February 15, 2006
Scene: East Coulee Hoodoos near
Software: Blender (www.blender.org)
Since the hoodoos have some similarity in shape I created one, duplicated it and used a combination of scaling along global and local axis, vertex joins, vertex exclusion, and simply modeling by adding one vertex at a time. I chose to do the majority of the modeling by tracing my background image from multiple angles and then joining vertexes with triangular/rectangular faces. This gave my model a more “natural” look over using simply geometric shapes like cylinders and cubes.
Original Image Top View: Connecting lines with faces
Completed Subsurface levels applied
Hoodoo duplicated and modified
Since the modeling went fairly quickly I decided to spend a lot of time on texturing and extras. I used high quality images of dirt for the hoodoo texture and layered a noise texture on top of it to give it a bumpy look. I discovered how to do this in a tutorial on www.blender.org . The images had to be altered in PhotoShop so that the seams could not be seen.
The technique I used for creating realistic looking sky was to create a large half-sphere around the entire scene and textured it with a high quality image of sky. I also took the time to position a sun light source to get the shadowing to look the way I wanted it. I sort of cheated in this way because the sky image I used makes the sun look like it is pointed towards the viewpoint by the light source I used was pointing in the opposite direction to get the effect I wanted.
Creating a half-sphere to be used as sky
I also discovered that Blender has an easy way of creating “halos” which are most often associated with the reflection one gets off of a camera lens or eye glasses. This really added a realistic effect to my image.
Before halo was added