The Ship beneath the Floor

HMS Namur

A ship rarely mentioned but the Namur has more accredited honours in battle than HMS Victory. Built in 1756 at Chatham dockyard this warship was once Captained by Jane Austen's brother, Charles Austen.

Back in 1995 under the old Wheelwrights workshop at Chathams Dockyard, excavators found uniformly laid out ships timbers, used as a leveling tool but with visible signs of care taken to preserve the timbers. In 2012, they were finally identified as belonging to the Namur.

As part of my 3D Visulisation module I have decided to create the Namur in Blender, with the intention that the model could be used for a virtual exhibition and possibly aid in educational classes at Chatham Dockyard.

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This  project began with researching any reference images and blueprints I could get on HMS Namur. Mainly I found historic paintings of her time at the battle of Trafalgar, drawings like the one to the left and a set of hull blueprints from the Royal Museums Greenwich.

When I started the project I did have the intention of rendering an animation of the ship floating on water, however due to the current circumstances of lockdown and not having powerful enough equipment, I have had to produce Rendered stills of my project until such a time that I can produce the animation. I did look into the possibility of using a Render farm but could not afford this avenue either.

By inserting the Hull blueprints directly into Blender it allowed me to create a cross sectional template, making the hull as close to historically accurate as possible. Below are some screen captures of my modeling process pre rendered.

For the project I began looking into how to procedurally create materials for the Namur. I used what we had learnt in our lectures and followed along some insightful tutorials online to create wood textures for the deck planks and some of the population details.

As you can see it was a long process, needing to be checked after every new node was added to make sure the final result ended up looking how I wanted it to.

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After following along the procedural tutorials I began to notice that building all of the nodes was significantly slowing down my production time, in terms of what I was creating and the speed at which my laptop was performing. Through some of the tutorials I discovered an Add-on to Blender, BlenderKit, which has hundreds of free premade procedurally generated materials, I decided to use some of these to speed up my work time and I noted that these also didn't add to my rendering time either.