A while back I was working on a project when a few people began to watch over my shoulder. They were asking me questions about what I was doing, how long things took and what kind of processes were involved in making the models etc, so I began to think about how I could show more of the processes they were so curious about. Project modelling breakdowns are very useful in highlighting some of the information behind how 3D models are constructed, an example of which can be found in the Çatalhöyük ‘Making of’ posts, but they don’t go far enough to express the amount of time, work and personal involvement creating CGI takes. I often listen to people discussing CGI as highly objective, when it is a very artistic and knowledge driven process complimented by algorithms and scientific models of how real world phenomena works. On the surface to many this can seem black and white, because it is only the end product that is seen, but once you immerse yourself into the almost unending possibilities and choices, using 3D software can become a very personal experience. Everyone has their own workflows, their own favoured tools, their own personal ways to set up shaders (which people spend years practicing and refining), their own way of solving problems, and the better you become, the more able you are to express yourself. When I see a fantastic example of CGI, I am blown away, not solely because of how it looks, but because I know how technically difficult it is to achieve.
Below is a cut down, sped up sequence showing a 4-5 hour period of work on The Witham Bowl model that will hopefully help to give a tiny snapshot into some of the decisions that go into creating CGI models and reinforce that they are products of the creator/archaeologist and not just a lifeless computer driven construct.