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Modeling a Viking ship with splines

By Karl Stocker
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Date Added: 30th December 2010
Software used:
LightWave
1446_tid_gokstad1.jpg
The business end of the Gokstad Viking ship in the Oslo Viking ship museum.

1446_tid_Image1.jpg
1. Open LW. Use 1m grid, hit the key on the numerical keypad (num Lock on) and enlarge one of the viewports to lay the points out as I did. Be reasonably close, but don't get paranoid about the accuracy. All Viking ships were built one at a time, in different areas, usually for some rich Nordic land owner, and by different shipwrights. Probably no two were ever identical. In CREATE/points place them where I show them.

1446_tid_Image2.jpg
2. Copy the points and paste them back and then slide them horiontally to the right. Image 2 shows them as seen in the 500 mm grid.

NOTE: The tip is made up of four (4) points.

3. Next it's "connect the dots". In CREATE/Make Curve connect them with Open Curves. Make sure you use only one series of points at a time. You have enough points to end up with four separate curves. This gives us the keel of the ship.

NOTE (Center Image): I squeezed the outside line inward, to have the whole thing come to a near-point.

1446_tid_Image3.jpg
1446_tid_Image4.jpg

1446_tid_Image5.jpg
4. To make the outer bow shape a little smoother, go to a different layer and create a disk. Don't bother to make it 3D. You'll just use it as a guide to slide the points into a more smoothly rounded shape. Delete the disk when you're finished.

1446_tid_Image6.jpg
5. Next, copy the upper inside curve to another layer and delete the first two points.

1446_tid_Image7.jpg
1446_tid_Image8.jpg
1446_tid_Image9.jpg
6. You are now left with a shortened curve in a different layer, as shown below.

7. Copy that line, you know and seven times. Each time slide it as I have indicated. That means that one of the copies will be below the original one. The other six will be above the original curve. You'll end up with this:

1446_tid_Image10.jpg
1446_tid_Image12.jpg 1446_tid_Image11.jpg

8. Now for some tedium (much more to come). Connect the dots vertically with open curves. To keep from getting snagged later, I decided to do it like this. The first row will be connected two dots at a time. The next row, all dots will be connected with a single open curve, and so on.



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