The first part covered the background and references.
This part will cover the actual CGI model building.
As is clear from even a casual glance, the main challenge was going to be making sense of all those struts. Doing them indiviually would not be practical so I had to understand the various repeating patterns and symmetrys in them. If you look through the structure at an angle, it can seem very complex:
But from other angles the patterns are a lot clearer
So once I had the basic shape in place, thanks to accurate dimensions of the overall structure kindly provided by the staff, I started counting the repeating elements, putting a rough version of that element in place, and checking it against photos. In some cases I might have to try two at a time, to check they intersected accurately.
And once I was happy I had nailed the symetry, I replaced the simple version with a more complex, accurate one.
Initially I thought I would be using clip maps / transparency maps for the finer cross struts, to keep the polygon counts under control. But fortunately Rhys Salcomb on Foundation 3d, convinced me to do it all with proper geometry.
The final lightwave model had over 1.2 million polygons.
Here are a few final Lightwave Renders:
Now I have something of a love hate relationship with that software. It’s superb at environments, but not very stable. The surfacing is horrible, and their DRM regularly has me swearing.
But if I wanted nice skies and trees, I needed to use it, so I managed to import the model into Vue, patch up the surfaces as best I could, and got some renders out.