James Kuffner  

Generating the Japanese "Torii" Gate Image

Japanese Torii Gate Final Image
Rendered with POVRay 3.5 

What is it?

This image was meant to represent a stylized Japanese "torii" gate in the Shinto tradition, such as the famous Miyajima Torii in Japan  (see photo at right).

I now use this rendering as the wallpaper for my Windows desktop.

        (click to download a 1400x1050 size image)

The famous Miyajima Torii gate
(click for larger image)

How was it created?

First, I sat down and did a rough sketch of the kind of scene I wanted to create.  Below is a scan of the original pencil test I drew: 

1) Initial Pencil Test Sketch  
(click for larger image)

Next, I started working on putting some of the main scene elements together.  Below is a snippet of the POVRay code I used to generate the water.  Just a simple plane with bump-mapping ultimately looked better than some of the more complicated water-generation methods I attempted:

// "torii.inc"
// Japanese Torri Gate generation and display macros
// James Kuffner, Jr.
// August 2002

#local waterTexture = texture {
  pigment { SeaGreen }
  finish { reflection .35 specular 1 }
  normal { ripples .35 turbulence .5 scale .35 }
plane { y, 0
  texture { waterTexture }

Some Intermediate Test Images

Here are a few intermediate rendered images I created along the way to debug and test different effects:

1) Initial Torii Model and Scene 
(click for larger image)

First, I started by creating a gate model using solid cylinders, rectangaloids, and CSG for the top part.  The background is a simple sky sphere with fog and a ground plane with a sinusoid bump map with noise for the water.

2) Preliminary Sunlight Reflection Test

I wanted to get some nice reflections on the water surface, so I lowered the camera and used a distant, strong light with photon mapping to simulate the sun.  I wasn't too happy with this result, so I invested a lot of time in trying to improve the appearance of the water and reflections during the next tests.

3) Isosurface Water Model Test 
(click for larger image)

This water test used a fairly complicated isosurface function derived from Christoph Hormann's Water Tunnel scene.  Despite hours of tweaking, I could not get the waves to look right.  

4) Height-field Image Map Water Test

This water test used a tileable height-field image map generated using multiple noisy sinusoid functions.  I liked the overall wave shape, but the surface texture didn't look right.  I tried using additional photon-mapping to get a better reflection, but ultimately abandoned this approach.   

5) Final Image
(click for larger image)

In the end, I decided just to go back to the very
simple bump-mapped water surface with direct
photon mapping for a bright reflection.  I added
a few more modifications to the scene details
and tweaked the lens-flare effect to finish it off.


More Art and CG Images...

1997 - 2009 © James Kuffner, Jr.