We are great fans of the Bryce 3-D image program and use it for many of our products when we need to create an image. Although it is sold as a "landscape generating" program, Bryce can be used to make many types of 3-D models and it can also be animated. It's loaded with many features found in high end 3-D modeling programs, yet is affordable and easy to learn.
This article shows some images of a 3-D image model building lobby made with Bryce. The tricks used to create the images can be used in any 3-D image modeling program. It is also an excuse to post some nice images (We think they are nice anyway)!
If you have a group here at Gather and would like to have this article posted to your group, just let us know by comment or send us a message. We'd love to share.Â
The Mysterious Lobby
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Art, both "real" and digital, can spark the imagination and tell a story that is different for every viewer. This image is a case in point. Scroll down and take a look at Image 1, then scroll back up and think about these questions:
- What kind of lobby is this? An office building, a courthouse, a government building, someone's home, a theatre, a concert hall, an opera house, etc.?
- What floor is this lobby on? Is it the building entrance, or a lobby on a mezzanine or other floor, perhaps an observation deck?
- What is behind the you, the viewer? Is the room round, rectangular, oval, semi-circular?
- What time of day is it? What day is it?
- Why are the NEWS stand and Le Cafe closed off by metal gates?
- Where do the elevators go - up, down, both? Where are all the people?
- Does the image spark your curiosity and make you want to know more? Does it evoke a mood?
- Would you like to take an elevator ride and explore the building?
- Do you wish you could turn around and see what is behind you?
Scroll below the image for answers...
Answers to Image 1:
There are no right or wrong answers!
This could be the lobby of any public or private building. It could be any day and any time. We don't know why the Newsstand and Cafe are closed. Yet there is an implication that, since they are closed, it is either early morning before business, evening after hours, or a weekend or holiday. Since there are no windows to give us natural clues, we have no way of knowing. This makes the image a bit mysterious. Yet, if this was an image in a computer game, you could go further, take a ride in an elevator, maybe find a way into the Cafe or Newsstand, search for clues and more!
Digital Image Magic - the Illusion of Art:
Now, for some digital image magic! If you wanted to know what was behind you when you were looking at Image 1, look at the image below! Scroll below the image to learn a "magic" secret!
In this second image, it appears that we have backed up into an open elevator that must have been behind us in Image 1
Or have we? Look closely and compare this with Image 1.
Did you catch the trick?
Okay, here's a hint. Notice the placement of the red bench and the wooden table in both images.
In Image 2a, they are the reverse of Image 1. And, if you look for the NEWS (black and white) and Le Cafe (green and yellow) signs, they are also reversed.
So what has happened?
This is a nice visual trick. Digital 3-D model scene images are created by pointing a virtual camera at a scene or "set" and then taking the picture or "rendering" the image. In Image 1 the camera was facing "north". (There is a brass compass shape inlaid into the floor, did you notice it?)
Everything looked as it was designed. But in fact, only half the scene - or "set" - was actually created. There is literally nothing on the sides of or behind the camera as it was positioned in the first image!
In Image 2, the camera has been moved forward, into the front elevator that we see in Image 1, and turned 180 degrees around so it is facing "south".
But, we told you there was nothing there - in the "south" part of the scene (behind the camera in Image 1). So where did the "scene" come from?
This was done with a an optical trick that works in 3-D image modeling programs because the camera is invisible to renders. The trick is to use a mirror.
After relocating the camera, we placed a full sized mirror in the center of the room. This flat mirror runs the entire height and width of the room, literally cutting it in half. Because the rendering engine in Bryce is so good, and because we used dim indoor lighting, the mirror gives the illusion of a space that doesn't exist. All the objects you see are a reflection! That is why the bench, table and signs are reversed.
To give the illusion of place (inside the elevator), we adjusted the camera focal length so we can see the walls of the elevator and the hand-rails. This makes the lobby look a bit larger in Image 2, as if it has more depth.
This type of trick cuts digital modeling time because only half a scene needs to be created! The rest is done with one big mirror!
We deliberately left it like this to illustrate the trick.
The Easy Correction:
If we wanted the new image to really look like we had backed up into an elevator behind us, all we would have to do is flip the image horizontally using any image editing program! This is called "post processing" and can be used to add effects or correct rendered 3-D digital images!
Compare Image 2b below, with Image 1. The illusion is complete, yet no extra modeling was needed!
Now, there IS one thing missing. We deliberately left it out to illustrate a point. We often take things for granted and "see" them when they really aren't there. What is missing in this picture? There is a very important component missing. Can you guess what it is? Think about it.
We'll tell you at the end of the article
More Mirror Image Tricks:
So far, we see three elevators in the room. What if we wanted to imply there were more? The mirror trick comes in handy here!
In Image 3, below, we have stepped inside the elevator next to the Cafe bench. We are looking across the lobby and viola! We see an elevator we could not see in Image 1, because it was out of the camera range of view on the left side. Or, was it?
There is now another table in the lobby, and the elevator on the left seems a bit wider than the one next to the Newsstand (which is still closed for business.) We also see, on the far left, the hint of yet another closed store or room. So what does this tell you?
Yes, it's another mirror trick. The same mirror that runs through the center of the lobby is used here. Now, the camera is looking along the length of the mirror (sort of sideways - the mirror is on the left) instead of directly into it. Yet the 3-DÂ image modeling program is so sophisticated, it calculates all the visual information for us.Â It implies that there is more IN the lobby than there actually is!
Another thing to notice is the floor (if you haven't noticed this before). It is highly polished (don't slip!) Notice that the ceiling lights are reflected in the surface, as is the gate blocking off access to the Newsstand. The walls of the lobby are also polished stone, so they too reflect light. Reflection, which is the function of mirrors and polished surfaces, can add a great deal of "free" detail to a scene simply by their reflective nature!
Image 4 (below) uses the same trick as Image 3, but this time, the camera is inside the elevator next to the Newsstand, looking across to the closed "Le Cafe".
To draw attention away from the mirror trick, we angled the camera focus to include the center elevator that we see in Image 1. But notice the "new" elevator on the right, which is wider than the actual elevator created for the scene. Also. we see another bench, where there really isn't one, on the far right.
Digital art can create some wonderful illusions, and there are methods to cut down object creation time by using natural tricks that would never work in real life. In this case, we used a mirror trick. It worked because of the way 3-D modeling programs render images!
And now to the great question-
What very important component is missing in Image 2a and 2b?
There is no control panel to tell the elevator where to go! (We didn't bother to make one.)
Normally, there is a control panel on one of the walls (or in the front, if the elevator door doesn't run the full width of the elevator cab) that has all the available floors. If you didn't notice this was missing, this is an example of an "implied" reality. You are so used to seeing these panels (because they are always in elevators) that even though you didn't see it in the images, your mind didn't register it was missing. It was implied by experience.
We hope you enjoyed this little article about some of the fun things you can do with 3-D modeling! We used the Bryce 3-D modeling program for these images, and they are jpeg compressed, so they are a bit fuzzy here. But the actual images (which are large, 800 x 532 pixels) are very crisp and clear. Any good 3-D modeling program could have been used to similar effect.
If you have a group here at Gather and would like to have this article posted to your group, just let us know by comment or send us a message. We'd love to share.
The Bryce 3-D modeling program is very powerful and reasonably priced. You can learn more about it as the DAZ3-D Web site. They are the current managers and producers of the Bryce program.
ClydeSight Productions has tutorials on using the Bryce program, about different lighting techniques, building an animated model of a simple steam engine, more fun with mirrors, and even a tutorial on how to build a 3-D model of "Robby the Robot", the famous character from the great sci-fi classic, "Forbidden Planet". We call it: "Forbidden Bryce"!
All tutorials are illustrated, so stop by and take a look at even MORE 3-D image modeling tricks that help you create interesting images, and have fun doing it!
Note: "Robby the Robot" and "Forbidden Planet" are trademarks of Turner Entertainment.