C r i s p P o i n t L i g h t h o u s e
rendered in trueSpace 5.1.
Historic, Dramatic, Beautiful, Elusive, Peaceful, Haunting, Imperiled,
all these words and more would describe this Lighthouse on Lake Superiors'
this wonderful place in August 2001. It was quiet, remote, and deserted.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
21719 vertices, 1846 KB scene file.
Point Historical Society--Visit the official site and help save this
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum -at Whitefish Point. Simply excellent.
Corporation- the makers of the trueSpace program.
of the Light- Personal photos.
1024 X 768
version of the above image.
1024 X 768
version of the image in the Oct 2001 Caligari image contest.
1024 X 768
version of the model composited over a photo.
Close-up view of
Recipe for the glass material used on the Fresnel lens.
Fayette in 3D
A Fresnel Lens in 3D
Comments, Requests for signed prints of any of the images on this page:
List of Lighthouse-related links
to The Cabin main page.