Making Of 'They came from the Sea'

The scene was originally made for a 3d challenge on the Danish 3d community site, it won the contest even tho it was not finished, but the main feel, modeling and concept was there.

During the voting period I started to update the scene with volume-light, fog and some post editing. I felt good about it when I posted it on CG-talk, 3dtotal and gfxartist, but based and good constructive critique I updated it once again, this time with new cars, new textures, some more destruction, billboards and a subway station.

Below is the render that was send to the 3d contest at


The mechfishies has melted the poles over a period of time, slowly flooding the world and gaining world domination.

People has moved out of the cities as the water was rising, the buildings has sustained only little damage, but some rioting and looting has taken place. all glass is destroyed from ground level to about 20 meters up from there partly broken. Leaking gas is coming from the subway in bubbles.

The scene takes place shortly after the flooding. The mechfish has spotted the viewer...


The original idea was to create the mechfish and put in a normal underwater environment with sand, rocks and seaweed, but as I was working on the fish I wanted something bigger and a scene that would give the viewer something to think about.
The idea about the flooded city was tempting enough to get me started up on modelling the skyscrapers and the main concept took a dramatic change from small happy shallow water mechfish to world dominating evil "bad-ass" mechfish with attitude.


To give the mechmesh a real fishie feel I started looking for deep - sea fish on google, there are a lot of very strange fish on the bottom of the sea! I found a fish called Orange Roughie (funny name) but it does
look rather roughed up...

I was also looking for underwater photos shot from deep below the surface and up at the sky.
The only references showing a flooded city I could come up with was Underworld and AI, AI having some of the best views Screenshot from AI below

I also found some photos of New York skyscrapers, streets and subway stations.


The whole scene is modelled with basic stuff in viz 2005. The fish is made out of tubes, extruded splines and a bit of editable mesh and mesh smooth for the head. All the hydraulics are cylinders and spheres and the fins are extruded splines. Nothing fancy.

In Viz there are no particles and no symmetry modifier like in max, so a lot of mirroring and copying of objects and bubbles...

The city is the same deal lots of extruded splines and boxes. So it takes more patience than modelling skills to do the scene.

I modelled everything in separate models and merge the lot into the scene.

To find the right camera angle and compositing of the skyscrapers and the scene in general I used boxes and replaced them with the done models of the buildings


I took the time to give each object their own textures on the fish and the skyscrapers. The textures are made form lots of ref images found with google and total textures, the bitmaps has been clone brushed together to form the textures for each part. I wanted the mechfish to look a bit roughed up, taken into consideration the fish has just taken over the world filled with people saying " we will not go quietly into the night!"he he, sorry. The fish has a body map, a fin map for each fin, hydraulic map, 2 types of rust, outer eye map, inner eye map and a map for the glowing line.

The Skyscrapers has about 4 maps each for windows plaster, bricks, paint, sand stone and so on.

The textures has changed a bit from the first version of the scene to the last, the building are now more damaged and burned out. Changes to the mapping was made partly due to all the positive and constructive critique from the 3d forums, thanks


The rendering is a standard scanline render, rendered in viz 2005. I was planing on using MentalRay, but It didn't work out well with the scene.


a very blue viz sunlight 3 blue omni lights with attenuation and a spot light with volume light projecting the water caustics, to give the right under water feel


To control the level of fog, volume light and the sea surface, the image was rendered in 3 passes, one clear, one with fog and one with the clear and the fog pass mixed and volume light on the sea surface caustics effects. Post editing is done with some brightness and contrast, a bit of bubbles and algee was painted and the eye saturation has been
changed at bit.

Click images for larger versions


Composition is very important in creating an image with impact! In this image I started out with some boxes instead of the skyscrapers to find the most dramatic camera angle and lighting for the scene.
I worked with the sizes and placement of the skyscrapers to get as much depth as possible out of the image.

After the skyscrapers was shaped the 3 fish was placed in the scene with a bit of rotating and bending.
I tried to make the fish look at the viewer in a "what do you want?" kind of way, but still using the fish to create depth and size.

The statue is creating foreground along with the branches on the tree, this is to bring the viewer closer and into the image.

Cars, rubbish, subway, streetlights and small fish are placed to bring dynamic in to the image and fill out the empty areas

Fetching comments...

Post a comment