The Sharif Won’t Like It

Rock the Casbah!

Rock the Casbah!

I decided to mess about a bit more with Voronoi textures. Mostly, I’ve been focusing on

Buildings on top of buildings…

Buildings on top of buildings…

naturalistic forms, but I did take a look at mechanical or architectural forms with Manhattan and Chebyshev(or Chessboard, as they’re labeled in planetGenesis) distance metrics. Putting a Tileable Worley through a very slightly ramped Range node and a Fractalize function resulted in an interestingly artificial yet chaotic texture that reminded me of a map I once saw of the Casbah district in, I believe, Algiers. Chaotic and mazelike with weird, narrow, dark, wandering alleyways that don’t lead to where you’re going, but(at least in some kind of fantasy game or story) provide lots of opportunities to find adventure or a knife in a dark alley. Or both!

Actually, my first thought upon seeing that was of a wall covered in bas relief alien genesis_wallhieroglyphics, but when I actually rendered it, it looked very much like some dry medieval overgrown city suitable for A Thousand an One Nights. I loaded the image up in Photoshop, converted to 8-bit RGB and placed a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer with a gradient in browns that came with the software.

The image proved very complicated for a Blender modifier. To make it work and not look awful, I had to max out a Subdivision modifier to 6 levels, then add a couple more in a separate modifier. It’s really, really bloody fortunate that I was using a Blender Internal render, because I’m pretty

Not terribly different from the first picture. Just a bit more rounded…

Not terribly different from the first picture. Just a bit less well rounded…

sure I would have died, skeletonized and gotten buried in the dust of ages before completing a Cycles render on my computer. I’m pretty sure Cycles doesn’t like my graphics card and does everything on the CPU! The first time I rendered it, I used a vertical plane to simulate a wall a’la Blood Sands of Lh’O’won, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was architecture and immediately re-rendered it as a flat horizontal plane. To simplify things, and also so that I didn’t end up with a round plane, I used a Simple subdivision surface rather than a nicely smoothed Catmull-Clark. I wasn’t paying close attention, so I added the last couple of subdivisions with the default Catmull-Clark smoothing. The effect, as shown in the picture at the top of the page, was much smoother and cleaner than the purely Simple subdivision, and the plane remained square as long as the Simple subd was at the top of the modifier stack. After a bit of experimentation, varying the layers of Simple vs. Catmull-Clark subdivisions, I felt I had a pretty good look.

I hope you enjoyed this little aside,
The Astrographer

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