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ArtZone Heading
"Lighter Than Air"
Added on: Mon Mar 15 1999
Page: 1 

From the beginning of the image, I made all of my textures in black and white, which left me more room to deal with lighting and shadows. Here you can see that all materials are limited to b&w. Although this made it easier, it wasnt easy, as I still struggled with contrasts and actual surface textures as far as bump maps were concerned.

Probably the second thing noticed in the picture are the ladders, which were the most annoying thing to deal with in the rendering. In order for them to look right, I had to make sure there werent just solid black elements wich would only prove to act as odd negative space and look like holes in the image. I gave them a high shininess value and dedicated a light to let them give off the right reflection, giving them richness that added as much to the scene as the gigantic Macon.

Next, I starting going for the detail that would help add to the magnitude of the environment....mainly the platforms, supports, and rafters around the sides and top. This would have been a much easier process, as I thought I could simply have tons of geometry, but I quickly realized that the image was lacking the grunge, that implied depth and detail. The native setup was way too clean. My fog solved much of this problem, as I used a noise map with a low size setting to achieve the effect I wanted.
I went back to self illumination on many of the supports near the middle of the ship to help in this respect...near the bottom right was where I feel the illusion was best achieved. Here you can see the heavy density of the geometry in the peripherals.

Finally, I was near the end, but the image was lacking the look of bustling. So I decided to build a few characters to stick in. These guys were modelled starting with a 4x4 cube, which I then used Edit mesh to extrude out the arms legs and head.
I used meshsmooth for a couple that were up close. I set up a simple bone master and as I got poses I want, I just copied the meshes into the room and scaled them as needed.
I wanted to achieve more with the characters, like 2 guys helping each other with a big box, or supplies being loaded off the truck, but the scene has become quite disfuntional as far as redraw.

The windows in the scene are actually just 6 or so pure self-illuminated white boxes, which provided the effects channel for the glow. I also used a second glow on the frame of the Macon itself, with settings as low as I could get them.
For lights I had a main, shadow map casting direct light coming through the window and one pointed toward the ceiling at a 45 degree angle to illuminate the right side of the ceiling. The other light was the one described above that acted as a filler, as well as helping out the ladders. I used photoshop to add the graniness/noise to the final rendering.

The final image in wireframe and fully rendered is shown below.

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