Pirates Making-of


(the making-of)


In this step-by-step tutorial, I will show you how, starting from this picture...

...we can get this final result.


At first sight, this may seem quite difficult but with a little organisation and patience, it should be easy.




1st part : Camera mapping


Explanation : in brief words, the process of camera mapping consists in projecting an image on a plane from the camera view – this is the « project from view » option in Blender.

In theory it seems easy, but actually it is not really.

Indeed, to have camera mapping working properly, we have to mind the focal distance of the image.

To do so, I launched my photo viewer (Xnview), and in the Exif tab, I looked for the line « focal distance  (35mm) » and noted down its value (50 in this case).


Tip : so as to avoid lighting problems, you'd better use a picture taken during cloudy weather (no direct sunlight)

Tip : take photos with the highest possible definition (the one I used is 3000x2000px)


Once I had the focal distance value, I could start working on my project.


-To start with, Blender has to be... started.

-Then, the image - which will be used as a blueprint - has to be set :

-Once the image is in the right position, the camera must be assigned the same dimensions as the photo :

-And - still with the camera selected – you must give it the right focale.

Once all these elements are set, we can start modeling.


But before this, there is one last thing to do. And it is the most annoying part (and the longest as well ^^) : positionning the camera properly.


Unfortunately, there is no ready-made technique to make it easier (unless I don't know it). It has to be be done methodically, step by step.

First, a plane shall be added. This plane will be the reference for the ground.


Then, I enabled « pivot : 3D cursor » and after having selected the camera, I rotated it in the three views (Front, Top, Left)


Note : the camera may be too high or low. In this case, grab it along the Z axis.


You should also use a few cubes as position references. It will help a lot to find the right angle.

Important : While positionning the elements, make sure to mind their real position in the photo. Indeed, an object can look well-positionned but you may feel the need to move it farther as soon as you add another object.


Once the right angle is found, modeling becomes easy. In general, you only have to create basic shapes.

For the craft, I added a plane, the position of which was set in the camera view (0). Then, while extruding the edges, I grabbed the vertices (in top view – 7) to give them a rounded shape.


Tip : in order to make texturing easier, all the objects should be separate. Once you have finished modeling an object, exit Edit mode and switch to Object mode before adding a new mesh.


Once modeling is done, it is time for texturing.

2nd part : Texturing


If all the elements are properly positionned, then texturing should not be a problem. Indeed, you only have to repeat the same process on every object.


Start by selecting an object (the sea, for example), then assign it a new material (F5).

As a texture, give it the same image used for the camera, assigned as follows « Map input : UV ».

Load the image in the UV/image editor.

Then you can start the UV calculation (unwrapping).


Unwrapping is very easy to do here : in camera view (0), select the object to unwrap, then in Edit mode, with all vertex selected, press U and click on « Project from view ».

Now you only have to position the texture correctly. Enabling « View : Update automatically » can be useful.

Tip : to make things easier, you can also enable « Draw type : Textured » in the camera view.

This process has to be repeated on each object, always using the same material.


Once unwrapping is done, I get this :

Not so bad, hu?


Tip : In order to avoid distorsions on wide areas, subdivide them (w => Subdivide Multiple)


Now, the lighting has to be set.




3rd part : Importing the elements


The easiest part.

I only imported objects I had already modeled ( Shift+F1)




4th part : Lighting


Important : this step is lethal and has to be done very carefully. From this point, you can get a good final render... or completely waste it.


Very Important : it seems that Yafaray (or Blender) deletes the camera when saving the file. So it is highly recommended to save a different file BEFORE you render.


Before starting setting up the lighting, I tried to imagine the atmosphere I wanted to give to this scene..

I decided to give it a « sunset » atmosphere.


First, I set the ambiant light : a basic night blue


Then, I added the lamps :

  • 2 arealamps

  • 1 sun

Then I positionned them as follows :


Here are the settings I used for the three lamps :

Big arealamp :


Small arealamp :


Sun :


After numerous attempts, I finally managed to get what I was looking for.


But the picture is not finished yet.

One last thing has to be done :


5th part : Depth of Field



The last thing to do is to create a depth of field.

Contrary to some of the previous steps, this one is easy.


To start with, select Yafaray.


Then, choose the object which will be the focal point (in this case, the pirate captain ).


Copy its name.


Select the camera, then in the Object tab, paste its name and click on « Calculate Distance »

Normally, a number appears in the « DOF Distance » field, : this is the depth of field.

The last thing to do is to set the size of the DOF blur.

To do so, in « Aperture Size », type a value (0,500 is a good start)

Tip : the higher the number, the blurrier the picture


Now you can start test renders.

To make these test renders faster, use settings as low as possible.


The DOF is too noisy.


To solve this problem, you just have to set up the Anti Aliasing values.


Important : The higher the AA Sample Value, the smoother the blur... and the longer the render.


Then you can launch the final render of your picture.


This is the end of this making-of.

I hope you enjoyed it and got inspired for your next creations.


Have a nice blend.

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excelent tutorial

Excelent tutorial....... tanks..........

French version ??

It would be nice to post the original French version of the tutorial as well (even if my excessive pride pushes me to love the translation I made, lol)

Sorry if my English is not correct.

HDR images?

Very nice tutorial !! 

Only one question, Could it be possible to light the scene using the same image which you are using as background?  

Or have an HDR image to get a more realistic illumination?

Could it be difficult?

Thank you very much!