Wagon Plates – Step 3

Hello everybody!

In this post I describe you how I came up to a solution for the creation of the depth map of the rosettes.

As I explained in my previous post, all the attempts to get to a proper result that I made using Photoshop had been vain. Since I was not able to create a depth map by drawing it, I had to create it from a 3D model. This means that I had to model the flowers in 3D using Blender, a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software.

As I explained in a previous post, all the roses are identical, as they were embossed using a punch.  So at first I chose a well-preserved rose to use as a model for the 3D.

Rosetta.

Rosette.

I imported the photo as a background in Blender  and I used it as guideline in shaping petals. I created a curve by tracing the border of a petal, then I transformed it in a surface by revolving it of 180 degrees. I duplicate this primary shape for fifteen times, making sure that every single 3D petal reproduced the same characteristic of the original one in the picture.

Blender window. 3D petals in wireframe view.

Blender window. 3D petals in wireframe view.

Once all the petals were ready the majority of the work was done!

Then I created a half-sphere for the central button and a surface to lean my flower on. The final result was good enough to be compared with the real rosette.

3D rosette in Blender

3D rosette in Blender

The initial part was over. The next step was the creation of the depth map of the rosette. For this purpose I used the Blender Node Editor that allows me to render the object as “z map”, means a black and white image with information on the z position (height) of every point. The depth map of the rosette was ready!

Rosette. Depth map from 3D.

Rosette. Depth map from 3D.

The work was almost finished, but some details still needed to be modified. This was quite an important step in order to give my work the same aspect of the original plate. As you can see in the first image of this post, some of the petals in the upper part of the flower are less defined than the others. This characteristic is common in all the rosettes, and can be explained with a lower definition of the punch carving.

To modify the depth map I imported it in Photoshop. Working on new layers I blurred the surface of those petals, in order to gain a less defined shape. Then I slightly blurred the whole image to obtain a more gentle transition between the flat surface of the plates and the relief of rosette. This is the final result of my work.

Rosette. Final depth map modified with Photoshop.

Rosette. Final depth map modified with Photoshop.

The latter end of this work was to place the depth map of the rosette in the right position on the picture of the whole plate, modifying each time its rotation according with the original one. The next two pictures show you this process and the final result of my work.

Displacement of the depth map on the plate. Its rotation varies every time in accordance with the real relief.

Displacement of the depth map on the plate. Its rotation varies every time in accordance with the real relief.

Final depth map of the plate.

Final depth map of the plate.

The depth maps I created with the process that I have just shown to you will be used to create the normal maps of the decoration. They will cover the sideboards of the Etruscan wagon we are currently reconstructing.

That’s it, for the moment. I will be back soon to show you the further developments of my work!

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3 thoughts on “Wagon Plates – Step 3

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  3. Highly energetic post, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

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