From Wreck to 3D Render

July 9, 2015
Boby Norman has put together an excellent article outlining the process in generating 3D models of underwater shipwrecks.

Even equipped with a digital camera, taking photographs of the wreck and stitching them together simply was not an option. Overall, the wreck is too long and an even camera angle can not be ensured. Visibility changes every day, so a consistency of photographic results is never guaranteed.

The only solution was to measure out the dimensions of the wreck with a measure tape bit by bit and record the findings onto a dive slate together with old-fashioned hand drawings of the surveyed areas.Piece by piece the individual measurements contributed to the creation of 2D drafts of each deck of the wreck in a 1:100 scale in a vector software.

With the 2D deck plan data in hand I used them as a starting point for re-creating each deck of the wreck in SketchUp Pro, a 3D software from Google. Each deck was re-traced and lifted in elevation to the proper height. Once each deck was complete I could stack them on top of one another to observe the parts that line up in height.

With the 3D model of the wreck in hand which was mostly based on measurements taken right off the wreck underwater, I was able to recreate the upper decks of the undamaged ship after our friend Peter Walker’s historic research on the Suddhadib produced 2 beautiful historic photographs of the ship.

Take a look at the final result below:

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