Blender for my Master Thesis

Discussion in 'Software' started by Claudio Valerio Parboni, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. Claudio Valerio Parboni
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    Claudio Valerio Parboni Junior Member

    Dear fellow yacht designers,

    I am a Master's student in Superyacht Design, I am 2/3 through my course and now am thinking of a thesis to deliver for my graduation. Between some technical and engineering topics (such as CFD, FEA and Production management) I've found interest into 3D modelling and rendering; this is a topic I am very passionate about and most proficient compared to other subjects.

    One of my choices for my thesis is to look into Blender as a possible alternative to our university's rendering package (Rhino6 + Flamingo nxt) as well as a useful tool in a yacht design studio.
    Its known advantages are:
    • Open source, free and many plug-ins available
    • Quicker and more efficient at modelling interiors, details and non-geometric shapes
    • Extremely good rendering capabilities and short times
    • Interface to VR to allow the future owner, technical crew and engineers to get a sense of spaces, allow proofing and visualization at a very early stage of the design/build
    My aims in terms of using Blender are to:
    1. Produce a quick preliminary design round (hull, sailplan, appendages, systems, structures and stability) for a 40m sailing yacht to make sure all further work is done on a realistic and functional platform (this would take 2-3 weeks).
    2. Model (in Rhino) and render (in Blender) the yacht floating or sailing.
    3. Model and render the saloon, owner and guest cabins in Blender
    4. Do an animated camera pass of the above mentioned spaces
    5. Make an assembly animation of how the yacht goes toghether (structure, skins, appendages...)
    Overall I am looking for a feedback on how realistic this is in 3 months given that I am fairly new to Blender; as well as some guidance on how I could approach such tasks.
    I can't give too much information on my thesis here, but if someone is interested, I am happy to answer questions here or talk elsewhere.

    Thank you in advance for your answers.

    Claudio.
     
  2. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    Yacht design is not about drawing streamlined profiles or making pictures/renderings. Yacht design is complex solution of task with aesthetics, functionality, safety, economics, production, etc.
    Yes one needs good presentation of design, to make Client excited. However, this is job of rendering artist, not a yacht designer.
    Very often those pretending to be yacht designers can only produce renderings; Internet is full of such images with obvious design flaws, which will never become reality.
    So advice is: don't look at software at this stage, use what You are familiar with. Invest Your time in study of work of top designers, look for good and bad features, develop nice shapes and new functionality, look at rules, performance, etc. - spend time on that, 2-3 weeks are not enough. Renderings are secondary. Exterior renderings in Rhino/Flamingo or 3D pdf work well, especially for Mater thesis.

    I am sure You will not listen my advice, but...
     
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  3. Claudio Valerio Parboni
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    Claudio Valerio Parboni Junior Member

    Dear Alik,

    I am still at the stage of evaluating different options... another thesis for example involves doing CFD on a DSS foil (just like the Baltic 142 "Canova"). I am sure you would be a fan of this project compared to the other one.

    I've been given advice similar to yours; but at the same time, "styling" is in fact a subject of my Master, together with more technical/engineering stuff such as "Naval architecture, Structures, Project Management, CFD and FEA; All of this on top of an engineering bachelor's degree in Yacht Design and Production.

    The reason why some of my teachers liked such a project was to push my already good rendering skill and support all of the Blender work with the technical engineering/architect knowledge.

    As in time needed to engineer a boat, yes 2/3 weeks are enough, since I'd base the thesis on a started project from the beginning of the year which just requires some tweaking.

    As you rightly say, many claim to be yacht designers only by producing renders... And in fact coordination between stylists and engineers is a major issue inside many design studios.

    My objective in this thesis option is not to just make a bunch of pretty pictures, but to evaluate the software in the marine design field and fill the gap between engineering and styling.

    In order to this, I need to first get info about the software and feasability of my tasks.

    Hence my post...

    Thanks for your answer,

    Claudio
     
  4. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    Claudio, I understand Your idea. I think Your advantage compared to 'stylists' should be knowledge of boats. Many 'stylists' lack that; there are many of them who never sailed ;) In these terms, and given lack of time, You can sacrifice the rendering quality in favor of work on shapes, functionality and other design aspects.

    I always say that boat design is about understanding of boats, not about drawing sleek profiles or satisfying the Class.

    I don't do rendering myself anymore. We outsource renderings, if we need top quality. We concentrate on design work.
     
  5. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Will you be doing any hydrostatics and stability calculations? If so are does Blender have support for those types of calculations?
     
  6. Claudio Valerio Parboni
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    Claudio Valerio Parboni Junior Member

    Blender is only a modelling and visualization tool... unless someone made a plug-in for it, I don't think it is able to do Stability calcs. I however have access to Maxsurf Stability for that, which can check stability characteristics against different classification societies
     
  7. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    That is very interesting. It must be the latest version because until recently Maxsurf did not.
    I think it is very interesting, too, what Alik says in post # 2. I, in your place, would listen to him, although ...
     
  8. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Then surely this is the focus of your Masters thesis?

    Why not take an existing yacht, ...model it in one software.... and then repeat and model it in Blender...and maybe a 3rd afterwards too... assuming you know how to use 2 or 3, or the time in which to learn them.
    The objective being to show the difference in time required to produce the shapes you wish, for a rendering for presentation... the level of skill required to do each and the final result.

    That gives you an input and and output.

    Otherwise, as Alik says, all you're doing is just a pretty picture....which anyone with software can do.
    Thus going down the stability/FEA etc route does not appear to satisfy your objective, or the thoughts which echoed by your teachers.

    Make your thesis an investigation into the complexities and levels of skill required for rendering. Hence, rendering being the thesis, not the vessel per se.
    You dont even need to repeat/copy a vessel.. you could simply choose shapes which are commonly found in nature and reflected on yachts. So a building block of shapes and levels of complexity/time to produce, in each software...and importantly... the reasons why. Without the "whys"... the thesis has no output to speak of.

    I assume this is also a route you wish to pursue post graduation? If so, be aware this is going down the stylist route, forming shapes etc...it is just styling design only.. it is nothing to do with engineering design.
     
  9. pafurijaz
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    pafurijaz Senior Member

    Hi, Claudio, I don't think it's very realistic to achieve acceptable results in a short time with Blender and is a software that can adapt to multiple uses, and with the use of others you can achieve remarkable results, I have gained experience year after year but I recommend using Rhino.in my profile link you can see and download models made with Blender and then converted into Nurbs and imported into freeship and DELFTShip.if you need some advice I am available.
     
  10. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    This is good idea and I was going to propose this as well. Take close prototype and re-shape it/make renders. Saves time and allows to concentrate on what he likes - the styling.
    However, I doubt that Claidio has access to technical documentation of existing 40m design.
     
  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    That looks like a thesis for a software engineer, not a designer.
     
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  12. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    I think the question of "what modelling software or CAD is best for a specific use case" is really interesting. So the idea of doing the same design multiple times in different packages and gathering data (how fast, how accurate), then trying to compare the results in an objective manner could be worthwhile. Modelling times, render times, obstacles, bugs, workarounds. But I'm not sure if that really yields scientifically interesting things or can be done in the time.

    Maybe you could use some classic or standard or famous superyacht design to compare so it's "repeatable". Maybe there are past projects from your university you could use, or you could use / ask some existing superyacht designer.

    So you could compare the original brochure and presentation and marketing materials of the superyacht with the renderings done in Blender and in VR. If you do your own design, there is no comparison. A comparison of the "marketing impact" of Blender and VR vs. other ways might yield the most interesting scientific knowledge.

    I think VR can help a lot to evaluate a space as if you're really there, but it might also be a bit of a gimmick. It could be interesting to try to evaluate the reactions of people to a presentation in VR vs normal paper.

    3 months is short to really learn to use blender efficiently. Any 3D software really but blender specifically. I only spend a day with blender though. Now I mess around in Fusion 360.
     
  13. Claudio Valerio Parboni
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    Claudio Valerio Parboni Junior Member

    Dejay thanks for your answer,

    I've been evaluating the possibility of using more modelling/render packages and do work/render time comparisons. I've also been looking at "Unreal Engine", which I believe to also be free and is extrimely good at delivering realistic visuals.
    The main issue comes with time to learn (as you also acknowledged) as well as access to software: as a student I can't affort to pay for licences which I would have access on campus. Given that the uni shut down after the pandemic started and I flew back home in Italy, I only have access to free software and my own computer (which is decent but not powerful enough for some software).

    Given this, I need to evaluate thesis options and tasks which are realistic and feasable. This is why I chose Blender and those taks.

    Again, I am equally evaluating other thesis options which are more technical and engineering oriented. As I told Alik, one is testing in CFD a DSS foil and another is to design two structures for a yacht: one in traditional FRP and the other in green/bio/natural resins and fibres, comparing weights, properties, costs and production.

    My main concern now is to understand how to structure my work-flow and work load, as well as needed research and resources. For the Blender thesis I really need to understand if it is possible to be efficient with the software in that time span.

    Thank you,

    Claudio
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think if you are basing a thesis on software, rather than design itself, a student version won't be adequate. Also, you would need to compare at least three different design software packages. Otherwise, your thesis will be in a vacuum.
     

  15. Claudio Valerio Parboni
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    Claudio Valerio Parboni Junior Member

    pafurijaz thanks for your answer,

    I already know how to use Rhino, It's main disadvantage (at least according to some friends who also use Blender) is it's extremely slow modelling/rendering times, as it depends on precise, geometric, CAD commands and functions; as well as being extrimely dependant on it's paired rendering engine (the default one is very limited).

    I have made a document with a series of objectives and a Gantt chart, if you can send me a private message, I could share this with you four feedback.
     
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