’d rather put all my efforts into the chest design for now.

Finalising my mood board and looking at plenty of inspiration, I could progress to sketching out a few ideas – we’ve learned all about the importance of thumbnails and initial sketching from Tony’s class, so this seemed like an excellent idea. It’s so easy to get hung-up on one particular look, but instead it’s good to explore lots of ideas before settling on a single one. I’m glad I did this, since I think the third drawing/idea (the one on the bottom left) I came up with was the best and now it’s the one I’ll be progressing with!


I think this will be an interesting project for me, since it will put to practice the things I’ve learned lately and haven’t had a change to do much of, such as normal mapping or using Mudbox to put in finer details on a model. I’m looking forward to drawing up my proper concept sketches now – I now need to have a front view, a side view, and a 3/4 view of the drawing I’d like to model – which I’ll likely do digitally in Krita.


Posted in 3D

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