A couple of weeks ago I shared the results of some of my efforts to learn 3D modeling and rendering.I learned a lot in the process of that first project and felt a lot more competent beginning the next project, which I’m sharing today. The software I’m learning on is Cinema 4D. It’s a big heavy piece of digital machinery that really dwarfs the functional complexity of some other kinds of high end software, like Photoshop. Not to downplay what can be done with software like that. I am a photographer after all.
It’s funny though, I’m not sure I’ve really appreciated just how forgiving photography, as a craft, really is. When you take a picture of a person, they look like a person. Weird sometimes, but a person nonetheless. You can change the light around them, get it bouncing off different surfaces in all kinds of different ways, to deliver all these different kinds of visual styles. But the light knows how to bounce around the room, all on its own. The people know how to look like people. Mirrors know to reflect light. And curtains just happen to hang that way. And that’s the gotcha with creating images from scratch like this (when going for realism, that is): nothing knows what to do until you tell it.
This image took approximately 25 hours to model, render, tweak, render, tweak, render, model, tweak, render, render, adjust render settings, render, tweak, render, model, render, model, render, model, render, tweak, render, model, render, tweak, render, model, render, save, oh, God, save, tweak, save, render, tweak, save, render, tweak, render, tweak… and so on.
Well, there it is. The house I grew up in (a Bowie Levitt house), in a snow globe. Sans the snow. So a spring globe, which is actually just a statue in a glass bubble.
I started with the house, and at the time I wasn’t sure where I would be going with the project. The “snow” globe idea came later. The lack of forethought cost me in the end. I put a lot of detail into things that were going to mostly disappear once the model was small enough to fit inside a globe.
The irony is that I put a lot of effort into details inside the globe, most of which would become invisible, then expected everything outside of the globe to be cake. It wasn’t. I’m not sure “challenging” is a strong enough word for the process of creating a realistic table surface. I wouldn’t say I succeeded there. And simulating the balance between outdoor light and indoor light in one scene is mysterious. I had to dress up my efforts a little bit in post.
Oh yeah, I also made a bookshelf to put the lamp on in the background. I even put books on it. But, it was way to dark to see in the end anyway. Funny, that was a lesson I’d already learned inside the globe.
I’m definitely having fun with this, but I’m considering that the cost of getting really good at it might be more than I’m willing to invest. It’s hard to imagine that I’d be too satisfied with my skills until I was capable of producing truly photorealistic scenes. Realizing the tedium involved in producing even simply realism scenes, I’m not sure there’s enough water in the well. We will see. I will continue my 45 minutes a day routine for some time.
I was a day late posting this. I want to always post by Friday. But this project consumed so much time and it was so challenging for me to say ‘good enough’, it really got out of hand (Did I mention I was up all night last night working on it?). Lesson learned. My efforts on projects related to this blog aren’t sustainable if they consume all of my spare time. Brainstorming for the first post next week begins now! I think we’ll take a step back and talk about something I already know how to do.