High Poly Brief – Pirates

The end of the year is drawing near and we have been given one last modelling project to keep us occupied until then. We’ll be teaming up into larger teams of around 7-8, each creating a hero piece based around a theme. These pieces will then be combined to make a small high poly scene of exceptional detail.

Team leaders were picked (hi, thats me this time) and c0-workers were picked at random. I feel like the team assembled has a lot of potential and drive and look forward to the end results. To begin with we needed the following:

  • A theme
  • Mind Map based around the theme
  • Research images (group and individual)
  • An asset list to keep track of what everybody is doing

Right off the bat, Michael suggested pirates as a theme and nobody had any objection. I’d wanted to get away from doing something sci-fi for once and was pleased for the change of scenery. We refined the idea down to the captains quarters only, so we didn’t end up with a mis-matched collection of pirate ship parts that didn’t fit together.

Once group research was complete we all picked an idea from the mind map that would become our hero piece, initial concept sketches were drawn up and I’ll be choosing the final design from one of these. However first some catch up in image form.

Our final mind map with chosen hero assets highlighted.
The group mood board full of other captain’s quarters.


The asset list was discussed and divided into high priority hero asset jobs, for anyone that finished these ahead of time we also assigned medium and low priority objects that would also look great in the scene. No harm in planning extra.

My individual research into old ship tables and old tables in general.

It was difficult to find anything definitive when looking for old sailing ship tables/furniture, however I came across many examples of old desks that had been converted from ship hold doors and I am rather fond of the hand holds and steel braces that were never removed. It adds a lot of detail and character to an otherwise bland functional object. Otherwise I mostly went looking for variation in leg styles.

While I’m not finished drawing or settling on an idea yet, here are my sketches so far.

Office Lens 20170324-164836

I know I’d like to replicate the hold door for the desk top, it gives a lot of opportunity for weathering and having the shape a little more rough as the hunk of wood has seen service elsewhere before. Maybe battered by storms, chipped by great pirate battles etc etc. Therefore I mostly doodled leg designs looking for something interesting. Matt had demonstrated how to easily make the lathed legs using the revolve tool in Maya, however I don’t think they’d match the very practical/salvaged aspect of the rest of the desk. So I’m currently hovering between the heavy riveted look or the single leg carved like a skull idea, the skull details could be normal mapped in and give a custom look without being too ornate.

I’ll have to make a decision and finish this up soon as I also need finalised concept sketches, a front view, side view and 3/4 view to help with modelling.


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