This one has a long gestation; the original idea comes from one of the opening scenes in Crichton’s Sphere, which I read around the time of its original release. For me, one of the best parts in a mediocre book is the initial description of the ship sat on the seabed.
Fast forward to a month or so ago, discussing an underwater scene by Colourbrand and the difficulties involved. In that thread I mentioned that the obstacles (as I saw them) had stopped me working on scenes like an interpretation of the Sphere opener.
Realising how crazy that situation was, I began delving into underwater scenes; firstly, I found a scene provided with C4D itself - that demonstrates how to use the Environment Object to give the right feel (it also provided the sharks!). An enforced stay in hospital meant I had time on my hands and I found some useful tutorials here: vimeo.com/wiezel/videos
. (thank god for the large data limit I get from SFR) One of the pieces of luck I had was all the work I have done on volumetric lights since creating this image garryts.deviantart.com/art/The…
Eremes2703 has also been very generous with advice on producing scenes with terrains, and that helped me a lot wit this particular scene.
I started out with the intention of reproducing the Sphere scene but quickly realised that it wasn’t going to work (for me, at least) because the ship in the book is immaculate; it does’t crash, but (spoiler alert) simply appears in the underwater location, so no damage, rust or marine life build-up.
By the time I had made that decision, I had sketched out the scene (using Axeman’s X33 model as a place-holder for the ship). So, I continued as an original scene, substituting pristine hull materials for increasingly distressed metals. To get the look of the ship right, I Googled underwater wrecks like crazy, downloading dozens of them as references for the lighting, amount of rust, plant build-up and so on.
Almost by default, Axeman’s X33 stayed; Yep, I cut the wings off and replaced them with more realistic wings - and ones that I could simulate damage on - but the main body stayed, which I regret really… The lip in the top of the hull is (in my opinion) ugly; I should have just started out with my own ship.
Those of you looking at the texturing will probably think I was really lazy, seeing obvious looking seams. In fact, I wanted that; looking at the reference pictures, it was clear on all of the wrecks that rust and marine life has attacked certain parts/panels of the wreck and not others. Modern avionic manufacturing and design techniques now calls for a wide variety of materials used interchangeably across the hull of a vehicle, depending on whether strength or (lack of) weight is required. I wanted to indicate those material changes in abrupt edges in the material. Eventually, I found a material that had rust, bubbled paint and so on, which gave the effect of built up silt, rust ad growing marine life that i wanted. I created Normal, Specular and Bump layers for it - cranking-up the Normal layer - and that’s what you see here.
Lighting the scene; there are loads of lights in this scene. All the lights are a pale blue-green; there is a main light with soft shadows, placed directly above the scene. There is a fill light behind the camera to light the foreground, but without shadows. The beams of light are from another light set above the scene, set to volumetric light and shining through a lattice of cylinders (as per the tutorial link above). This volumetric light is set to ‘no illumination’. The caustics pattern on the sea bed is another light with a material applied to it - I simply Googled ‘caustics’ and chose a pattern, applying the texture to the transparency layer. An irritant with the caustic light effect is that it doesn’t seem to be on the ship - it’s actually applied to everything. However, the shape of the ship and the hull material mean that the caustic effect is distorted and actually appears to be streaks over the hull.
All of the fish have lights to give them a lift. Where necessary, the fish were posed using deformer objects (the fish coming out of the ship window, for instance)
The biggest problem I had was with the layout of the plants; I have the same problem with another scene and I’m not sure if it’s a problem with R13 on Yosemite or a memory problem (as in big scene and lack of RAM!). Firstly, the plants and (non-shark) fish all came from PlanIT 3d. To randomly disperse the plants across the terrain mesh, firstly I pinned the ‘master’ plants to the surface using a character Constraint (clamp). This is then dropped onto a Mograph Cloner (in Object mode) and with a Random effector to distribute the plants. In this scene (as well as another I have yet to finish) this simply does not work for me; the plants do not follow the terrain at all. I have checked my understanding of this several times by looking up tutorials, and I cannot see a flaw in my understanding and that it isn’t working is infuriating!
Rocks are via Rockgen; I re-textured them afterwards with a texture I thought more closely matched rocks in my reference pics. I do love Rockgen though!
BTW; the sand texture on the terrain is one of the textures that comes with C4D - and it’s really great!
There was a little bit of post production in Photoshop; C4D renders are too insipid without at least colour correction. I also used Flaming Pear’s free ‘Pixel Trash’ plugin to create some patchy noise in a layer. I blurred this, set the layer to ‘hard light’ then turned down the opacity. This was an attempt to get the feel for ‘stuff’ floating in the water.