The Dig: Film Project // Metal Plates

Another update on my other project, The Dig.

These are renders of two metal plates. Each one has a slightly different pattern or design, because… well, each one is meant to be different in theory. Likewise, the hidden messages inscribed on the surfaces each cover different topics.

The first has some sentences related to the story:

this shaft leads to an interior chamber / take this metal plate with you / activate the messenger to visit us on cocytus / set the four plates into the mound and all will take its natural form / what makes you fall is there after all / manufactured on cocytus

The second has some sentences related to the making of this film:

it is ironic how we use technology to make a film with a certain point about the power of technology and humanity / the texture maps for these plates were drawn and created in photoshop /death can take many forms / we all started this project in oregon /film class was good fun

All of the detail is in the bump map. Modeling it would probably look better, but it would kill me. How is this for photorealism?

Wow those are very very very good!

It’s coming near photorealism but it’s not. The texture on the ground isn’t enough big in resolution…it look a bit blurry.

The flare also is not photorealistic…but it’s grrreat since we all know the build-in flare effect of blender isn’t that great :wink:

Very very good work!

Q: What is this project? :S a short movie?

Well, if it gets completed in the first place (and that’s a maybe, since it takes a lot of work) … it’s probably going to end up being a long movie as opposed to a short one. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the comment on the floor and the lens flare. I hope to actually place the plates in their correct environments soon… a chasm. Do you think I should get rid of the lens flare altogether? …since there probably wouldn’t be one from a reflection like that…

It really depend on the environment…but I think I would get ride of the flare…but keep the halo so you got a bright relfection spot on the plate :wink:

They look nice, except that the texture on the plates isn’t ver metallic looking, rather plastic. You could try tuning up the Hard, I think, and perhaps setting the Specularity-colour…

I think the material is close to perfect, since I suppose it´s not meant to be high polished chrome. Maybe a slight env map with a high filter value would make it perfect. Would need something nice to reflect though.
I hope you will finish that movie man!

Looking very nice. I’d deffinitly say I like the second one more. The lighting and texturing are very good. Is your movie based on the book “The Dig”? If so, this is going to be a very cool movie.


This is one of my most favorite computer games ever. Pull it off and your my hero.

I think a big issue with conveying the right texture is lighting, and I don’t know if the lighting here is all that great. The big plasticy light reflection on the earlier renders (and this one) isn’t actually a specular reflection. It’s diffuse lighting. So, when you look at it that way, it doesn’t look metallic. The smaller highlights (more often green in earlier renders) are the specular ones. Anyway… reflections with EnvMaps didn’t turn out great just yet, so I’m stuck with showing you this.

Altered the material a bit. I think this might be worse, let me know what you think.

X-WARRIOR, thanks. I actually did the lens flare in post, so… I can’t leave the halo unless I make a lens flare in Blender. I’ll do that soon.

Jolly Gnome, hardness is at a very high level now, and spec color is green for a change. :slight_smile: You know, this reminds me… a lot of the materials involved with this scene are actually a sort of strange ceramic… I can copy the book’s description for you to read, but it got me thinking… perhaps metal isn’t the material I’m after.

Nico, exactly my point. :smiley: I do think a reflection would be awesome… need the environment first, though! I can’t wait.

Goo, thanks. Yes it is based on the book! As you probably realize, this means that we’re going to have to do some INSANE video compositing. Oh, I hope this film doesn’t kill me.

Lehtya_sac, it’s people like you who inspire me. Thanks for the incentive. :wink:

I like the original better :slight_smile:
But now I know the thing that makes the plates look plastic!
“…and there was much of rejoicing.”
It’s not the lighting, or the speculars or anything like that, it’s the bumpmap… damn Blender can’t do sharp edges on bumps so almost all bumpmapped objects end up looking like plastic (because of the round edges). Okay, I’m not entirely sure it’s unavoidable, maybe if you’d use a really freakishly huge image, maybe the bumps would look better…

I have achieved nice results by using pictures I took in the forest as reflection maps. If you want, I could send you some.

I used those on my rendering of Andy83´s sword model:

I don’t think a reflection map would make this better…I think it need to look more like an old metal plate that have gone throught all the years so now it look old you know…if it got a refl map then it would look newer and I don,t think it would fit the scene correctly :S

Jolly Gnome, unfortunately, the texture is already freakishly huge. It’s about 4000 pixels by 4000 pixels. About 5 MB JPEG. The photoshop file is roughly 60 MB. I could turn down the filtering so that the edges are sharper (and I have done this with the plates before, when working on them) and it does look nicer in some ways. The problem is, Blender can’t handle them entirely well, and we get these aliasing problems and little interference patterns because some of the lines are so close together.

X-WARRIOR, you have a good point. I think I agree with you.

Nico, that’s a neat sword. Thanks for the offer with the forest images, if I eventually want to add some reflections, I’ll ask if you can send me some of them.

this is incredible, I’d never found the right texture… maybe I should try something like this… anyway, wonderful work… what you do…

<idea> since this is a room, there is a square opening at the top, it shines the “god rays” down, giving a mist kind of effect… put dust into the air too… and have your shield like thing reflect the opening, and some torches on the walls…</idea>

well, I have no idea what your movie is all about… so please don’t take this too seriously, good model, there’s my input… I seriously doubt an image will make a propper reflection for this kind of scene… good work!


That’s a sweet looking sword there. All Blender? I’ve got a ways to go yet.

%| And this could be avoided by a filter value. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it´s NOT supposed to be chrome, but there´s something between high polish and matte.

Nico, if you meant a high filter value…

It is not wise to use a high filter value with an envmap, because the seams of the map are not blended together like the rest of the envmap. The 6 images that make up the reflection, while blurry, remain somewhat separate and distinguishable. I think.