I have been involved in art for as long as I can remember. I always felt that I was observant, especially after I was introduced to photography many years ago. Recently, my husband and I went to one of our favorite places, The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Oklahoma. It is there that buffalo have the right of way over humans and vehicles. It is also very beautiful. I have photographed it before and used these photographs to produce 2D artwork.
I felt that I was very familiar with the rocks, trees, and vegetation. However, I had never looked at it from the perspective of one wanting to create 3D art, with programs such as Vue 5 Infinite, Carrara 5 Pro, or GeoControl. If someone had asked me about rock formations, the trees among the rocks, the basic color of the rocks, and the color and texture of the water in the canyons, I would have given a quick and definitive answer. I would have also been at least ninety-five percent wrong. On this trip, I began to look at the scenery in an entirely different manner. I began to look at:
I took a lot of pictures, but I took them as reference material for constructing 3D landscapes. As I looked at various landscapes, and different ideas went through my mind, I mentally inventoried the programs I knew, to see which one would work the best to accomplish a certain visual idea. All the programs I use and like, have different strengths and capabilities. Matching them to concepts, I find, is key to a successful creation.
The following are some of the "surprises" I found, when I really started to look:
1- Similar-sized trees of the same variety, and in the same location, will have totally different root structures. Now I know this to be a fact, but I always felt that there should be some roots showing. The tree pictured on the right, below, from some views did not evidence any roots at all. Thus, I felt much better about using some of the "rootless" trees in the various programs.
2 - When I think of mountains, I do not appreciate that rocks will go in one direction on one level, and a different direction on another level. I think of changes in color or foliage, but not in rock structure.
3 - I also looked at how trees could grow on a mountain with very little soil, and at a distance look as if they are growing from the rocks. Look at the image below, and the green arrow in the image above.
4 - Along the same line as the images, is the next one which shows the construction of boulders with a tree growing between the many rocks.
5 - Lastly, I studied lakes, and how from different angles the water looks so very different. I looked at how smooth it can be in spots, and also how rough. These spots are also not always a uniform shape. I considered which programs I could use to capture these variations.
I also looked at how the water's highlights would appear photographically, to see if they would give me more hints to create them either before hand, or in post-work.
I am sharing this experience, because I was amazed at how differently I looked at my surroundings when it was from the perspective of 3D, as opposed to 2D work.
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The Paula Sanders Report
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