Making a Ship's Hull Using CurveBridge and Panel Loops

Here is a step by step for creating a ship’s hull using the CurveBridge brush and Panel Loops. I have attached a link to a video showing the process. I hope you find it useful.


1. Using a plan of the hull lines top and side views you have essentially slices of one half of the hull.
2. Bring the plan into ZBrush and apply it to the grid as reference.
3. Then grab a Plane 3D and make it a polymesh.
4. Delete by symmetry half of the plane. Using the Move Transpose align the plane with the bottom hull line of the side view plan.
5. Duplicate the plane as a new subtool and using Move Transpose align it to the next hull line.
6. Repeat this until you have a plane for each hull line.
7. From the top view select the Slice Curve brush and use it to slice each plane along the respective hull lines. This creates a new poly group on each plane. 8. Hide and then delete the unnecessary poly group on each plane. This leaves you with planes representing slices of half the hull.
9. Merge the planes into a single subtool and auto group them.
10. Mirror and weld the subtool so that you now have slices representing the entire hull.
11. Switch to the Bride Curve brush. Start drawing a curve along the bottom plane and then hold Shift to have the curve applied along the edge of the bottom plane.
12. Let go of Shift and start drawing a curve on the next plane up then hold Shift to have the curve applied along the edge of the plane. Release Shift and this should create geometry that bridges the two planes.
13. Hide this new geo and delete the curves.
14. Clear the mask that is automatically created.
15. Repeat steps 11 through 14 for each pair of hull planes. You should end up with a basic hull shape.
16. Hide and delete all of the interior hull planes leaving only the bottom, top and the new bridged geo.
17. DynaMesh the subtool with a high polycount.
18. Use various brushes to smooth and form the hull as needed. I used Move Brush, Smooth Brush, H Polish, Trim Dynamic etc.
19. Hide the top polygroup and delete it. This should leave you with the hull and no top deck.
20. Using the Slice Curve brush and the side view plan slice the hull along the curve of the top edge of the vessel.
21. Hide and delete the unneeded slice.
22. Delete by Symmetry half of the hull.
23. Now depending on the specific requirements of the planking of the hull; use the Slice Curve Brush to separate the side from the bottom of the hull.
24. Split the side and bottom poly groups into separate subtools.
25. Using the Slice Curve slice the bottom creating new poly groups for each plank. Repeat for the side.
26. Merge the bottom and side subtools back into one subtool.
27. Use PanelLoops, adjusted as needed, to create the planking. Since the Hull represents the outermost edge of the shape you will want to set elevation to -100.
29. Mirror and weld this half hull to create the full hull.

This should provide you with a hull. The top deck is done slightly different. As top decks on a ship bend from the centerline out to the edge of the hull.

1. Grab a plane 3D and make it a ploymesh.
2. Use Deformation>SBend to create a slight bend along the X axis only.
3. Position the bent plane such that the bend goes from the centerline towards the side of the hull.
4. Using the Move Transpose lengthen the plane as need to fit the length of the hull. Use it also to squash the plane until the wireframe represents the width of the planks you need.
5. Use Slice Curve along the hull lines as before and delete the unnecessary
6. Hide and delete excess parts of the plane making sure to leave one extra row of the wireframe across the centerline. This will be important when you PanelLoop.
7. Using masking and Rotate Transpose as needed bend the plane to follow the side contour of the deck.
8. Hide each row of the wireframe and do a group visible one at a time until you have a polygroup representing each plank along the deck.
9. Unhide the deck and use PanelLoops to create the planking. Like the hull you will want elevation set to -100.
10. You will notice that because we have low geo on the deck plane, the PanelLoop on the extra row of the wireframe has a panel that collapses inward on the ends.
11. Hide and delete the parts of that extra panel.
12. Mirror and weld the half deck to create the completed deck.

I think that is about it. If you have any questions let me know.




Thanks for the detailed step great help !!!

thank you! very interestign method!

Thanks clubber400 and iXaarii, I’m glad you find it useful.

Thank you :slight_smile:

With the new ZModeler Brush the process can be made easier. When I get a chance I will run a test and post the process here.