The University of Lethbridge Library Sculpture

POVray Render by Austin Hnatiuk

CS3710 Spring 2008

For this project I decided to stick with POVray despite my initial concerns that it would be too difficult to learn. Looking at examples of other POVray renders looked quite complicated but I ended up being quite pleased with how easy it was to get started with the program.

Choosing a subject for the project just sort of fell into place. I was messing around with the program creating various objects and, initially, just out curiosity to see how diffcult it would be to create, I started recreating the masonry sculpture on the hill in the middle of the bus loop. I knew that the hardest part would be to create the curved cut-outs on the tall pillars. For that reason, I attempted to figure out how to make them first. It turned out that I over-estimated the challenge and before I knew it I had those sections created and so, at that point, I knew it was clear sailing from there.

The next steps involved building the various levels of the lower portion of the sculpture. I started off with having only one picture to go by and it only showed one side of the sculpture. Once I had that side created I got lazy and set things aside for awhile until I found the time to take a few more shots of the opposite side. I ended up being surprised to see how much the other side varied compared to the first side as I had assumed it was merely a reflection of the first side. (Actually the second side ended up being easier due to less levels/steps)

The picture I started with:


Additonal pictures taken:

Once the basics of the sculpture was finished I was now left to add a few details and I debated whether or not I would take things a big step further and begin modelling the entire bus loop. The idea was tempting but due to time constraints I knew such a big undertaking would have been inconceivable. Therefore, I stuck to focusing on the sculpture itself and added things like grass, a couple bushes where my pictures showed there were some, as well as a sky with a cloud effect and a bit of fog to blur the horizon. The grass and bushes were pre-rendered by someone else and I merely borrowed the code as that person had stated it was fine to do as long as the appropriate credit was given.

Furthermore, while seeing what I could do with lighting I decided that I would include a couple spotlights on either side of the sculpture to add a little more effect. In my opinion, it's the minor details that sometimes make a picture all the better and it was interesting to learn about creating such lighting effects.

Final result:

Of course, the entire project did not come without struggles. I think my initial struggles were mostly due not knowing how to use POVray and for that reason the majority of my time spent on the project was reading about and testing out the various commands. Also, as I got further into the project and as it was nearing completion I found that perfecting the work ended up taking as much time as it did to get the rough copy of the render completed. There is no question that the more detail you decide to add the more headaches that will arise. I think it's important to not get "in over your head" on this project if you expect to finish on time.