C r i s p  P o i n t  L i g h t h o u s e
Modeled and rendered in trueSpace 5.1.
Isolated, Historic, Dramatic, Beautiful, Elusive, Peaceful, Haunting, Imperiled, all these words and more would describe this Lighthouse on Lake Superiors' south shore. 
I visited this wonderful place in August 2001. It was quiet, remote, and deserted. The solitary tower shone in the sun on a clear flawless morning. Later on, an impressive cloud formation would approach from the west across the vast freshwater expanse of Superior 
The storm passed by, but the structure remains threatened by the erosive power of the same waters that it has overlooked for almost 100 years. Restoration and preservation projects are making impressive and much needed improvements, but much more remains to be done. For more information, visit the official website.

Scene Description: I began by studying the photographs that I took during my visit and also the many more on the Crisp Point Historical Society website. The tower itself was drawn out in profile with the Curve Tool, then lathed. Next, the iron deck and railings were constructed. The grid snap tool was used for quick and easy placement of the individual bars on the railing. Next came the lens housing, glass, and roof structure. They began as octagonal primitives that were further swept and point edited. Windows and frames came next. I lined up the model with a photograph as a background plate to assist in the placement and size of the windows. Frames and glass were then constructed out of primitives and fitted into place. The actual construction of the tower is obviously a simple design; the greatest amount of time was spent on refining the initial curve before it was lathed. The Fresnel Lens began as a NURBS sphere; I used a photo I took at the Whitefish Point Light Station of one of their lenses as a background template. Two more NURBS spheres were used to 'round out' the middle and form the projecting lens. This was surfaced with  Caligari Phong and Tom Grimes' Iridescence. See the links below for this 'glass recipe'. A plane was Boolean intersected with a polygon-based copy of the lens object, and this was used to construct the brass frame that supports the glass lens.

The environment surrounding the model is simply two NURBS spheres and a background photo of a sunrise over the Lake. The spheres were surfaced with two different alpha-masked photos -one of sky and the other sandstone- each with high transmission values so that they were mostly transparent. The tower texture is a layered one, combining color, a solid clouds procedural, and a photo texture of stone blocks. The bump layer is a combination of a bump map, and two ShaderLab layers: brick displacement and 'Bumps on the Side'. The Reflectance channel is a mix of phong, matte, and alpha masked Caligari Phong shading. The red for the roof was sampled out of a photograph, then layered with the solid cloud procedural containing two similar shades of red, one slightly lighter and one darker. Each materials' specular color was also adjusted to match the tone and mood of the scene.

The lighting setup began with an Image Based Light, outside the two skydomes. The photograph that I took of the cloudwall was used for the lightmap. It lent the cool blue hues to the overall lighting. Next up was the spotlight, positioned in the top of the tower, projecting from the Fresnel Lens. The sharpness control ring was pulled in tight to fuzz out the outer edges of the cone of light. Shadowing and volumetrics were switched on, and color was adjusted. The actual color when the light was operational was red, so allow me a bit of artistic license. To add some fill and provide some additional glow around the top of the tower, a volumetric local light was also placed inside the lens. Shadowing was turned off so that the glow wouldn't be obscured by the roof, and the falloff was adjusted via the control cage. In the above image, I also used an area light in an unusual way. I first scaled it into a long thin strip, then positioned it vertically next to the tower. I set its intensity to a negative number, in order to cast the shadow on the left side of the tower. The falloff was adjusted numerically. This 'strip-light' method should have many other applications, including florescent and neon lighting. Here, it helped to round out the tower and also to deepen the shadows on the bricks and also the skydomes. 

All told, approximately 50 full renders were made of the two main points of view, and several more of the model composited over a photo taken on site. 
20829 faces, 21719 vertices, 1846 KB scene file. 

Crisp Point Historical Society--Visit the official site and help save this important symbol.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum -at Whitefish Point. Simply excellent.

Caligari Corporation- the makers of the trueSpace program.

Photos of the Light- Personal photos.

1024 X 768 hi-resolution version of the above image.
1024 X 768 hi-resolution version of the image in the Oct 2001 Caligari image contest.
1024 X 768 hi-resolution version of the model composited over a photo.
New!         Close-up view of the model.
Glass Recipe for the glass material used on the Fresnel lens.

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Next- A Fresnel Lens in 3D 

Questions, Comments, Requests for signed prints of any of the images on this page: spacekdet3d@hotmail.com

Short List of Lighthouse-related links

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