Hi all, Happy Holidays!
I had two days of unexpected downtime earlier this week and made the "mistake"
of firing up POV-Ray for the first time in almost a year! As always, one thing
led to another and down the rabbit hole I went...
I wanted to make a photorealistic CG scene that merged seamlessly (more or less)
with an HDR environment. This is something that I've done before, but I wanted
to try and get a more photorealistic end result than my previous images have
Inspired by an actual sculpture I recently saw outside a local art museum I
started modeling and coding. A few hundred iterations later I ended up with this
image: a spherical shell assembled from 16,500 glass shards balanced atop a
weathered granite boulder, displayed as a sculptural art piece in the
internationally famous POV-Ray Museum of Art's digital outer courtyard.
The sphere was created using a single "shard" object (a superellipsoid) that was
instanced and transformed via nested U and V loops using the standard spherical
parametric equations. Each glass shard is unique, having randomized scaling,
rotation and pigment color/interior fade color.
The granite boulder is a fairly simple UV mapped polygon model that was
displaced by PoseRay (via a 4K image map texture and adaptive subdivision) and
exported as a 105K triangle Mesh3 object. All of the rocks surrounding the base
disc of bricks, along with the jumbled wall of rocks in the right-hand
background, are instances of this same object with random rotations and scales.
The ground is a simple Y-plane textured with image mapped stone blocks. Two area
lights provide direct lighting and soft shadows, while the overall environment
is a 4K EXR sphere that provides both indirect lighting and background image.
Camera focal-blur ties the image-mapped plane and background EXR sphere together
The object creation and overall layout of this scene was done in just a few
hours but, as usual, I spent 80% of the total time tweaking lighting and
texturing. In the end I rendered the image at 4K and then scaled down to HD to
try and get more pristine antialiasing while minimizing focal-blur sample noise
and pixelation of the EXR background (which is pretty noticeable at 4K - I guess
I'll need to start using 8K image maps for stuff like this).
Here's a low-res comp of the untextured scene objects versus textured final
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