The ray-tracing assignment required that each student create a 3 dimensional image of a Southern Alberta landmark. I chose to do a Sherman tank on display in Calgary at the Museum of Regiments. The image of the actual tank is taken from the museum website.
It has been slightly over 60 years since the end of World War II, and many Canadians played a very important role in turning the tide for the Allies. It is very important to remember the sacrifices of so many sacrifices, and this was my motivation for choosing this subject (I also happen to like armoured vehicles a lot...).
Going into this project I had never created an 3D image using tools such as PovRay or Blender. To say the least, I was very much overwhelmed to begin with. I struggled to pick the 'right' tool to complete the assignment. After doing the tutorials for both PovRay and Blender, and spending copius amounts of time thinking about I was going to possibly model the tank. Finally, I settled on using Blender to create my image.
The first challenge that I faced in drawing the tank was how I was going to effectively create the wheels. To do this after some experimentation (and struggles with the strange interface...), I created a template which I spun. This created a single wheel, which was subsequently copied the required number of times. The grid layout in Blender was very helpful here once I figured out how to change facings.
Next came the creation of the body. First impressions were that this would be a piece of cake. After many hours and the creation of no less then 5 different tank bodies, I had one that I was mostly happy with. A strong reason why I struggled here was that I really didn't completely understand the interface of Blender and how it creates objects.
The turret was the next up to be created and this also proved to be very time-consuming. There are more curves and such in that turret... sigh. I am only partially happy with my final rendition of this part.
The tracks were another big head-ache, and in the end I chose the easy way out. I had found a website that demonstrated how to create realistic tank tracks. The only problem with this is that it required that each link be inserted individually... something that I just didn't have time to do, so the tracks are a compromise that still took awhile to complete (though by this point I'm starting to figure out how to work things - finally).
Here are the images that I generated. The first image is the (finished) tank without any background completed.
The second is my favourite image that I was able to generate.
And the final image is one that most closely represents an image from the Museum of Regiments website