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barnes2000

Creating Rock Walls

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I'm pretty sure Landmark was the best place to post this. I am a lighting programmer in Hollywood, working on the movie Land of the Lost. I use Vectorworks for all my light plotting. I typically get drawings from the art department(sometimes DWG files) and recreate the sets on my computer. Then I switch to Spotlight and plot the lights. I like to plot with Hybrid symbols, so as to have 3D renderings to show as well as the 2D plot. My biggest stumbling block on this show is that 99% of the sets are organic. There are no typical walls and doors...those are easy to draw in VW. These sets are rock walls, caves, large trees, etc. I have been unable to create these things in VW the way they in the blueprints from the art dept. There was one set that the art department created a 3D model of in Rhino and exported it to a file I could bring into VW. The only problem was the number of polygons in the model was huge, and slowed my system down. I'm looking for a way to create these things in VW properly. Can someone help guide me to the right tools to use for these things. I played with creating a Site Model, but I get a bit lost with that. Site Model is obviously for creating real environment terrain. I'm looking to create fake terrain. Any help would be great. Thank You.

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HI, Scott - Does the set involve walls made from lots of (foam?) rocks, or a few rocks applied to trompe L'oeil painted surfaces?

Your VW library has several textures with rock or pebble motif which can be applied to wall and cave objects to look like a rock surfaces. If you need more variation or more realism, you can create a new texture from any image of a rock wall. Note that the textures will not show up in unrendered display.

Many trees are available as 3d image props in your VW folder library/Objects x-Frog. These are usually photos of trees with the background masked out. The image props look like extruded "X"s in unrendered views, but render as realistic trees which cast shadows, receive light, etc. Place one on your drawing, dbl click it to edit scale and other options. Uncheck the Auto Rotate option to be able to change the display angle.

Post back with specific questions if you are having trouble modeling the caves and other shapes with NURBS, Lofts, Create Surface from Curves, etc.

A bunch of small site models placed together might also give you good results for organic shapes. But might be more difficult or time consuming. You do not have to model the whole stage in one site model. It all depends on your needs and drawing preferences.

-B

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Benson,

Texture maps, I have no problem with. To answer your question, yes, I am looking to create actual rock looking geometry. The sets are, in fact, sculpted out of massive styrofoam blocks. These blocks are glued together, some 40+ feet high by 200+ feet long, then some of the greatest sculptors turn them into cliffs and caves.

You mentioned multiple site models. I tried this, but I got frustrated with trying to make the models blend together without seeing the seem. Are there any tricks to doing this?

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I am probably not much help, but:

The terrain edge shapes need to be the same and coincident for a seamless placement. Would a transition element help? Maybe place a couple terrains side by side, and apply a big slab rock over the joint. Or drape the DTMs with the drape surface command?

Seems like if you could create a handful of rock like objects (lofts of angular contours?) you could use modified copies of them to create or modify a larger surface or element. rescale, elongate, split and nudge for cracks, rotate/twist, move forward or back, pull the surface points, etc. The separate elements never need to be added into one solid. I made a rock formation by lofting 3 angular contours (green lines) and then used the split tool to break it up and move around the bits. Some curves in the contours would probably make it better.

You can cut 2d sections for your construction and sculpting measurements.

Best luck on this.

-B

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Lofting is what I am doing now. It seems to be the quickest way. I'm just tracing the top and bottom curves from the plan view of the blueprints. Then setting the top curve at it's appropriate height. Then lofting the two curves together. Not very rocky looking, put an okay representation of the wall. Thanks.

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