Everyday on my way to school, I drive through a coulee that
has an old homestead built into the side of the hill.
I felt that the old homestead and the coulees of Southern Alberta very appropriate for a project celebrating Alberta's 100th Anniversary.
The project was built in Blender (http://www.blender3d.org). I had never worked in Blender before and it has been an interesting experience learning the program. The greatest difficulty I faced was learning to use the Blender program itself. There are tutorials available and I did do a few. However most of what I did was trial and error ( ok.... many many errors at times). If you are not fully aware of how to select what you want a material attached to, you can find it attached to everything on the screen! There are a few "bugs" in the program as well. I lost work many times from the program freezing, then shutting itself down. I quickly learned that when I got the look I was looking for in an area, to save and start a new file version.
With blender you are working with a graphical interface. Everything is built using basic shapes that you resize and mould (utilizing the vector points) into what you want. My picture was built primarily using Mesh Shapes. Cubes for the buildings, cylinders and spheres for the rocks and bushes, and planes for the hills, pathways and water.
The two coulee sides were made with different planes. The grass hill was made going back and forth between front and side view and moving the vector points up and down. The rock coulee was a little harder to do. I eventually found that by selecting a string of vectors and rotating it I could get the rolled look I was looking for. The stream was made using a plane as well. I adjusted individual vector points to get the sense of rock under the water, then played with mapping Blenders built in Distorted Noise texture, and a mixture of colors and highlighting.
The buildings were quite basic to do. I selected cubes and adjusted them them to the size and and rotation I wanted. The one difficulty I ran into with the cabin was getting the roof to have a different texture than the sides. Blender is supposed to have the ability to "select" a side of the cube and add a separate material for it. However with the version I am using it would not work. I eventually cloned the first cube and set it slightly above the first and added a different material to it. The windows are smaller cubes set onto the side. The door is a plane. The half moon on the outhouse was created using a sphere and adjusting the points.
The rocks are two different types of spheres. The UVSphere and the Icosphere. I moved the vector lines randomly until I got a shape that I liked. Several of the rocks are copies of the original rock but rotated and placed at different depths in the hill.
The bushes were made from an Icoshpere, and again I moved the vector lines, to get a shape I liked. I adjusted scale on separate lines and again used the vector rotation technique that I had taught myself doing the coulee.
The two paths are two separate planes. I adjusted the width and added an image of path rock from a digital picture I have. I then played with the transparency values to get a different look.
The majority of my images for my textures came from digital pictures I have. Using PhotoShop, I cropped out the textures and colors. When I loaded them into Blender I played with the different texture settings to get the look I wanted. The Coulee is actually one small "picture" of rock that has been layered 6 times on both the x and the y axes. The bushes are actually a collage of different textured colors taken from 4 different pictures.
The grass for the hill did come directly from the Blender website ((http://blender.20fr.com/hills.html).