NOTE: These models were created in the early 2000s. My processes, software and
skill-set have since progressed. :) ~ Ray
As the model progressed, I would find it necessary to tweak and alter the walls and details of the mansion, in order to get everything to fit properly.
The roof was a particular challenge. The Haunted Mansion has a
confusing configuration of dormers, gables and a mansard roof, which I found very difficult to fit onto the shell of walls. There are still details of the roof that I don't understand, but since none of the renderings will feature close ups of the roof, it will do for now.
Since I had no detailed measurements, I had to build each element based on comparisons to the sizes of established elements. For instance...
a corner of the mansion may have thirteen cornerstones going up its spine, and the level of the front door is three cornerstones above ground level. So, to calculate the height of each of the seven steps leading to the front door, I had to divide the height of three cornerstones, by seven.
So let's just skip to the nearly completed Haunted Mansion model. I say, "nearly completed" because, to date, I've only completed the front facade of the mansion. I'm still building my own version of the rear of the house, and the grounds. I'll post the new models as soon as they're complete.
At this point, the mansion looks like a white, Foamcor model. The surfaces need to be assigned colors and texture maps (images of real materials and textures) . This version of the mansion needed a surprisingly small number of texture maps.
The final textured model is then imported into Lightwave's Layout, which is the stage used for camera set up, lighting, rendering, and animating the model.
I created two light sources for this rendering example. There is a primary light, which casts a ghostly, blue-gray, moonlight on the scene, and I created a weaker, violet, ambient light, which gives the shadows a little boost of light and color. I also put two light sources inside the porch lamps, but I turned them off for this scene.
I set up the camera at a dramatic angle and lens setting, and then...I render.
Detailed 3D objects take up a lot of computer processing power, and time, to render. The more objects you add (trees, shrubs, 3D fogs, etc.) the harder and longer the computer needs to calculate. For still images (not animated), I prefer to create those details, using Adobe Photoshop. It saves a lot of time, and allows for greater control of the elements. This rendering of the mansion took about 2 minutes. I rendered the mansion with an alpha channel mask. This creates a "cookie cutter" layer, which allows me to cut out, and separate the mansion from the black background. When I bring the rendering into Photoshop, the alpha channel makes it possible to replace the background with any image I desire, and it also allows me to isolate the mansion image on its own layer.
Now, using Photoshop, I can create an ominous sky behind the mansion, and the shadows of trees, on top of the mansi
on. I can also manipulate the colors, contrasts, and details of the mansion rendering. For instance, I created the glowing, candlelit window, by altering the color, brightness and contrast of the unlit rendered window.
Below, you can see a representation of some of the overlays I created in Photoshop. The actual Photoshop document has about 20 of these layers, each adding one more subtle detail to the image.
Once the illustration wa
s complete, I decided to show it off as a web site, complete with music, sounds, and simple gif. animations. It is the same image that I used for the front page of this site, but witho
ut all the text and logos. Click HERE to see it
. The response to the "animated mansion" was so great, I continued creating more and more illustrations, until finally, this site was born.
There will be more to come!
You can see the final version of this illustration on the front page of this site. The animated gifs., which give the scene its simple animated effects, were created in Adobe Photoshop CS, and constructed in Adobe ImageReady. The Flash movies are a combination of Flash MX and Photoshop images. The animations (when they are complete) will be created in Lightwave 8.0 by NewTek, and composited in Adobe After Effects .
Everything was created using a dual 2 GHz, Power Mac G5.
Click on CONTINUE, to see the process of refining the model.
Please email me if you have questions or comments.