WHAT IS THIS 3D STUFF, ANYWAY?
One of the lapidary designers that contributed to the site, asked me "Just how does this 3D stuff work, anyway?" This page will serve as a quick introduction to the world of 3d art for those visitors that aren't aquainted with it, and show how I went from a diagram of a real stone to a virtual model.
Modelling is the (mathematical) construction of an object, by defining points in a 3 dimensional array. This array is based on the X, Y and Z axis of geometric space. Then, different sets of these points are mathematically 'joined' by lines, to create polygons, and the polygons joined to create objects. The simplest result is usually displayed as a wireframe model.
In some program, this display might show as a plain solid shape.
may or may not occur in the same program that modelling does.
Once the properties are set to the artist's stisfaction, the program then calculates -for each and every pixel of the desired display area- what would be visible based on the sum interaction of all objects and their properties. The following animation shows a render in progress.
But how did I make the gem models? I started with 2d images (many found at Bob's Rock Shop and at the AFMS design archive) Here's an example of one:
In my modelling program (I used TrueSpace, but there are others out there), I imported this image as a background and began by constructing a 16-sided polygon (as this gem had 16 sides in the top view). Then, I 'lofted' the polygon into a 16-sided cylinder
Then, by manipulating the various points, edges and polygons, I began producing something closer to a gem.
The final result hopefully matches the 2d image I started with.
versions visible are extra views that were set to match the top and
side views from the 2d image. Once everything matched up, I had a
3d object ready for rendering. For personal preference, I use a program
called Bryce for rendering. The Bryce presets, mentioned in the "Materials"
section of this website, are simply pre-calculated properties for
different stones, such as ruby and diamond. I simply assign those
to the object and began the render.
After that, it's merely a matter of deciding how to use this model in a scene.
Still have questions? Write me. I'll be happy to help out and share my interests in both 3d and lapidary arts.