IRTC Watch: March-April 2006

by Mike Kost


The March-April IRTC round has wrapped up, and congratulations to the winners. For the "Music" topic, four of the six placing images as well as many other great entries were once again submitted with source files, and we're quite pleased with some of the techniques that these artists illustrated. This latest IRTC Watch article will look at Phil Brewer's "Cacophony", Sean Day's "Strings", and Glenn McCarter's "After The Jam" and some Povray tricks that were used in the images.

The Source

The SDL for each of the scenes discussed below was published on the IRTC website, and are easily downloadable.
Everyone who submits their SDL with their IRTC entry does a service to the rest of us by providing examples. Please remember to respect the creator's work by not abusing the SDL. Also note that not everyone uses Povray on the IRTC. Some scenes are created in MegaPov, while others use self-written renders and other modeling tools. MegaPov scenes will sometimes work in Povray with a little modification, though it may not look quite the same. And thus ends our standard disclaimer.



Phil Brewer produced this great image and it rightfully deserved a place at the top for this IRTC round. From this image, we want to highlight the tile floor. It was a simple construct put to great use. Each of the tiles is a super-ellipsoid with a square for grout. Great texturing took care of the rest. We extracted a segment of the tile and reproduced it below, showing the progression from super-ellipsoids to final tile. As always, the images are linked to the Povray file used to generate them.

Tiles Only
Super-ellipsoid Tiles
Tiles with Grout
Super-ellipsoid Tiles With Square Grout
Textured Tiles and Grout
Textured Tiles And Grout

This is a wonderful example of simple structures with great textures producing amazing results.


Strings Image

In Sean Day's latest entry, we took notice of the brushed metal look used for the tuning pegs. The results looked too good for procedural textures along, and, for once, we were right. Sean created macros to subtract lots of very thin tori from sections of the tuning pegs to give the physical shape of brushed metal. We extracted the tuning peg's CSG to illustrate the difference the tori make as shown below.

Original Object
Object With Torus Differences
Original Knob
Original Knob With Torus Differences

The difference is noticeable, but really comes alive when combined with a good metal texture.

Textured Original Object
Textured Object with Torus Differences
Textured Knob
Textured Knob with Torus Differences

This simple CSG technique is a great way to add life to brushed metal.

After The Jam

After The Jam Image

Although we're not going to dig into the Povray guts for this image, Glenn gets a hat-tip for how he represented the audio sounds from each of the instruments. We were quite convinced that the various instrument sound representations were a complex atmospheric media creation. It was pleasantly surprising to find out that the effects were all created using pigments. This is a good reminder that it does not take complexity to produce great results.

Closing Remarks

Once again, a great IRTC round!  Beyond those mentioned above, we got a real kick out of Marc Jacquier's "Sound Add-on", but, alas, no Povray files. You can see all the March-April entries at the viewing page. The May-June "Light and Fog" round has already closed (there'll be an IRTC Watch on that sooner or later), but the July-August "From Rubbage Bin To Junkyard" round is still active, so get rendering!

Thanks to Phil, Sean, Glenn, and all the other artists, who share their scene files for the rest of us to learn from!

Published: 07/25/06
Last Edited: 07/25/06
Copyright (C) 2006 Mike Kost