Recent stuff (last ten years or so) has been pretty terrible. I've mainly been focusing on building my own raytracer, and, despite several starts, it hasn't really panned out for me yet. Only recent rendering worth mentioning is part of a potential project to generate a bunch of abstract animations to stuff together into a music video. The test animation is here on YouTube.
In the early 2000s, I was rather hugely into 3D art. I would dump loads and loads of bad renderings of ships into the IRC channel and forums for Blender and POV-Ray. Sadly, since I've taken to programming, there hasn't been much time or incentive to pick up the art again.
You'll find here galleries of the stuff that's actually somewhat presentable. It represents about a third of all the different projects I've started and thrown to the wayside. Clicking any of the images will link you to a full-sized rendering.
The Blender community used to have weekend challenges and things. One was themed ``Adventure''. At the time, I had a dry sense of humor and made a guy fishing on a boat. I used the same boat model in at least three other scenes, and the guy on board is very terrible looking close-up. So, I pulled the camera out, twisted it a bit, and made the scene more about the boat and the surroundings than the actual fishing.
At some point, I took two of the ships I'd already built and decided to build a little battle scene using Blender's particle system and some well-constructed lighting effects. The water was done with a normal map that I found online. It is rightly criticized for being too regular. The end result, though, was pretty cool.
From an artistic standpoint, one of the more interesting challenges I've taken was to model a ship completely in grayscale. The ship was eventually colorized and christened later. There was also a 3D fly-by animation of the ship, but I no longer have it, and it really wasn't impressive. You may recognize it from Battle above.
I really don't have anything to say about the next one. It was named after the ``loveliest of all immortals'', but I just thought the name was cool. This project was probably one of the last ships I modeled.
One of my first ships modeled was the Titanic. I was just getting into Les Miséerables at the time, and I very distinctly recall listening to ``Master of the House'' over and over for months trying to complete this stupid thing. It was also going to be used in an animation, but rendering times were prohibitively long. For one of the Blender weekend challenges, the theme was ``Contact''. I thought Titanic's contact with an iceberg was relevant, so I submitted this image. It's noteworthy that the blurring method employed here is actually made with JPEG artifacts. Yes. The crummy image quality is on purpose. (Nowadays, I'd just use Gimp, but I'm preserving this as a historical curiosity, not an example of fine image techniques).
In 2002, a television movie about Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition made its debut. Seeing the ship get crushed by ice in the previews, I made my father sit through it. It was awesome. I still have the movie on VHS somewhere. I recall submitting this image for the Internet Ray-Tracing Competiton. The April, 2002 theme was ``Winter'', so this was sort-of relevant. It was far from first place, but not quite last.
There isn't much to say about the Jupiter, either. The concept was to build yet another ship. This one, unsurprisingly, lacks a lot of detail but might have been the first to use a procedural normal map on the sails. Also, the rigging took forever to model since it doesn't use curves– it's all done with meshes. Once again, it's a historical curiosity: don't try this at home.
I was rather proud of this next one. It was made for the July-August 2002 IRTC round. Once again, it finished badly, but, then again, it was made in Blender (technically not a raytracer) and it didn't really fit the theme of Loneliness. It got mediocre reviewings. You may recognize the ship as an altered version of the black-and-white ship, and the battle scene.
This next one came out around the same time as Circe above. That was during a period when I was avoiding using standard resolutions for ships that obviously didn't fit a 4:3 aspect ratio. This one's name is ``Shannon'' after Claude Shannon, who had died a year previous to the model's construction.
Another of Blender's weekend challenges was Unexpected, and, like every other challenge, I found some way to sneak a ship into the scene. The ship itself was modeled previously. It was also used in the Battle above and several other projects. The background suffers from bad image mapping and the water below is pretty despicable. Also, all of the cars are the exact same model. This was done for speed, however.
Yet another weekend challenge was done on the topic Inside. One last time, I snuck a ship into the theme and rolled with it. The ship model itself was another that I had reused heavily at the time, but not in any other scenes worthy of display. Also, it was imported into Flight Simulator 2002. Very unfortunately, I don't still have the data files for that. This image is also notable for the several particle systems that make up the fire. The lighter smoke in the foreground doesn't actually neatly blend away in the 3D scene, it's passing through the sail. While this is terrible for an animation, or if the camera were placed different, the effect works for the scene.
I was playing with POV-Ray's built-in procedurally-generated stone textures and was thorougly impressed, so I built a little structure out of them. The ground texture was my first foray into image mapping. The ground image itself was extracted from a Half-Life WAD.
I was also into planes. More specifically, I was interested in World War I era planes. Despite calling the project ``Albatros'', it really looks more deformed Spad XIII. The ground texture is quite probably the same as the previous images. The wings are modelled in two pieces with an inordinate number of polygons so that I could quickly change the color patterns with solid colors. It's a shining example of bad modeling technique.
There was a famous, black-and-white illustration for the famous Bethlem Royal Hospital. I decided to give it a go in three dimensions.
This is one scene that was carefully modeled in POV-Ray with little more than CSG and a lot of patience. The shadows are of particular interest, because I had just, at that time, learned how to use area lights to soften the shadows. Needless to say, that added a lot to the rendering time.
This is another POV-Ray project that was carefully modeled with little but CSG and lots of caffeine. A ``Cornell Box'' is a standard scene for testing the radiosity of a ray-tracer. I concluded that that scene was boring (despite making several myself) and took the theme in a different direction. Someone criticized the feng shui of the scene, but I rather enjoyed how sparse it was.
In the background of this image is another 3D image I made with the above Titanic model and some particle stuff. It looks really bad close-up, so I didn't want to waste precious hosting space with it. The foreground is a pretty cool entry into Blender's Formula-One contest. Even the first free version of Blender allowed for these primitive halo-effects with spotlights. In the days before Blender had raytraced reflections, environment mapping was used to generate reflections: that's how the floor was made. The body of the ship used an HDRI fisheye image used as a reflection map. The sails are the same texture as they are in every other ship, but multiplied by a solid red color. Since my handle was/is ScottishPig, I threw on a Scottish flag. Needless to say, the image never won anything.
As a huge Team Fortress and Team Fortress Classic fan, I enjoyed the map 2Fort (2Fort5) immensely. Like everything else, at the time, that I really really liked, I made a 3D model of it. This is another hand-coded POV-Ray scene. I recall stirring up some feelings of nostalgia in the forums with it.
Like the Formula One scene above, this scene has some volumetric lighting. This, however, was done with POV-Ray's beautiful media scattering. At the time, I thought it was pretty nifty and also rendered a Quake logo in the same style. It, however, was even worse than this picture. The lettering was done in the Gimp. It wasn't made for any purpose.
As with a couple other of the POV-Ray images below, there were a few images that I saw on other sites and was curious if POV-Ray could achieve the same effects. This is a metallic effect made by lowering the amount of diffuse light reflected from the objects and eliminating any specularity. The plane is white with a few colored lights. The The area lights use a whole bunch of samples, so the scene took a long, long time to render.
There were a few renderings of this next one, but none are the ones I really wanted to display. There used to exist a raytracer called ``VirtuaLight''. It was alright, but the language didn't feature as many procedural effects as POV-Ray. It's actual light simulation was really cool. Its gallery had an image of a structure that was a little different and oddly reminiscent of the stone pavillion-thing that I have above. So, I threw something similar together in POV-Ray and meddled with it. If you look closely, the dome-supports form an X.
At least ninety percent of anyone who has ever touched a raytracer has made a chrome sphere on some checkerboard surface. It's tradition. I did it before I realized it was a tradition. I think it's instinct: the squares are deformed by the sphere. This image is notable for its specular reflection– there's no actual physical light source in the scene to be reflected, but the sphere actually looks like there might be.
I'm not entirely sure why, but I wrote a library in POV-Ray that allows piles of books to be randomly generated. So, I made some books.
The most important POV-Ray include file that I wrote was probably one that generated poseable vaguely-human mannequins. I was going to make some sort of webcomic with it, but never got around to it. This scene, though, captures the visual style: diffuse shadows and really phonged out people.
I made this one in Blender. It's a kind-of cool logo for a web-browser I wrote that I haven't really finished. The main website uses a version of this image with a golden stand for the globe and some wicked blur effect. This version makes the planet seem more important.
More shiny spheres. I wrote this as a single-line of POV-Ray code and was going to use it as a signature in the forums. I ultimately decided that it wasn't meaningful or representative of me in any way, so it became another curiosity.
That's all there for here. There are a few other ships that I modeled that aren't here and many of the renderings here are low-resolution. If you're really want the source for anything, or higher resolution renderings of something: don't be shy. Send me an e-mail at zesago[at]sdf[dot]org. Alternatively, you can go back to the main page.