Digital Art – Tall ship and coastline

Digital Art – Tall ship and coastline

This was a very interesting project, as all of my previous models and renders were either of a small, household object (or so), or set in space. I enjoyed them, but I wanted to have a try at making an outdoor scene.

My first thought would be to make the white cliffs of Dover, with a small tall ship way down in the harbour. I started with a very rough outline of the cliff itself. I’d already done the water using textures and the sky as an image I created with a gradient in Inkscape.

Benedict really liked this level of detail, kind of low poly, but I wanted to do something a little more involved. After a few more iterations of detail on the coastline, I started on the ship.

Why a tall ship? Well, I have to blame my kids for that. They’d recently had a surge on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, and I thought it would add a nice little detail to the picture. I based the shape very loosely off the HMS Indefatigable from the BBC miniseries, “Hornblower.”

I realised at this point that the ship was looking suspiciously like a toy as the scale of the waves and coastline are all out of whack. I scaled down the waves and began adding detail to the ship.

I suppose I always knew that the ship was going to take some effort, even without trying to make it photorealistic, but the amount of work involved was huge. It felt kind of silly to put that much detail into something that would be sitting in the background, so it ended up front and center.

From here, I felt that I had the basic structure of my picture in place, so it was just a case of adding detail. And more detail. And even more detail. Ad infinitum.

I was really pleased with the final result. It isn’t meant to be photorealistic, just a way of creating a piece of art digitally instead of on canvas or paper. On Benedict’s suggestion, we named the ship “Render’s Game,” a name that wouldn’t have been out of place for a ship of the era, but a nod to its medium.

You can see a short video of the steps I went through in creation on YouTube:

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