CPSC 3710 – Computer Graphics Assignment
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse
The object that I chose to model for this assignment was the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. The program that I used to model the lighthouse was Blender. The program's learning curve was quite steep, but after viewing a couple of tutorials and reading parts of Blender's manual online, I was able to begin to navigate the program. Here are a few photos of the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove:
Constructing the model was a very long, tedious process. Before attempting to model the lighthouse, I drew on a piece of paper some blueprints to follow. I analyzed the photos of the lighthouse and identified 11 main components
the main octagonal tower component
the room at the top containing the beacon
the light beacon itself
the roof of the room at the top
the ornamental piece at the top of the roof
eight cylindrical poles at the top of the tower
sixteen chains connecting the poles
the entrance room at the base of the tower
the plaque by the entrance
the windows on the tower and the top room
the peaks above the windows on the tower
Making the Model
I followed the outline in that exact order when modelling the lighthouse. The tower component was perhaps the easiest part of the project. I used a cylinder and changed the number of vertices down to 8 to form an octagonal shape. I created segments of horizontal vertices and scaled the bottom outward to form the slightly larger base, and scaled the top outward to form the top of the tower. I also created segments of vertical vertices to cut out faces on the tower where the windows go. I then extruded the tower to give it a proper thickness.
The room at the top was a similar process. It was a smaller octagonal shape and had windows on all 8 sides. I also extruded it to give it thickness.
Next was the light beacon. This was fairly difficult given that there weren't any close up images of it. I made it by going by what I could tell from the picture; it had a stand consisting of 3 pillars, a round top, and then the beacon itself was a red cylindrical lamp with a little base and a little top, both appeared to be a dark green.
The roof was fairly straightforward. It was another octagonal shape, with the top vertices scaled very small.
The ornamental piece on the roof was a bit tricky. I ended up making it a mini octagonal shape, scaled outward at the bottom, with a cone on the top of it, all topped with a tiny thin spike.
The eight cylindrical poles were pretty easy as well. I took extra care to make sure each duplicate was placed in the right spot on the top of the tower component.
The chains, however, were the first point in the project I ran into significant difficulty. I ended up using a torus shape, with less vertices to make it look more chain-like. I duplicated the torus, spun it 90 degrees on the x axis, and then stuck them together. I duplicated this new chain and stuck them together at an angle, until I had the desired bent shape and length. This was a very long process and I couldn't find anything online to help me.
The entrance at the base of the tower was also difficult. I made sure the roof piece of the entrance was longer and wider than the actual walls. After I got the shape made, I had to stitch the entrance room to the side of the tower to cover the gap between the side of the tower and the side of the entrance. I also had to make a door and a door handle. This all took much longer than I expected.
The plaque by the entrance was just a scaled down cube. Nothing particularly difficult about making that, especially given the experience I had earned making the other components of the lighthouse before this.
The windows were perhaps the hardest part of the project. The only other step that came close was the chains. Nothing I could find online was any help with how to make a window texture. I ended up figuring it out by fooling around with the “Transparency”, “Mirror”, and “Emit” settings under “Material”. Even then, some of the windows often wouldn't work, as if the texture didn't apply. This process took several hours to work through and was the most tedious part of the assignment.
Finally, the peaks above the windows were just formed by combining two scaled cubes, and they had to be placed in a very particular manner above each of the six windows on the side of the tower.
Fine Tuning the Model
After the basic shape was formed, I had to apply textures to the model. This was very difficult to figure out. Surprisingly, I had a terrible time trying to get the colours on the lighthouse just right. The door handle and plaque's colours were the only textures that were easy to get right. The tower wouldn't go a bright enough white for some reason. I ended up using a texture from the side of the first photo of the tower to use as a texture, and then I had to increase the “Emit” under “Materials”.
Next I had to make a surface for the lighthouse to sit on. The surface the actual lighthouse sits on is quite complex, so rather I opted to used a flat plane as the ground. I mapped a picture of pebbles onto the surface of the plane to give the ground a more Maritime look.
Lastly, I needed to set the lighting and camera just right. For the lighting, I used the “Sun” option and allowed it to give a “Classic Sky” background.
I'm very impressed with how the final product looks. In total, the project took around 25 hours of work. I tried to mimic the angles of the photos I used to base the model on when I created these images:
I used the official Blender manual:
I also used this tutorial on Youtube to get an idea of the basics:
The following are the sources of the photos of the lighthouse:
And lastly, this is the pebble texture I used for the ground: