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Making a Sea House Diorama in Blender

A 3D Generalist Roger Renno has told us about creating an isometric sea house diorama entirely in Blender and discussed the creation of water using Blender's Ocean Modifier.


My name is Roger Renno, currently, I work as a freelancing 3D modeler and texturer for some 3D animation producers. I started my studies at Faculdade Melies in Brazil in a course on Animation and Computer Graphics, where I became more interested in learning about modeling, texturing, and rendering.

Recently I worked on animations for Lightfarm Studio of the game Valorant from Riot, where I participated as a modeler of props and sets. I currently work as a 3D Artist in some animations for children, YouTube channels, and I work as a freelancer for large 3D producers.

The Isometric Sea House Project

The Sea House model was made based on the concept by Ruslan Kim, I started the project as an initiative to learn more about texturing in Blender and use the node editor. First, I blocked out the entire scene taking into account the isometric projection, the concept didn't have as many details, which made it less realistic, so I decided to add more details in the wood, more realistic textures, and the moving waters.

I personally like the sea a lot and when I saw the concept I thought it was wonderful and had the idea of putting the water in motion to bring a feeling of calmness from the waves of the sea.

Modeling and Unwrapping

To model the platform and the house, I created several rectangles in wood beam formats, made a base, and organized the rectangles according to the sequence of the wood in the original concept. With the boat it wasn't much different, I put a base in the shape of the boat and then I added and modeled several rectangles in the curved shape of the boat. The strings I made with Paths in Blender with Bevel, then I put a string texture with displacement to make the effect of the interlacings.

The biggest challenge was to keep the concept's proportions and perspective because in 2D drawing there are often small details that escape the reality of 3D. It took me about 25 hours to complete the entire project, taking away the rendering time.

After blocking everything, I opened the UV maps of each object, then I created a high poly version of each object with details that I did in Sculpt mode, and baked the objects to create the Normal Maps. AS for the wood textures, I adapted them to the direction of the wood and objects in the scenery. I like to leave everything already in place so I can change it later.


I tried to texture everything using the textures I found on Quixel and texture Haven, I had to make the color, brightness, and contrast adjustments to each texture so I could have the colors I wanted. Following the concept's orange color palette, I was following the reference and constantly comparing the colors so as not to run away from the style.

For the wood textures, I used an image I found on Quixel Megascans, applied it with a material I created with curvature to make the worn corners of the woods and metals.

Creating the Ocean

I used Blender's Ocean Modifier, adjusted the parameters to make the small waves and the tide simulation, the water shaders were created with transparency and volumetric light. To fix the boat to the water movement I used a plane with the shrink modifier and put the boat with a parent of the plane that was fixed to water, so the boat acquired the water movement without needing to use simulation which could weigh more memory on the file. It was the easiest and fastest way to do this.

Rendering and Lighting

I used Directional Sunlight and an HDRI with a sunset image that I downloaded from the HDRI Haven website. I put some Directional Lights to illuminate the boat, the lamp, some walls of the house, and also part of the water to have more light reflection. I used Adobe After Effects to adjust the colors, brightness, and contrast of the scene, and also to adjust the animation loop, I put a mask with a small gradient to simulate a little sunlight.

As for the reflection of the water, I increased the Specular and decreased the Roughness of a transparent material with volume in blue colors with a little green.


The biggest challenge was having done the work entirely in Blender. This time I wanted to do something entirely produced with the resources of the program, without using other software such as Substance Painter to make the textures and details. I only used the structure of the nodes of the Blender shade editor with procedurals.

The part that took the most time for sure was creating the shaders and lighting, I had to do a lot of rendering tests with the shaders and study the Curvature and Normal parts in Blender.

I would like to say to those who are starting out that the first thing you should think about is the type of concept you should choose to model, study it hard, see if there are no errors in the perspective that hinder the final result, even if it is not perfect, or whichever way you want to continue until you finish, the important thing is to do it until the end of the work even if there is something you can't fix, leave it to fix the next time

Roger Renno, 3D Generalist

Interview conducted by Theodore Nikitin

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