Today’s post was inspired by an A to Z blogging challenge. I’m not taking the challenge but it did prompt me to have a go at a simple modelling project beginning with A.
And that, tradition has it, has to be an apple.
That suits me fine. An apple is a useful prop. It fits into just about any place and era, from a gleaming modern kitchen to a historic scene.
It also happened to be quite a straightforward project in Hexagon 2.5. Starting from a sphere primitive, I was able to scale and taper it into an apple shape. The top and bottom were sunk in a little, and a stalk added by extruding (or was it sweeping?) a face upwards.
UV mapping involved splitting the apple into two with seams, as well as mapping the stalk separately. I then was able to paint on a simple, graduated texture in GIMP. This went well enough for a first texturing project, though I admit if you zoom in on the finished project you can see the seams. I’m not sure if there would be a better way to split a spherical object.
I made the apple at a large size so my final step was to scale it against a figure in Studio and save it as a prop. Then I had some fun with it!
Eve ended up being the one to hold the apple quite by coincidence. She wears a dress I made myself and background props are by Merlin.
The shallow depth of field was a deliberate choice as I wanted this to be about the apple. I do wonder though if all those directional lines in the background are too distracting. Originally I had grass, but in the interest of rendering speed I changed that for something a little easier on the computer.
Even so, this was quite a slow render as I had to up the uberenvironment shading values to cope with the shade. Yes, I finally have some clue what I’m doing with the lighting sliders. It took a full 3 months before the various options made anything resembling sense. I’m sure there is still much to learn about this all-important aspect of rendering.
In the bench picture, I used the crate from Maclean’s absurdly-useful morphing primitives collection. The moment I saw it, I was already picturing it with apples in. It’s fun to bring that vision to life. All other elements in this scene are from Merlin’s Infinite Gardens, which is a collection I think will see a lot of use.
Of course, I could add more realism by rotating some of the apple copies, which would be an easy fix. Or still more by instead making multiple apple props, each with its own texture. But that second option would be a lot of work. It’s kind of handy to have a single prop that can be used multiple times.
I resisted the urge to add too much smoothing to the apple for the same reason. A lower polygon count gives the computer less to process when I decide I want a crate or barrel of apples.
It turned out that even something as simple as an apple took a considerable chunk of time to create, texture, scale, pose and then set in a scene and render. It was a fun project for learning my way around Hexagon, though. One that has made me appreciate even more the amount of work the established vendors put into each and every model.