Friday, 16 May 2014

Creating a virtual 19th century walkthrough of the Gothic Library, part two: The creation of the model

The story so far:

I have been assigned the task of creating a virtual model for a TV show about Victorian architects. This will involve using 3DSMax to add textures and show how light entered the building. But first, I have to actually create the model!

One of the problems is that the model needs to be be accurate. Fortunately, I have a point cloud (from a laser scanning device) of the gothic library (see my other blog about how I came into possession of this data), which I can use to create the model. However, a point cloud is computationally very expensive, so it takes a long time to create the model, but more importantly, I can't import the point cloud into 3DSMax as it can't support point clouds (yet!). Therefore, my first problem is finding a software program that I can use to help creating an accurate model of the library. since the point cloud is incomplete as well as not being supported in 3DSMax, I will have to use the point cloud as a guide, and build polygons manually in a program like AutoCAD. AutoCAD, being made by Autodesk, who also make 3DSMax, there is a lot of compatibility between the two programs. For a start, they can both work in either 2-D or 3-D shapes, although the way they are constructed varies (AutoCAD is used more for designing buildings and complex mechanical parts, 3DSMax focuses more on smaller scale models for game engines etc.).

Shaded and wireframe views of the gothic library so far... the walls will be textured (given colour, physical properties) etc. when the model is finished.

However, the time spent in AutoCAD limited how much time could be spent in 3DS Max, which is a factor because 3DS Max is very time-consuming. Furthermore it was decided only to focus on the construction of the windows, and then the point cloud would be used to take images of the rest of the interior. These images will form the basis of the textures which will be rendered inside the library. This differed from the original plan of digitising every element inside the gothic library using autoCAD as this would be even more time consuming(!), as well as cutting down on the time spent digitising. Once the main model was built out of the point cloud, the rest of the model could be created in 3DS Max, using the edit poly feature from the modifier list to add elements and features which had not been included in the model. this additional editing in 3DS MAx took a little while longer than expected but with practice, the speed of modelling starts to improve.

Next time: texturing and lighting!

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