Creative Strategies: Reflection

I have learned a lot from working on the walk cycles, body mechanics and the scene and I have loved every but of it. I was very interested in all aspects of these areas and want to continue to learn more of it. I feel like I have made some portfolio worthy work from the scene and feel happy that I am making more progress in the work that I do. I do feel like I need to look into UV mapping more as well as bump mapping as I would love to add more detail to my models, but I’m certain that with my continued persistence that I will be able to become more confident in these areas. Within these projects team communication and feedback were great, I always got help when I needed it and I was also always there for my other teammates when they needed extra help with these projects as well.

Creative Strategies: Final Scene

The Narrative;

The brief stated we had to create a scene with a narrative and I think we were able to achieve this. We wanted it to have a very piratey feel for our captain’s cabin, our pirate would be very laid back and not care about mess or clutter, we also wanted to show all the things that he has gained on his journey at sea. Since Michelle had created a story for the captain’s cabin we wanted to tie this into the scenes narrative as well.

It definitely helped that we knew what timeline of pirates we were going for, which were the buccaneers, so we did a lot of research in 16th-17th-century styles. We looked at all different types of concepts, videos, movies and games to decide on what items a pirate would possess and I feel that we have been able to achieve this.

Our scene;

When we were creating the video to show off the scene and all the work we had done to create the buccaneer styled pirate cabin, we wanted it to show all the small details that we implemented into the scene to make it show the show the narrative we were going for.

One of the main shots that we wanted to start with was the overall room especially the captain’s desk. I created the windows and drapes and had them around the desk area to bring attention to this area and to portray our pirates power. The grand table and chairs were done by Michelle, which she did a great job on, me, Kristina and Michelle then did the placement of the props for the table. Kristina also added beams to the room to add depth and a sort of grandness to our scene to show the wealth of our pirate.

table

I made sure to have the props angled toward the chair so it looks like the pirate has actually sat there and placed then down himself, therefore everything is at arms lenght. Kristina did a great job with the skull, it looks realistic and definitely adds to the scene. Michelle did the scrolls and we tag teamed the ink and quill which also sets the story as if he were to be writing something important, possibly about his treasure that he has just plundered and is weighing some of it in his scales or even about the girl from Michelle’s story who stole his precious tobacco case. I added my bottles and cups to signify his love for rum and fine spirits.

ontable

From my research of the swords from the golden age of pirating, I knew how important having multiple swords were on the ship so I wanted to have the captain have his own private stache of swords just for him, as it is close to the door he is able to grab it and go, just like his hat. The captain is also able to look out at his crew through the windows to keep an eye on them and to also look out for intruders climbing on board the ship. We also added Roberts picture frame and put it on a slant to signify waves making it tilt and the captain doesn’t care to fix it. Michelle’s barrels are also in the corner signifying loot that he is keeping in his cabin.

swords.JPG

Robert did a great job creating the bookcase and the books, it really adds to the scene. I imported it into the scene and passed it onto Michelle who arranged a mixture of all our props and did it really well. It shows my bottles that I added a glass texture to break it up as well as a dagger that it lying flat on the top shelf. Michelle’s scrolls and her easter egg of the hook were also added, as well as Kristina’s skull into the scene as well.

bookcase.JPG

Michelle and I tag teamed the bed where she did the base of the bed and I did the sheets with nCloth so that we could create a messy bed, as our pirate would never bothered with making his bed. Kristina then added in the bedside table to keep his possessions in, as well as the pocket watch that Kristina had made and I added a glass texture to it. Robert did the Candle and the open book model which really adds to the scene.

bed.JPG

Michelle and Robert tag teamed the drawers and I went in and added some nCloth clothing to it to add to the untidiness of the pirate. Robert created a Parrot cage for our pirates pet and as well as a lantern to light up the room which I added a glass texture to as well. Michelle created a crate which I then went in and placed bottles inside to signify that our pirate has also pillaged some alcohol that he is keeping for himself. Kristina added some netting to the wall which is a really nice decoration piece that the captain would use then he has no space for other precious materials to be stored, especially when things got rocket he would use the net to hold things down.

drawers.JPG

Even though I modelled the chest and the contents of it I do think it definitely brings the whole scene together as this was our greedy pirates main goal to achieve. I added the glass texture to the gems and loved how the light moves across them, I also added a slight blue tint to them to make them stand out and add to the narrative of the room.

chest.JPG

Kristina did a great job a creating the chandeliers, ropes, beams and net. I had helped her with the research for the beams and the style that she should try and achieve with them and she did everything and more. It definitely breaks up the room and adds to it.

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Here is the final video for the Captains Cabin scene;

Creative Strategies: Overall Time Management

Time management was great within the team, I was able to meet all of the deadlines that we had set so that we would have time for any problems that may have occurred but luckily not many problems did occur, except for when it came to rendering and the render randomly errored during the night, and noticing that the table was floating in the render but luckily we scheduled that we start rendering 3 days before the final deadline so that we had the time to correct ourselves. As for the Walk Cycle and Body Mechanic I was able to meet the deadline for this and finish them up early so that I was able to focus more on the scene. Below you can see our final asana list for the project;

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Here is our final prop list that we completed as a team, starting with Robert, Michelle, Kristina then me;

propsasana

Creative Strategies: Prop Creation

Windows

When looking into modeling the windows for the Captain’s cabin I needed to see how they would have looked on 16th-century ships so I researched into it about found that the grand ships would have tiled windows, so I knew that I wanted to incorporate into my window model. I also wanted to incorporate a slight gothic style to the window while keeping the simplicity of original ship windows.

I also found that from previous research into Pirate ship cabins I found that some had windows not only on the back but on the sides too, this meant I needed to keep into consideration the size of the windows as you would want it to suit the back and the sides rather than having them end up looking squished together.

Mike Hermes has a good tutorial for a Gothic styled window that gave me some idea on where to start off with the model and gave me a few ideas on how I wanted to style the windows for the captain’s cabin;

When it came to creating the windows I found that making everything separate from each other was the way to go rather than making it one mesh, almost like how it would have been created in real life. This would then aid me when it came to UV mapping the window and the UV’s wouldn’t need much fixing if it were to deform. When creating the glass panels I felt that it would add to the scene if I were to make it look like real glass, so I made the glass texture through Arnold standard shader which worked really well as you can see reflections off of it.

I used this tutorial below to get my head around using Arnold for the first time as I have always been used to using Mental Ray up until now, especially for when i’m creating a glass texture. I found it a tad hard getting the glass to look the way I wanted to look because I felt that it was too dark sometimes.

Here are the windows that I created with the glass panes in them;

window.jpg

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Here are the windows inserted into the actual scene;

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Treasure chest

Next thing on the list was the Treasure Chest which I was excited to do, I wanted to include an assortment of gems, coins, and jewellery into the chest and make it look like it’s overflowing with treasure that the pirate has found. First of all, I needed to look into 16th-century chests to find out the sort of style I wanted to apply to my model and found that a lot of them were very square and not like the typical treasure chest that you would think of when you think of pirates, so I wanted a happy medium of creating a treasure chest that is similar to the 16th century ones while also keeping that typical pirate chest look that you would see in movies. This is so that when it is placed in the scene it will give the scene the piratey feel to the captain’s cabin.

I looked at these models of different styled chests by Joel Cuellar, which he did using zbrush.

To give me an idea of where to get started I looked at this tutorial below by Mike Hermes;

After getting the basic shape of the chest done I went ahead and started working on the gems. I had found these helpful tutorials by Mike Hermes again on how to create gems, but he also rendered them to create a glass look but it was in keyshot which I don’t have, however this was okay because I already knew how to create the glass texture that I needed using AIstandard in arnold;

After seeing how Mike made the gem shapes in maya I then went and researched different emerald cuts and found this sheet on some different cuts that you give gems. Making it so that it has the different faces will allow the glass texture to reflect and refract light inside the gem so that it makes it look like realistic gems which is what I wanted to go for. I imported the image of the different gem cuts and used it to great to different shapes of gems which you can see below.

I also wanted to know how to use the curve tool to create details, as well as to create the chains that I want to hang out of the chest, so I used this tutorial below to refresh my memory from doing it in first year.

To create the lock on the chest I used Booleans to cut out the lock shape, but I found that it create triangles when I tried fixing the mesh. From everything that I have learned I was able to apply this to the chest and arrange them to make it look organic and as if the jewels and gems are overflowing from the chest. Here is the final version of the chest that I modelled.

chest

chest.JPG

When it came to UV Mapping I mainly used Automatic to see how it did at UV and then seen if I could sew them together without it stretching. Since most of the chest were simple seperate shape automatic did do the job for more of them and I was able to sew the gem together really well (for a beginner anyway);

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Bottles

Bottles were another prop on my list, I wanted to create an assortment of different shaped bottles and cups so that we could place the around the scene. As you know Pirates love their alcohol, especially their rum and whiskey. I am also going to place them inside the crates that michelle is modelling so that it looks like he has his own stache of stolen alcohol all for himself. I started by refreshing my memory of the wineglass that we did in first year and looked up this tutorial below;

I then looked into Mike Hermes tutorials for different bottle shapes and how to get started creating the shape of the bottles, which you can see below.

After seeing how he does them I then went on to create the other shaped bottles taking into consideration how they looked in the 16th century, so I went and researched the bottles that they have in the Museum of London as I remember seeing some there when I was visiting in the summer, Click for source;

Final bottle props;

glasses

For the UV Mapping of the Cups and Bottles I worked between using automatic and cylindrical as they gave me the best results without haveing the overly stretched uvs. I found on the goblets decor part it started stretching when I had sewn it together. For the higher topology one I just kept to Automatic and adjusted it a big by normalising and optomising it;

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Swords and Daggers

Another prop that I was excited to get started on was the swords and daggers. Weapons were incredibly important for the pirates to have on board, they would have a large collection of them so that they could defend themselves in battle and as well as to gain themselves plunder. Most of the weapons that they would have used would have been the common used ones by the seafarers of those times as pirates would have stolen most of their weapons from them. I found that Mike Hermes again had great tutorials on creating a pirate sword, which gave me a good idea how I should start the sword. I felt that the sword that he was creating was a bit too stereotypical and didn’t relate to the 16th century swords, so I did more research and also looked into Assassins Creed Black Flag for their props that they had created, especially the sword designs.

When looking into the prop designer for the swords on Assassins Creed Black Flag I found the out who did them, it was a 3D artist called Gaetan Perrot whom had beautifully modeled the swords, knives, and guns for the game.

swordsac.jpg

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I researched more into what particular weapons that Pirates would use and found this great website that talked all about the different types of weapons. the Cutlass sword was the most popular weapon that was used by the buccaneers. They used this sword because it was a strong enough sword that could hack through heavy ropes, canvas, flesh and bone. It was especially useful for hand fighting in the confined areas of the ship.

sword1

Buccaneers would also use daggers and dirks which were small enough to be hidden under clothing and are deadly in cramped areas where there was no space to swing a sword. Dirks are essentially the same as your normal dagger but were usually used as throwing knives.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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Here are my final sword and dagger models;

swords.jpg

When UV mapping the swords i found that automatic worked but when it came to the handles I had to sew parts together, especially on the bumpy handle on the cutlass which made is look better but it still slightly stretches in areas;

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Weapon Rack

When thinking about where the swords will be kept I remembered in Assassins Creed Black Flag that they kept them on a weapon rack in the captain’s cabin so this was something else that I was happy to model. As usual, I needed to research weapon racks to see what they looked like and what sort of design that I wanted to go for. I didn’t want it to be incredible fancy as the swords are the main focus point on the model. I found a weapon rack concept by Joshua Viers (who does beautiful work and also has nicely presented website might I add) which was done for the movie Beowulf.

 

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I found this weapon rack below which I like as it has a simplistic design and I think it would suit the scene well.

weaponrack

Here is the final model of the weapon rack;

weaponrack

The weapon rack UV was very simple, just a quick automatic and everything is set, this is because of the basic shapes that were used;

weaponrack

Gun flintlock

The flintlock is an authentic pistol that is reminiscent of buccaneers as it was very commonly used by them. This is because of its small size and how it is light weight which makes it ideal for personal defense and in boarding enemy ships. How ever because reloading was such a lengthy process that pirates would often carry several pistols and various bladed weapons into battle. It is said that Blackbeard was known to have carried six pistols and Bartholomew Roberts was said to wear four pistols.

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I also looked at  Gaetan Perrot again and his 3D models of the Assassin Creeds guns;

gunsac
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Going by the references that I had researched I was able to create this model below.

gun.jpg

When it came to the Gun UV mapping I found the base shape of it to be tricky due to the high topology, I probably should have re-topologised it so that it would be easier for when it came to me UV mapping. I felt that I have learned from this and will definitely do that in the future;

gunuv

Drapes

Drapes were going to be another important factor to the ship as I imagined our pirate to not care about the size of the drapes and wouldn’t bother checking the size of the windows, so the drapes would just bunch up on the floor because its oversized. For modeling the drapes I talked to Alec Parkin to see what the best way to go about doing it was and he said to look into nCloth so I found this tutorial by Steven Shulgach which explains the basics to using nCloth.

After watching this tutorial I felt pretty confident in creating the drapes. I found that when I first did the drapes it was too straight, so I added some waves into the plane and made it longer so that it would be affected by the floor and the top would stay the same. After I applied to waves into the plane I found that when it collided with the floor it wasn’t giving me the proper crinkles that I wanted in the bottom of the drapes.

curtain-try1-too-flat-at-the-bottom

So I decided to duplicate it from the last point and add a few uneven bumps at the bottom of the drapes to help it look more organic. It was getting closer to what I imagined but not quite.

curtain-2added-bumps

I then changed the material type to Silk and found that it created the perfect look to my drapes that I needed. I then added smooth to the curtains so that it wouldn’t look so pixely in areas and thought that it looked good like that.

curtain 3 applied silk preset.png

For the Drapes UV map the top of it was simple because it was only wavy and the top, but when it came to doing the bottom of the UV’s the crinkles made it tricky, it doesn’t morph a lot its just the UV’s are seperated;

drapes

Bedsheet

Since Michelle hasn’t worked with nCloth before we were happy enough to tag team the bed, she created the bed and I created the sheets. For the bedsheet, similarily to the curtains I used nCloth and set the material to tshirt as it keeps the crinkles in the material more. As you can see in the image below our pirate wouldn’t be one to make his bed, so I knew that I wanted to make it extra messy with parts of the sheet hanging off the bed. After creating the bumps in the mesh to get the needed folds in the sheets I then let it lay on top of the bed to create the sheets that you see to the right.

bed.jpg

For the bed Sheets UV mapping I selected all of the face on the top, made that uv and then all the faces on the bottom by inverting it and creating the uv, this is because I found that automatic didn’t do a good enough job. I did have a few rows at the side not selected but it still doesnt morph as much;

sheetuv

Rug

Kristina was originally assigned to do the rug but she passed it on to me since I knew how to work nCloth, which I was happy enough with because it wouldn’t take me long to do at all, so I passed her the curtain rails to do instead. Similar to the drapes I made crinkles in the rug. As you can see below I had two different versions that I made to see what would suit the scene better and showed the team it so we could make a group decision.

rug

I then made this the final version;

rug

Similar to the bed sheet for the Rug UV mapping I selected all of the face on one side and created the top uv and then did the same with the bottom UV and then took the sides as a seperate shell;

ruguv

Ink bottle

Since we are going to have open scrolls on the table we want our pirate to look as if he is working on something.

Kristina also passed on the ink bottle to Michelle and I because we were finished our props early, so I took the bottle since I have been doing the other types of bottles and Michelle took the feather. So we both used the tutorial that I had found for the quill and ink set by Mike Hermes (what can I say, he has done almost everything).

Here is the final ink bottle;

inkbottle

For the Ink Bottle UV map I did the same as my other bottles and did an automatic as it has a more square shape and it worked out great;

inkbottleuv

Map

I added in the map that sits on the table, and stuck of the daggers through it. I wanted it too look like our pirate had figured out where the treasure is on the map and stuck his knife through it in a burst of excitment. For the map I also used nCloth in order to create the paper effect instead of just bending it ourself as we want it to be able to lie properly on a flat surface but also have the crinkles in the paper.

map.jpg

For the Map UV all I needed to do was automatic it and it was fine, this was because i didnt change the shape of it much except for a few creases;

mapuv

Room setup

Following what I had sketched up for my concept I was able to create the basic layout of the cabin and I started inserting the finished props into the scene which was great to see it coming together. I then passed it on to Kristina so she could mess with the layout and finish off her beams and nets so that she could get the proper sizes for the room. Which was then passed on to Michelle to also add her finishing touches to the room.

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The room UV was also easy to do, due to its simplistic shapes;

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Clothes

Since our pirate would be messy I thought it would be good to go in with nCloth and have pieces of fabric hanging in places. I thought it was a nice touch to add to our scene and would add a bit more personality.

clothes.jpg

Clothes UV was similar to what I did with the bed and just selected the top face and then the bottom faces to create UV’s that were even;

clothuv

Pirate Hat

I then worked on the Pirate hat and looked into the traditional pirate hats of the 16th century. The most commonly worn hat was the Tricorn, this is because of its convenience for being at sea, the turned up portions on the brim of the hat was able to act as gutters to keep the rain away from the wearers face. This had first appeared in the 1650’s and became increasingly popular during the war between France and Spain.

 

tricorn
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Here is the final version of the hat:

hat

The Tricorn UV was tricky as I found that even though I had sewn it, it was still stretching which was dissapointing;

hatuv

Creative Strategies: Scene Setup

Since I had made the concept art for the scene and had finished my props UV maps I was able to take the items and start creating the room shame and place the items. I found that some places I had originally drawn items didn’t quite fit in with that area nd i found it looked better else where. But this was good because I found that the new placement of items were better than what we had originally planned.

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I brought in jack for scale so that we could get the props sized properly and so that we could see if the room was sized correctly and looked as if a pirate could live there.

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Once I finished placing all of the props in that had their UV maps done so far I handed it off to Kristina so that she could work on her net placement and get the right shape that she wanted, while adding in more of the finished UV mapped items as we went along.

sceneassorting

Creative Strategies: Topology and re-topology

Alec Parkin gave us a lecture on how to re-topologise high poly models using the Quad Draw tool in the Maya tool box. This is going to be really useful for high poly objects in our scene as well as when I need to re-topologise my sculpt for the 3rd project where I have chosen 3D sculpting.

Alec gave us a task that will help us get used to using the quad draw tool and gave us a high poly sculpt of a face that was done in zBrush and brought into Maya, he then showed us how we can use the quad draw tool to create new faces. To make it easier you can also turn on the symmetry so that it will mirror over what you are drawing on the face over to the other side which is really useful and quickens up the job of re-topologising.

From research last year for the head model project I already had reference to good topology faces as well as the references Alec gave us. This gave me a good idea as to where to put the poles and how to make the faces flow around the main point of the face. I also found that it is important to think about how the topology flows down the cheeks, jaw and neck as it is not straight the way down, it is rounded.

This was a great practice as it let me get used to the tool for when I go in a do the proper thing.

face

Creative Strategies: Learning UV mapping

Alec Parkin showed us how he UV maps a character, he showed us where he stopped and started his UV’s, separating the different limbs which would make it easier for uv mapping. Alec talked about how he splits the face UV’s, most commonly done with the seams down the middle of the head and forehead, he then talked about how some may separate the ears for the face UV’s so that they can put in more detail into the ears.

Some UV mappers may also separate the different sections that they are going to UV map which can be easier to UV map them. If you find that your UV map has turned out weird it is recommended that you freeze the model’s transformations before you begin UV mapping as it can deform the UV’s.

Use the relax/Unfold tool to stop warping, option box, untick pack, select all the vertices and apply. if you want to cut a UV seam across, select the edges and go to cut UV edges. Then select the other side of the edge to you want to sew it to and merge them together. It’s good to have your seams where they are going to be most hidden, for example under the arm.

For overlapping UV’s you can select those vertices and hit unfold which with correct them. you can also use Headus UV tool to make UV mapping easier. zBrush also has a good UV unwrapping tool which makes it easier too.

When doing planar UV mapping you need to make sure it is on the right axis, so you would click the option box beside planar and change the axis to wherever it is facing towards, (x y z).

This was really interesting to learn and will help me for when I move on to UV mapping my scene props for the captain’s cabin project. This will also be useful for the third project as I plan on sculpting a character and would like to UV map it as well.

When you are sewing your UV shells together you can then straighten up the edge by selecting the line and straighten it up by using the scale tool and pushing it inwards which will making it even out and will give you a better UV.

If you find that your camera is clipping too soon with your model you can go into your camera tool setting and change the near clip plane to 0.01. You may find that happening when you want to zoom in on certain parts of the model to select different faces/edges when UV mapping.

If you want to repeat your last action that you did you can press G which will repeat the last action on the faces that you have selected. This can be really useful when you are sewing as it will speed up the process instead of having the click the tool all the time from the menus.

Alec then gave us the model to have a go at UVing which gave us a good idea how to do it ourselves and see if we understood what we were being taught or if we needed more help in this area.

uvexamp

Creative Strategies: Sources

Alec Parkin gave us a lecture today and suggested for our research that we should use SketchFab and Artstation so that we can see their process on how the artist made them, as well as their topology. I found that SketchFab was really useful to see how artists do their topology on their models and how they broke down the different areas of the models. Artstation is also a great website to go on for breakdowns of models as they show you how they actually made it and what they would have used. This is a great website to use to learn more about the different areas of animation.

Alec then went on to talk about doing animations for games and that when you’re creating an animation for a game you would have to do multiple animations as unlike movies the character is always on screen and always needs to be doing something even when idle, for example; you would need various movements for a character, run, walk, idle, etc, you never just give them one animation because then it would look weird when you are playing that character or see that particular character in the scene. Game character are usually low poly depending on the platform that the game is going to be on, as well as the directors specifications that they want for the game, this means it relies a lot on high textures to make up for the low poly model and then this makes it suddenly looks high quality. You can definitely see this within models that people have made on Sketchfab, as a lot of artists models are low poly but look beautiful due to their textures.

Going into the gaming industry would be something that I would be highly interested in. Gaming has always been my interest since I was young, it was my release and allowed me to escape into a whole new world.

Creative Strategies: Research and Concepts

For the scene I looked more into how other artists had done their scenes so that I could gain more ideas and inspiration for our captain’s cabin scene. In this video below of a scene by Fabiola Paredes I absolutely loved the video of it and felt that it would be great for something that our team should do for our final animation of the scene, especially to show off everyone’s hard work.

I absolutely love this model scene by bondok max or Breakfast Time which is extremely well done and I hope to do something like this with our captain’s cabin.

 

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I then found Samuel Cazetta’s scene which represents the house of his character Cornelius, a retired old mage who decided to spend the rest of his life in this cottage eating wild fruits, drinking mead and making some crazy potions. I love this scene and how cluttered it is, but it also has a warm feeling to it, I also like hot he has added a bit of animation to it as well as some ambiance.

 

Raj K Thakur is a 3D architectural visualization artist from India, who has done some beautifully detailed and realistic scenes that are just breath taking. I would love to be able to apply this amount of detail that he does to our scene.

 

Raj Thakur source

 

This was a big inspiration for our Captains Cabin scene idea as it has a really lovely feel to it, the design is really nice and I love the rooms shape.

 

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This was also a great inspiration as it has a real dark cluttered feel to it. I love the skulls and the different things hanging from places. There is so much that your spot that you don’t realise is there until you look closely and that is something that would be great to have in our scene.

 

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After lots of researching, I came up with this quick concept sketch on where everything could be laid out in our captain’s cabin;

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Creative Strategies: Michelle’s Story

Michelle is a great story teller, I admire that about her, she created this story to go with our Captains Cabin which gave us a greater idea of how the room would look and feel. If you love short stories, you will love this;

It was almost midnight, the moon covered by thick clouds creating a blanket of darkness. The soft creak of the wooden deck was drowned out by the gargled snores of the crew mate. A woman crept past the sleeping pirate who had quickly forgotten his responsibility as look out, accepting a jug of rum without much persuading. The drug took mere minutes to incapacitate him, leaving the drunken fool slumped in a puddle of his own vomit. The sounds of the rest of the crew could be heard laughing, squabbling and cheering from the distant town. The woman launched up the few steps past the helm and headed towards a door, grasping the handle with one hand and wedging a key into the hole with the other. The cabin door opened with a high pitched squeal which had the woman grit her teeth, glancing back at the drugged pirate, but he remained unmoving. She released a breath and silently stepped inside, the door closing with a snap.
The woman stood in the center of the Captain’s Cabin, her eyes scanning the room. A few candles were lit, the small flickering flames allowing her to see. On a higher platform at the back of the room stood a huge table. Its wood was a deep mahogany, hand carved with swirls that resembled that of a stormy sea. An arm chair sat behind it, sharing the same carvings with leather cushions of deep red. On top of the table was an array of scrolls, maps, candles, weapons, a compass and a few gold coins. Directly behind the chair was a huge window, taking up the entirety of the back wall. The window had wooden square panels with stained glass, looking out towards the distant town. Beside the desk stood a huge globe held up by a golden frame, its face covered in ink crosses, lines of dotes and arrows. Most likely marking out their journey or planning the next one. Several barrels scattered the room, the woman glancing in each only for a moment. Materials such as silk, cotton, and canvas aswell as tobacco and rum. The décor of the room showed the wealth of these pirates, the Captain keeping souvenirs from their long journeys at sea. Drapes hung from the window and walls of deep purple and reds, decorated with golden thread. They were much too long for the cabin walls and spilled onto the floor. Flags also hung from the walls, some of them pirate flags, mostly likely owned by beaten enemies. The woman’s eyes lingered on a small golden chest, the lid opened and contents on show. Pieces of eight, diamonds and pearls glinted inside, but she continued her search. She would not waste this chance.
Just as she looked over some fine cut whiskey glasses, she spotted it. A silver cigar case with carvings of a tentacled sea creature sat in between some well-worn books, as if merely discarded without a care. Her hand swept towards the case just as a voice growled from the door way, the unmistakable sound of steel singing as a sword was drawn.
“You have ten seconds to tell me why you are in here?” a deep, husky voice demanded. The woman kept her back straight, her hand continuing towards the whiskey glass and poured herself the foul liquid. She knew the only reason she was still alive was because she was a woman. A woman who had dressed in finery, her dress encrusted in jewels and her hair bonded in tight curls and wrapped high on her head. A woman who had met the Captain several times before, only subtle glances and a grazing hand on his shoulder as she past. Twice the Captain had stood to follow her, but she had disappeared before he had the chance to pursue. It was enough for him to hesitate, to ponder before driving the sword through her gut. The woman slowly turned as she schooled her face into calm and innocence.
“I have been waiting for you,” she drawled, stepping towards the Pirate Captain still standing in the doorway. Her discovery of the cigar case had shocked her enough that she did not hear the creak of the door as it opened, but it did not matter. Her dress whistled on the rug as she bent into a low curtsy, her face tilted towards the Captain with hooded eyes. The Captain cocked his head to the side, his sword slightly lowered in recognition.
“How did you get in here?” he asked, sheathing his sword and taking a step further into the room.
“The door was opened,” she shrugged, taking a sip of the whiskey. The Captains eyes quickly glanced towards the small treasure chest. The woman chuckled, “and what would I need with such silly trinkets”. She gestured towards her own jewels and walked towards the Captain, swaying slightly. The Captains eyes fell on the whiskey glass and he smirked, “If you wanted a tour, you needed to only ask.”
“I am awfully shy,” the woman replied, forcing a slight slur to her words. She took another swing at the glass and emptied the contents, not needing to fake the grimace on her face. She took a step towards the Captain and stumbled, tripping over her dress. Strong arms grabbed her waist just as the floor rushed towards her, pulling her upright.
“Oh how embarrassing,” she blushed, fussing over her hair, “I think perhaps I should leave.”
“Nonsense, I insist that you stay,” the Captain said, his hands still around the woman’s waist, their faces close. At that moment there was a boom of gunfire and shouts from the distance. The Captain cursed and released the woman. He walked towards the window to look out at the commotion. The woman took this as her opportunity and headed towards the door, still swaying in her drunken persona.
“Perhaps another time,” she said. The Captains reply was a grunt as he gathered weapons, a woman forgotten in the mists of a possible fight. She slipped out of the door and glided down the steps, taking two at a time. As soon as she left the docks and into the alleys her elegant sway turned into a swagger, her bonded hair was released around her shoulders and the outer layer of her dress was discarded. The distant gun shots and yelling was nothing compared to the roar of rage that rang out from the Pirate ship, echoing around the woman as she walked away with the contents of the cigar case.