Constructing a 7th century timber church: part seven

As stated previously we were experimenting with different textures through out the project. We took most of our textures from textures.com which supplies free textures for use in 3D models. For texturing the the church we used several different types of wood materials in order to give the church a varied look. We adjusted the colours of some textures in Photoshop in order to make the colours between the textures match. We also used bump maps in order to give some depth in the look of the wood. We chose to use a texture for the roof shingles rather than geometry and I feel the end result is better than the results we had earlier with creating shingle objects. Sonia adjusted the textures of each object with the UVW modifier in order to fit the textures around the object and give a varied look between the wooden staves.

Wood Textures on the front of the church
Wood Textures on the front of the church

For our environment as I discussed in the animation blog post we chose to use a 2D image and the perspective matching to give the scene an environment. The effect did not work in the end. The process seemed simple enough and I think I followed the correct steps but the end result did not look great. Next I’ll discuss and walk through the process and where I might have gone wrong. First was the challenge of finding a suitable image to use as a background for the church. We decided to have it in a forest clearing or an area with a flat surface and some trees. I used google image search to try find photos which would suit the scene and which have lighting which could be recreated easily as the shadows and lighting are just as important in this aspect as the perspective. At first I attempted to limit my search geographically to Ireland but this proved difficult to find suiting images so I expanded my search but made sure to remember the context. I also set the search results to free to share and use usage rights. I selected 8 images in the end and attempted to match 3 of these.

One of the environments I attempted to match
One of the environments I attempted to match

To start with I set the viewport background image to the environment jpg. This was set to match the viewport and I made sure to hit shift-f when the image was loaded as it would not be distorted in window. Next is to set the view to perspective and in the utilities tap select the perspective match settings. Next is time to arrange the xyz vanishing lines in order to orientate the photo. This is where I felt I made the biggest mistake. I found it easy to orientate the vanishing lines where there were clear objects of reference but the environment of the forest and field proved more difficult.

Attempt at perspective matching
Attempt at perspective matching

 

Failed perspective match
Failed perspective match

As is evident I could get a general feel for the spacing but the model still seemed off. I tried to place the church into some urban environments which had easier points of reference and the result seemed slightly better.

Better result for perspective matching
Better result for perspective matching

Once I had a perspective I was satisfied with i created a physical camera from the perspective. The perspective was an issue but not the only issue I encountered when trying to add the environment. The process of adding shadows to the scene was also giving me problems. To do this a plane needs to be placed under the object. I then set the rendering environment to an environment/background switcher map containing the image. I then moved this into the slate editor as a instance so I can make adjustments to it. The first issue I got was not realising that I needed to set the map to screen and was encountering problems in the rendering window this was easily picked up and solved. I next need to create a daylight environment which would match the shadow projection in the photo. This took some trail and error but just involved changing the time of day and the north direction in order to find shadows which were similar to the rest of the photo. If I was to do this project again I would find an area which suits the environment of the church myself and take an appropriate image. This way i would also know the time and location of the photo which would make the lighting issue easier.

Setting the environment map in the environment settings
Setting the environment map in the environment settings

 

Creating an instance of the environment map in the slate editor
Creating an instance of the environment map in the slate editor
Adjusted shadows for scene on a plane
Adjusted shadows for scene on a plane

The problem now is that we have shadows which match the photo but the plane we created is still seen in the rendering window. We can use matte/shadow/reflection material in order to show the projected shadows but also make the plane transparent. In order to do this we need to connect the instance of the environment map to the matte/shadow/reflection material on the camera mapped background node. In the parameters for matte/shadow/reflection we need to make sure the reflect shadows option is ticked we then apply this material to our plane. This method did not work for me however and the plane would render in black showing there was an issue. I looked into this issue further and realised I set up the maps and materials in the slate editor wrong. I needed to have the two instances of the image map. One which had the mapping coordinates set to scene and the other to spherical. They would then connect to the environment map switcher on the background and environment/reflections nodes then connected to the matte/shadow/reflection material and applied to the object. This adjusted method did not work either however. In the end i did not find a solution to this issue after experimenting and the shadows could bot be added to the final rendering.

 

Slate editor failed method set up
Slate editor failed method set up

 

Adjusted set up
Adjusted set up

 

Failed result
Failed result

 

Another failed result
Another failed result

On reflection on the project as a whole I feel I could have done more but as an introductory project in 3DS max I feel I learned a lot by doing the project. The process of creating a historical object in this way proves to be a lot more difficult than was first realised. There is a lot I would change if  I was to do a project like this again with more time dedicated to textures. The textures turned out fine but I feel I should have researched some aged oak examples  as this is what the churches would have been made from. I would have liked to solve the issue with the perspective matching and will try in the future to find easier and more accurate ways to do it.

 

 

 

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