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Using Space

These days, I focus on the interior for the Benford 47 foot trawler i 3D modeled this spring. I will not change the exterior much except for adding and changing windows. I like this kind of project. The framework is set by a master, I don’t want to change it too much. Still, his original becomes a reference against which I can judge my own design.

Jays interior layout was a great, classic trawler yacht interior with lots of space. I want to see if I can successfully change it with the main features being a full beam mid cabin, large head+shower compartment, and a galley situated aft next to the cockpit.

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Benford’s 47ft Trawler yacht design from his book Small Ships

I can do pretty much anything with the interior within the available space, but for the windows I have to take great care and make something that doesn’t disturb Benford’s excellent design. I have spent a lot of time back and forth, and believe I am getting there. I still feel the windows make it look a bit like a passenger vessel instead of a private yacht, but I don’t have to lock them in just yet.

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Changing the windows and adding some for the mid cabin

The black strip is added both for interest and to “hide” the dark glazing I will add for the mid cabin windows. And there are less windows on the pilothouse in my version. But as you will see, this is offset by the fact that I have moved the wheel forward quite a bit – so the skippers view shouldn’t be inhibited by it.

Jay Benford was kind enough to let me show you his drawings with my changes added, for which I am very grateful! After you have read my blog post, you should go check out this page about Jays designs: http://www.benford.us/index.html?opinion.html – and his great book called Small Ships.

My plans for the interior – full beam mid cabin, large head, galley aft

The saloon in Benfords design had the advantage of utilizing areas under the pilothouse bench etc that were not full standing headroom for the galley countertop. I developed this into an area where the settee has sitting headroom but not standing headroom. For the galley I looked at several solutions, but came to something quite conventional and spacious. I worked on including a bar counter and bar stools, but it made the saloon too crowded. The new galley means foregoing the nice midship cockpit doorway, and putting it on the starboard side. On the port side I have an outside serving station with sink – makes it double as a fish gutting station.

Another thing I figured I would want to have was some soft nice reading chairs or recliners in the saloon. It was hard to get space for this, but if I put the saloon <-> pilothouse stair midships instead of at the side, it seems to work nicely. Drawing and 3D modelling will tell me whether I was right or not! This placement of the stair means I might loose the pilothouse berth, but that is an ok compromise. Besides, it leaves space on the starboard rear corner of the pilothouse for any of three things – a flybridge stair (if one were to add a flybridge), a heating cabinet for wet oilskins, or a chart/nav station. The latter would be good, because I have removed the chart table from Jays design to move the helm forward. This was simply done to make space for a good pilot’s chair.

Pilothouse with necessary staircase changes and helm moved forward to make room for pilot’s chair

But does one need a pilot’s chair? It depends on the use of the boat, I guess. When I crossed the Georgia strait, the boat rolled so much I felt more like standing up and rocking with it. Gave me a better view out as well!

With old and small chart plotters, a good working place for charts is a must. However, if you got a 24 inch or larger chart plotter with vector charts and a fast and responsive system you might do with only an emergency solution (like working with charts in the saloon table). Then the oilskin cabinet might be a better use of the rear starboard corner of the pilothouse:)

A full beam mid cabin in a pilothouse trawler forces your layout to have a stair from the pilothouse going down. So I had to change that. It will be a challenge to model that staircase – curves both in the pilothouse and the stair. Looking forward to it.

More on my ideas for the cabins and bathroom later – luxury is the word!

Experience

I wanted to discover if my passion for yacht aesthetics and design means I am passionate about yachting as well. And I know that real life experience aboard boats adds to the quality of my design work. Thursday 28th september I stepped off a huge airplane in Vancouver.

For the first time in my not-so adventurous life I had travelled to another continent. I was alone, and I was about to embark on something I had no experience with. A five day course at sea on a boat with people I knew nothing about. All this dawned upon me when I stepped off the plane – and I understood why people at home thought I had made an unusual choice.

Well, I am very happy about my choice now. Pushing myself like this ignited my spirit of adventure, and being so far away from home enabled total focus on the course. My instructor, Colin Denton, has qualities that always resonate with me. Experience and knowledge, respect for the subject matter, but also with humor to make the learning experience fun.

The other students were three great guys – we all got along and were very supportive of each other. The course started off with an evening filled with some boat system/vessel safety theory, with the first night being spent on board the boat before leaving next day by noon. That day was the first of five days spent traveling around the Gulf Islands and Howe Sound.

It started with light sea-sickness but ended with me successfully docking the 46 foot yacht (50 foot total) by backing into a very tight spot in the Granville Island marina. Not without help from instructor and crew, of course, but it did feel like quite an accomplishment and an encouragement after some hard lessons.

The boat we trained on was a “Westcoast 46”. I am grateful that Cooper Boating set up such a large boat – the course only guaranteed a 32 footer. It had spacious accommodation, with nice live aboard facilities and a large aft cabin. Good headroom all through the boat. But it rolled a lot out at sea and the salon and galley had some scary sharp edges here and there. There should have been many more handrails in the roof and on the bulkheads. Midship cleat was placed too far back. Propwalk was to port, while the only side you could step off the swim platform was to starboard. Many of these problems were actually a plus because it meant I can learn from them.

Along the way, we got to do much sight-seeing, and even witnessed a yachting drama unfolding in the middle of the night. The amount of things to think about for safe and efficient cruising was so overwhelming that I sometimes thought it might not be for me, but I was more comfortable at the end of the course – and have now arranged to charter a Linssen Grand Sturdy MkII 410 in Croatia for the last week of june 2013. That will be the real test of whether boating is for us:) So thanks to Cooper boating and instructor Colin Denton for setting up a great course, and to Dave, Chuck and Randy for being so supportive and nice!

I made it!

Finally an update!

I figured that since this blog is actually listed as my home page, I had better update it! And yes, my project is still very much alive. It is just that I have been focused on basic skills like 3D modeling and lately drawing, and therefore not had much to post. And in july I was involved in making a promotional visual effects shot, both on the technical and artistic side. Very much looking forward to sharing that!

I could of course not keep my hands off the yacht design projects either, so I have done quite some work on one of the Jay Benford designs. My idea is to try and combine the classic american trawler yacht with contemporary design features. Stay tuned!

Last weekend I spent two days at Norway’s largest boat show. I was able to go aboard and see fantastic trawler yachts like the Fleming 55 and Integrity Trawlers ce526. I truly see why the Flemings finish is so legendary. And the Integrity Trawler was designed very much to my liking, with mid cabin and asymmetric superstructure for added interior space. Other highlights were the new Princess V39 (and  P50) and 4 Rivas! 2 Iseos, one with the canopy up, 1 Aquariva, and 1 Rivarama. No wonder I spent two days there.

At the boat show, I also got to check out something else. The Linssen Grand Sturdy 40.9. We are likely to charter one of these next year, as designing something demands some practical experience as well. First of all I need some tuition – so thursday september 27th I fly to Vancouver, Canada to attend this course with Cooper Boating. Why go all the way over there? Because it’s exciting!

Inventing cars for over a hundred years

FMX 2012

May 5th to May 12th I was in Stuttgart. Well known as the home of Porsche and Mercedes Benz, the city also plays host to perhaps the worlds most popular (many artists seem to like it more than Siggraph) conference on visual effects and animation. Called FMX, it is run by Filmakademie BadenWürttemberg. It also covers games, “transmedia”, and most importantly for me: 3D visualization. I get to hear talks by some of Hollywoods top visual effects artists – and at the same time I get tangible tips and the chance to meet people who do 3D visualization for a living. Some quite successfuly!

Stuttgart

My first time at FMX was last year. I was awestruck – not just by being in the company of so many peers for the first time in my life, but also by the beauty and feel of the city. Automobile capital, yes. But the city is green as far as the eye can reach, and has a huge park (Schlossgarten) stretching through it. I stayed at a simple hotel without much of a view last year, but decided I had to show this city to Julie and that we had to get a room by the Schlossgarten.

So we chose the fabulos Hotel am Schlossgarten, and stayed for a week to get some free time before the FMX conference. We went to the Mercedes museum, we went for a drive to some other cities, and we had dinner at the brand new Gourmetrestaurant Schlossgarten. Very highly recommended! The hotel interior was newly redecorated so I even got some architecture and design satisfaction out of it.

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Car industry and 3d visualization

But back to business. The conference had a track called “CG industry”, which was curated by the CEO of RTT, mr. Ludwig A. Fuchs. We got to see how Porsche utilizes computer graphics (CG) heavily both in the design and marketing of their cars – presented by senior Porsche employees from the respective departments. While I know much of the ways you can use CG for marketing, I was not aware of just how much is being done with CG and 3D visualization in the design phase. As in the exploratory phase before you go into making construction drawings of the car.

Porsche exploits every opportunity to see 3d models of their cars from every angle and even do driving simulation early in the design phase to test general feasibility of the design. As I understood, Porsche makes heavy use of RTT both as a tech and services supplier. After the Porsche talk, PSA Peugeot Citroën entered the stage to talk specifically on their use of 3D modelling for prototyping cars.

I went up to mr Fuchs after the talks and had a little chat about 3D visualization and the boat/yacht industry. Insightful! I will certainly pick up on what was presented in these talks later.

Inspired, motivated and well rested I returned to Trondheim. Already looking forward to my next stay in Stuttgart!

On top of modelling things

I actually realized something about 3D modelling at the boat show. Since the “3D Modelling is HARD” blog post back in March, I have worked hard to learn proper sub division surface 3D modelling. While I am not nearly at a professional level, I feel that I have learned a lot and feel much more on top of 3D modelling now. That’s great!

But what is not so great is the big realization: Boats, and especially complex fiberglass models, consist of far too many smoothly connected curves and shapes to be 3D modeled efficiently to photoreal quality the way I have just learned. I am going to have to learn a quicker route, and I suspect that might be to do nurbs modelling with software like Rhino.

Still, the ongoing Jay Benford models will be finished using the old techniques. Enclosed you can see some simple renders and wireframe pictures of the two I am working on, in the current state. The most complete of the two is obviously the one I fought with to learn 3D modelling. My 3D professional friend Thomas has given me many compliments for it. While it is probably not as good as he could have made it, I am proud of it. Proud because I managed to make an almost completely interconnected one piece hull and superstructure. Not because I would need to do that to visualize this steel ship, but because I might have if it was made of fibreglass.

So next up is more modelling, then some modelling, then even some more modelling before I hopefully will be able to take up both texturing and rendering during the summer. Still planning to stay with these Benford models for a while before I get back to MV Julie.

Sjøen for alle – Norwegian boat show

One of the highlights of the last month was “Sjøen for alle” – an indoor boat show at Lillestrøm near Oslo. Since I have never been interested in boats before this project, it was my first ever boat show. My colleague Frank took me to the show and treated me to the ticket. I had great fun, of course, and took the opportunity to go aboard most of the 30+ft models (excepts the sailboats, sadly). Not just see, but touch and feel some as well! I made many observations, and one big realisation for my visualization work. Here are some of the highlights for me:

  • The Targa 32 felt and looked super sturdy and had wooden details of the firm and massive sort. One of the most high quality impressions of the show.
  • I got to see (but not touch!) a Riva up close!
  • Windys 40 foot sportscruiser “Maestro” had interior design and finish looking on par with the new Princess/Fairline/Sunseeker models.
  • I really liked the Marex 37. So spacious! And nice looking interior throughout.
  • Askeladden P80 weekend seemed like one of the best buys. Low price, nice pilothouse and seemingly high build quality.

As a complete boating newbie with no experience, I probably focused more on aesthetics than practicality. But I did notice one thing. There seemed to be a lot of difference in build quality. Especially in the daycruisers of the show. One of the worse examples was a boat where the deck glue laid thick and visible around the edges of the decking. What I found strange about it was that boats of similar size and spec were usually equal in price – apparent difference in quality notwithstanding. Therefore the Askeladden P80 weekend was very nice – it seemed cheap for its size, spec and accomodations, and looked and felt very well made.

At closing time I gathered brochures from many of the interesting brands. I became almost euphoric when the Ferretti group reps – Dreamline yachts – bestowed upon me four of their books. Windys brochures were nice, sure, and so were Aqaudors. But these BOOKS, one each for Pershing 2011, Mochi craft 2011, Ferretti 2011 and Riva 2011, are in a legaue of their own. Fantastic full page photography throughout… And I probably carried quite a bit more than my allowance of cabin luggage.

And the big realisation? That will be in my next post:)

3D Modelling is HARD

A couple of weeks back I got some great guidance from my friend Thomas Berg. He rocks at 3D modelling, and I wanted to check out how I was doing. I got some great tips and started (almost) from scratch on one of the Jay Benford boats I have been modelling. Here is a work in progress shot of that one.

And something for MV Julie herself: I came across a great swedish magazine called “Klassiska båtar” (classic boats) and bought a couple of issues. One of the things I got out of that was a plan for the second of the two tenders MV Julie will carry on davits amidships. I already have a basic model of one of them, as you can see in the first screenshot on this blog. It is supposed to be a battery powered launch and operate at low speeds. Perfect for the sort of cruises I imagine myself doing on a calm summer day:)

In the swedish magazine, however, I found the sort of design I needed for the other tender. With one slow tender I need the other one to be fast, and a classic planing wooden runabout looks perfect! The only criteria was that it was narrow beamed enough to fit on the side of MV Julie, and one of the runabouts features in the magazine was. This might seem silly, but since I have very little prior knowledge of such things and only found wide beamed speedboats, I had thought that it could be hard to make a suitable high speed tender… But now I know otherwise. The Wikipedia site on runabouts has pictures of many different designs, and is worth checking out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runabout_%28boat%29.

-Truls