New Challenge: Flash Gordon Modeling Contest
Ocean capable yacht Elling E4 & vintage apartment – Denis Schörnig

Ocean capable yacht Elling E4 & vintage apartment – Denis Schörnig

Denis Schörnig
by denisschoernig on 11 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Welcome to my first Rookie entry, these projects were part of my demo reel which I created at PIXL VISN Media Arts Academy in Cologne, below you can find the projects with breakdowns and information about the development process.

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In 2018 and 2020 I visited the ‘’BOOT Düsseldorf’’ in Germany, the biggest boat and watersports trade fair on the globe, and I take a look at several yachts. One boat captured my attention, the Elling E4. On one hand the yacht is very functional even under rough conditions on the other hand it has a nifty design by a well-known superyacht designer Ken Freivoakh. When I learned this boat travelled over the Atlantic and did a 360 degree capsize test without sinking, I knew it would be my demo project. I believe high quality renderings would be really important for future of the boating industry and similar luxury products.

Fortunately, I met an owner of an Elling E4 close to my home port who supported the idea and allowed me to make lots of reference pictures. In Addition, I contact Elling yachting for permission of using their blueprints and logos. The measurements in combination with the pictures helped me a lot to find the right shape. I got the opportunity to visit the boat multiple times, so I took reference photos for the parts where I was struggling with modeling. 

At the beginning of the project, I had to familiarize myself with the DWG file that contained the dimensions which I got from the builders.

I started with the blockout of the main parts (hull, deck, cabin, and equipment carrier).

All objects (>100) were entered in an Excel sheet to control and monitor the progress of project and time development.

After finishing modeling, I started with the water simulation and a basic light setup.

Next came shading and texturing the objects with V-Ray shaders and textures I created in Substance Painter.

For the teak wood I only found a color texture, so I created the other maps (ambient occlusion, height, normal and roughness) in Substance Alchemist. 

Light: skydome - add BG - cabin light - table light - final

Comp breakdown: boat - add water - add BG - color correction - lens distortion and lut

The most challenging part of this project was modeling for me. My first model was too high poly, so I decided to remodel the hull based on the most important edges of this first one.

Another challenge was the look development, because I had to render the boat and the water on different layers. In the end this gives me more opportunities in compositing.

A big problem in my renders were noise on the background water and flickering of the chrome railing. But I worked with a few denoiser gizmos in nuke which fixed.

clay - wireframe - AO - render

Maps: lighting - specular - reflection - refraction

For this project I used Maya, Substance Painter, Substance Alchemist, V-Ray, Nuke, Affinity Designer and Photo. For the water simulation I used Phoenix FD from Chaosgroup because I rendered with V-Ray and both work great together. For inspection, the DWG data I used Autodesk DWGTrueViewer.

Preparation and planning were very important. Getting the blueprints, reference photos and finding the right workflow for the water simulation are some examples therefor. The Excel sheet with all objects was very helpful for organizing my time and monitoring the progress of the project. 

In this project I learned how to work with helpful modeling tools. And that is sometimes better and more efficient to remodel an object instead trying to fix it. Moreover, I saw with every detail I modeled it looks more and more realistic e.g.: anchor, clamps, … 


In this project I wanted to show my look development and photorealistic skill. So, the idea of an interior came up. First, I looked for a living or a bedroom because the wrinkles of a pillow look really realistic. After searching on Artstation and Pinterest I found three concepts that I really liked. Patrick Weber’s concept caught me the most because I really liked the atmosphere. In my preparations I found some models on poliigon, so I saved time with modeling and I could focus on look development.

Patrick Weber uploaded lots of pictures from the apartment, so I could see the rooms from different angles. This helped me a lot for photorealism, the room layout, the materials and for modeling the objects with the right proportions.

After choosing Weber I started with the blockout of the rooms. First, I orientated on real world measurements, but after the walls and a few blocks, representing furniture, I set up my reference camera. Then I adjust the models and start with detail modeling. In this step I also did a test lighting setup. So I could render my reference cam and compare it with the concept. When modeling was mostly done, I start with shading and texturing. For texturing I used Substance Painter for the most objects. The textures of the models I got from poliigon I adjusted with nodes in the hypershade in maya. There I merged them with noise and clouds. Also very important were the displacement maps, especially for the floor and the chair cloth. After finishing with the shading and texturing I set up my final lighting setup. With my final lights I changed some materials and give them the finishing touch. For this project nuke was really important for look development, so I start early with a few compositing tests.

clay - wireframe - AO - render

In this project it was challenging to find the same camera angle and model everything in the right size of the concept, but otherwise the models should look in other perspectives correct as well. 

Light: direct - windows room 01 - windows room 02 - final

Comp breakdown: render - add dust - lut - lens distortion - reference 

From this project I learn how to deal with a fix reference and how to create a photorealistic interior. Moreover, I rendered this project on the renderfarm from FoxRenderfarm, so I got experience for future projects.

Maps: lighting - reflection - specular - GI - SSS

Credits: (chairs, plants, books, sunglasses) (plants, curtain) (bike)

The projects were part of my demo reel, you can find below.

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