Monday, October 16, 2006

Gyratory Tower Modelled in SketchUp

This model is based on Santiago Calatrava's famous 'Turning Torso' building in Malmö, Sweden. It was one of my attempts to see how far I could push SketchUp. SketchUp is often thought of as an 'orthogonal' modeller – I hope that the above model shows otherwise. Basically one floor was modelled, then 'twisted'. After some clean-up, the single storey was turned into a component, then a 3-storey unit was created, complete with structural spars, again as a component. Each 3-storey unit was then duplicated and rotated to create the final effect. The beauty of modelling as a component at each stage was that changes made at any level would 'filter up' to the rest of the model.

Here's an animation of the SketchUp model hosted at YouTube:

This is done using SketchUp's 'X-Ray' mode, so you can see more of the structure.

And here's an animation of a much more-accurate model. This one is a pretty accurate copy of Calatrava's Turning Torso.

Gyratory Tower Model Rendered in Cheetah3D

Here's the model rendered in Cheetah 3D – as close as possible to the original SketchUp model (see previous post) to allow for comparison between the effects obtained. This is another HDRI render, using the sky background from the SketchUp render as an HDRI to 'light' the scene. That's why the surfaces are picking up and subtly reflecting the colours from the sky.
I've deliberately left the Radiosity samples on this render low, because it gives a nice 'fractal noise' mottling effect to the structural surfaces – it lends it a bit of surface 'wear & tear'. However, I can't help feeling that there should be some sun reflections in the glass – I'll have to try and fake that.

Another quick animation to test out Cheetah's Spline Following and Target tags. The YouTube compression spoils the subtle effects of the HDRI shading, unfortunately.

Gyratory Tower Model Rendered in Cheetah3D-2

Here's a quick render of a much more-accurate model of Calatrava's Turning Torso rendered in Cheetah3D. This is a low-cost, highly-capable 3D app written by Martin Wengenmayer. It contains a great rendering engine and can produce HDRI and Radiosity renders very simply. It also takes full advantage of the twenty-four threads in my Mac Pro...