Computer 3D Graphics

Having become interested in 3-dimensional computer graphics, in August 1998 I bought a somewhat outdated (1996) program, Bryce 2 TM by MetaCreations. (The price was right -- this program has been superceded by Bryce 3 TM -- and more recently by Bryce 4 TM.)

Bryce 2 TM convinced me that I enjoy creating computer graphics. It is an amazingly well-written program which is optimized for almost automatically creating landscapes, although many of them appear surrealistic. (To make "realistic" scenes with the program takes much more effort.)

Here are some of my first "creations." Graphic artists will recognize these as no big deal, but I think they are pretty (or technically interesting, in the case of the last three graphics).

© 1998 by Hal Miller

I call this one "Ice Harbor." (Back to Guestbook).

Creation of such a scene is easy: 1) create an ocean, a sky (this is the "default" sky), and a "terrain" (one mouse-click for each of these objects), 2) apply textures (colors) to them from the program library, 3) move the "camera" around to compose a nice view, and 4) start the program "rendering" the graphic.

Creating the scene could take as little as 10 minutes, and rendering should take 10 - 20 minutes for this rather simple scene (and a 100 MHz CPU).

(You should be warned that a complicated 3D scene could take weeks to create -- and "rendering" could take 12 hours or more, depending upon the complexity of the scene and the capability of the computer.)

© 1998 by Hal Miller

Valley of the Airplane Wings

These are merely the peaks of a brightly-textured "terrain."

Such graphics often just "happen" serendipitously while playing with the program.

(If you are an AOL member, and the red at the right of the graphic is very blurry, go to "My AOL" -- "Preferences" -- "www" -- "Web Graphics" -- and make sure "Use compressed graphics" is OFF. Also, under "Preferences" -- "graphics" -- set JPEG quality to 100 percent. Both of these changes increase download time, but improve the quality of images displayed on AOL.)

© 1998 by Hal Miller
Crashed Jupiter in Stereo

By moving the camera around a scene and taking multiple shots, you can create stereo pairs, or even animated scenes.

To view this stereo scene, stay around 18 inches away from the monitor. Let your eyes relax and stare way out at an imaginary "horizon." If you can, try to "move" the left image over to coincide with the right image.

When it is working, you will see three views -- the center view should be in three-dimensional stereo.

Sometimes it helps to put a vertical plane (like a cardboard) from your nose to the black band in the center of the stereo pair, to block the views from the "wrong" eyes. (In this case, you will only see one view.)

© 1998 by Hal Miller
Mirrors and Ball

This shows the ray-tracing capability of Bryce 2 TM. The mirror on the left is reflecting the image of the mirror on the right, which is reflecting the image of the ball.

© 1998 by Hal Miller
Refraction of Water

The graphic on the left has a wooden dowel angled across an "empty glass aquarium." The graphic on the right is a similar scene, but a cube of "water" has been placed into the aquarium. The apparent bending of the dowel is clearly shown.

Graphic Arts on AOL

For AOL members only: the AOL Graphic Arts Community features a gallery of computer graphics from a new artist each month in the Graphic Artists Spotlight.

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