CPSC 3710
Ray Tracing Project

Mark Hunter
Spring 2010

What I Created:
For this project I decided to model the Gristmill from the Delia and Dawson Historical Museum in Delia, Alberta. I chose this landmark because I felt its basic shape was simple enough for me to model considering that I have no previous modelling experience, but knew it would still be very challenging when it came to the details of the building such as the actual windmill on top of the building and the pump system in the front of the building. I also wanted to create a model of something that had not been done on the website before and which had some significance to myself. My hometown is only 10 minutes away from this landmark and was my workplace for two summers during high school.The main purpose of the building in its time was to utilize the energy created from the windmill turning to rotate the mechanisms within to grind grain into flour and pump water from the well below.

Comparison Renders:

What I Used For This Project:
I decided to use Blender as I wanted to use one of the two free programs, and after a brief introduction to POV-Ray, decided that I would use Blender instead, as I felt it was a little more powerful and there were more resources online that I could use to utilize some of the more powerful features of the program. This was particularly useful as I found various helpful tools to use in modelling the Gristmill and make my project appear more realistic.

What Was Difficult?
The most difficult portions of my project to model were the pump on the front of the Gristmill, and the Windmill which resides on top of the building.  The pump was the most difficult as it has many smooth surfaces and curved bars that are not regular meshes in Blender. These sections of the project took the most time to complete and the complexity of the objects made trying to get all the little details that much more challenging. To be completely honest the most difficult part of this entire project is the fact that we were required to learn the software completely on our own. Although there are online resources, working and trying to problem solve the issues I encountered was made that much more difficult without being able to ask for suggestions from a professor.




In order to create the base of the pump I used a subsurface modifier in order to provide me with a much smoother surface and used a single sphere mesh, to which I extracted the points and scaled each section until I had the basic shape. I then used the built-in smooth modifier in Blender to give the object a more overall smooth texture. In order to create the handle of the pump it was necessary to use the Bezier Curve tools and join multiple curves together by manipulating the handles until the shape was approximately correct. This was the most difficult part of my model as it was extremely time consuming and I had never worked with Bezier curves before. Then, once the basic shape was created, I extracted the points to make the object 3D and added a slight bevel to the object to make it appear slightly rounded. I really enjoyed using Blender, but I found curved objects to be extremely difficult and frustrating. In order to create the connecting pieces of my pump I spent hours manipulating a Bezier curve and then attaching the curve modifier to a cube mesh, because I was consistently getting the incorrect type of bend, and could not get the bars parallel on the edges, but fortunately after trial and error I was able to get the curves to look the way I wanted.







In order to create the blades of my windmill I used a cube mesh and then scaled the bottom of the mesh so that it was slightly smaller than the top of the blade. I then used a deform modifier in order to give the cube a slight bend. I then copied this mesh and rotated it consecutive times in order to provide my object the proper circular ring of blades. The small rings are created by using two Bezier Circles and adding faces to every two points in the wireframe mode. I used this same strategy to create the circular wheel with the spokes on the back of the windmill. Then using cube meshes created the angled braces and connected everything to a cylinder mesh which I had extracted and manipulated points much like the process of my pump. The tail fin was also manipulated from a cube and then I combined all the elements together in order to make it appear connected.



Other Comments:
I spent a considerable amount of time creating each individual plank for the base of the building as well as the base of the windmill. I thought I would mention this in the website as it is slightly difficult to see each plank in the rendered photos due to the textures that I added.
The most time consuming portion of this project, besides the actual modelling of the building, was playing around with textures, lighting and camera positioning. I found trying to get the textures that I wanted to be very difficult in Blender. The process of adding a texture to the shapes consisted of multiple steps and getting the texture to look the way I wanted was rather difficult. In total I would say I spent over 100 hours on this project, but it could very well be more.

Conclusion and Lessons:
I feel that I have a greater understanding of just how difficult and time consuming modelling can be. Having no prior experience with any modelling software before this course, made it a particularly challenging project, but it is rather exciting to see the finished project. I feel I have done a great job in replicating the initial landmark considering my skill level.

Blender Video Tutorials: http://gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html
Grass Texture Tutorial: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=68269
Blender: blender.org

Final Renders (Large Versions):