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    I was part of a small highly skilled team and helped produce the 3D models for a total of 600 interior compartments of real world submarines, bas… Read More
    I was part of a small highly skilled team and helped produce the 3D models for a total of 600 interior compartments of real world submarines, based solely on reference photographs and subject matter expert knowledge. The project is used to train and familiarize the RN personnel before they serve on the vessels. Please note: these images were produced after the project for marketing purposes. The actual project is restricted, however functions in a very similar way, and meets and equal visual quality. Read Less
In the start of 2014 I was approached by Real Visual to become part of their team, hired to develop a fully interactive 3D model of two Royal Navy submarines. I had been following their work for a while and jumped at the opportunity for a new challenge which I knew would involve a lot of hardcore 3d modelling and unity 3D experience.
I wasn't disappointed. We (a team of 7) had to build both submarines, inside and out within 6 months. I had done work like this before, often converting CAD data into usable 3D models, however this project had a surprising twist: there was no CAD data for these subs. This meant that we had to find other sources of reference to base our models off, they had to be accurate too, as the whole purpose of the project was to help new recruits familiarise themselves with the locations and layout of the vessels.
We opted to use photo reference, and after various security procedures, systematically took over 10 thousand pictures of the vessels while they were in dock overnight.
Once sorted, we broke the vessel up into compartments, estimated difficultly and time allowance for each, and gave each team member their fair share of models to make.
It turned out to be one of the most modelling intensive projects I've worked on, we had to produce many models accurately, within very little time. I actually really enjoyed the opportunity to model a lot of parts from scratch, and learnt many new workflows (especially for dealing with 3D pipes!) that I still use now.
We became surprisingly accurate with measurements, by finding objects in the scenes we knew the scale of, and eyeballing the rest. We built block models first as we went, to ensure the scale worked, then added details later.
With clever use of Unitys prefab system, we began to identify and re use many parts, and towards the end of the project, the task of building a compartment became just the placement of objects and pipes and walls around them.

After a long summer sat in a dark room, we completed all the compartments, and were able to run around them all first person using an xbox controller, exploring the details and layout clearly and easily. We also added various scenarios to the scenes, such as fire or flood, to simulate these events realistically without the real life dangers.
The end result proved invaluable to the Navy. These submarines are extremely cramped, dangerous and difficult to show a classroom of students around. This software enabled the RN to familiarise a classroom of new submariners with the vessels in an engaging way, that they were far more comfortable with. Using these simple gaming technologies, they were able to accurately assess the students understanding of the vessels key equipment and knowledge of the layout.