Thursday, June 23, 2011

steam engine/pump Animation

Finally getting around to posting these two animations, although Flickr limits video uploads to 500M so they're in 10-sec or so increments...sorry about the fragmented presentation. These were done for a conference center/museum in Boston to show how these monsters worked; they haven't moved in many decades. The videos play continuously (with captions) on screens around the engines at 1280x1024 dpi - huge files that made working with a rendering farm in Texas necessary. These were fun and I learned a lot in the process. The second video is not completely uploaded yet, but should be by tomorrow - been dodging thunderstorms by shutting down the computer on and off for two days.

hope to see everyone soon at a lunch!


  1. That is INCREDIBLY IMPRESSIVE! I cannot begin to imagine the amount of work involved.

    What program did you do the modelling and assembly in?

    How do you go about tackling such a massive project? Did they give you blueprints and did you see it working?

  2. Ultimate Fandango!

    Christina's got all my pertinent questions covered, but I want to add that the water effect with the yellow markers 1/3 through is particularly amazing. I had to call it out, because a casual blogger might be daunted by all the tiny thumbnails and miss it.

    John, you never fail to amaze! Great post!

  3. Thanks guys - your checks are in the mail :) Christina, it's 3DStudio Max 11. Unfortunately it wasn't in the budget to get me up there for reference, so I had one of their staffers take a bunch of stills and some video. Nothing moves on the actual engines - they've been frozen in place for many years and the decision was made to show them working this way rather than try and free them up. I had an elevation drawing and plan view plus a couple of detail drawings and shots others had posted online, especially of the inside of the building which is gorgeous, but everything had to be "built" from scratch. I had some knowledge going in about how these things work but coordinating all the movements was interesting. Chuck - working with materials like the water is a lot of fun but can be frustrating; you can dial in all the parameters - transparency (color, radiosity etc), refraction, reflection, density and others, and when rendered as a still frame looks perfect. As soon as the point of view or camera angle changes it all goes out the window and you try something else. This is where the pros (David and T.O.M.)get it done and hackers like myself start to drink - heavily.

  4. That's not a lot to work from at all. I'm doubly amazed!

    Um, second check for me, thanks! :-)