Category Archives: A 3D model of the Venetians ships (2014/MP1)

Progress Blog Post 2: the assembly and the first renders of the ship

In this second intermediate report we present our accomplishments since the last blog post. In these four weeks, we progressed considerably regarding the ship modelling by using the software Rhino 3D. In the following, we are going to provide a report about the assembly of the different parts of the Galeazza, as well as some illustrations of how the CAD model looks like at the moment. Then we will show the additional information from literature that we gathered during the last weeks. Finally, we will present the first results obtained with the rendering tool exploited, as well as the milestones and next goals of the project.


Since the last report, we managed to model almost every piece from the plans of the galleass. Once we finished to model all the main components, we started the assembly process by combining together piece after piece. It was a quite extensive work, since every piece had to be positioned at the right place by using a good modelling approach, but the result was impressive and motivating. As a first step, we modelled and added the keel, which represents the main part of the ship’s geometry. Then we added all the sections which define the profile of the boat, by positioning them on the keel. After this step, we modelled the hull using the “Loft” function of Rhino 3D, that requires the reference curves on the sections to generate a surface along the length of the Galeazza. Then we added the rudder at the end of the keel together with its tiller, which allowed sailors to maneuver the ship. Having completed this, we started to model the captain’s cabin, the front and the after castles and, at the mean time, we added the three masts. The following pictures illustrate some of the modelling work completed so far.

Ship1ship2ship3Figure 3: The model completed so far. Top panel: External view of the ship. Central panel: Views of the stern (left) and the bow. Bottom panel: Internal view of the captain’s cabin.

Further information about interior compartmentalization

Even if the plans of the galleass proved to be extremely useful to model the main structure and the external part of the ship, they do not contain any information about the lower decks. In fact, according to them, the area inside the hull was just empty. Clearly, this conclusion is not reasonable, otherwise the real Venetian Galeazza would have had serious problems of stability. For this reason, we started to look for information regarding the compartmentalization of the lower deks, i.e. the space inside the hull. In the book Galeazze, un sogno veneziano[1] we found  some interesting drawings that show how such space was used.  As we can see from Figure 4, the central compartment of this lowest level was usually used to store cannonballs, as those are heavy and make for good ballast. The cannon balls only occupied a thin layer but they reached out through half the length of the ship. Right behind the middle mast, still below the waterline to allow easy flooding and protection from enemy cannon balls, there was the gun powder magazine called “santabarbara”. Further up front there was a compartment where all the ropes were stored, whereas to the back there was the bread stock followed by a compartment of wine barrels called “cantina”.  Finally, the drawings show the presence of a layer that provides an even ground on the very bottom part of the hull (right above the keel). There is however no information regarding weather this space was filled with heavy material, like stones, or if it was just left empty. Simulations with Orca3D might answer this question by testing the stability for both configurations.

ship4Figure 4: Section of galeazza showing all compartments and their function


Even if the model of the ship is not completed yet, we decided to try the two rendering softwares that we have mentioned in the previous report: Maxwell Render and Blender Cycle. This will allow us to become familiar with the rendering tools so that we will be able to complete the rendering step soon after the conclusion of the modeling part. After experimenting both the softwares, we found Maxwell Render to be very powerful and intuitive, also because it easily interfaces with Rhino 3D through a plugin. Therefore, we chose to focus on this rendering tool in order to learn as much as possible about it before the end of the modelling step. Moreover, we found out that Maxwell Render’s website provides users with thousands of textures of every kind that can be applied to the CAD model of the galleass. After consulting the book Duri i banchi![2], we discovered that the real Venetian Galeazza was mainly built with walnut wood. Therefore, after downloading the proper wooden textures, as well as a texture for the sea, we set the lighting conditions and we tried to run the first renders. Figure 5 displays the rendering results on the main structure of the galleass, obtined after just one hour of rendering process. Even if the ship was still in an undeveloped state and the water texture is not perfect, we believe that the first images are quite impressive.

Ship_lofted 3ImmagineFigure 5: Results of the first renderings. Top panel: Render at a lower resolution with the sea texture included. Bottom panel: Render at a higher resolution without any ground resolution

Next goals

The next steps to do are therefore to finish the assembly of the ship with all the decks and the sails, as well as to fill the compartments on the lower decks with the correct content. Based on this, it should be possible to start rendering views from the deck as well as from the inside and to start simulating the behavior of the ship for different configurations. For example it would be interesting to see whether the ship would still be stable if, for example, all the heavy cannon balls and all gun powder would have been shot or if there would be ballast missing.
After considering the remaining parts to model and add to the ship, we plan to finish the whole modelling part within the next three weeks. Therefore, the last two weeks will be devoted to the rendering and the simulation steps, which will be performed possibly in parallel.

Milestones (updated)




[1] Guido Ercole, Galeazze. Un sogno veneziano, Gruppo Modellistico Trentino, 2010.
[2] Guido Ercole, Duri i banchi!, Gruppo Modellisticio Trentino, 2008.