Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mosaics Were the First Pixels

I recently reported on my seeming inability to make a halfway-decent building using the program Google SketchUp, and I just wanted to share the fact that I have, in fact, just succeeded in virtually sculpting a moderately admirable edifice. It’s not nearly as nice as I’d like, but - unlike in the crummy real world, where when I erect a shoddy building it usually collapses and kills dozens in a fiery imbroglio that is quite tedious to cover up - I can always go back and improve it later. It’s a pretty accurate (as far as the basic proportions go) model of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, and I finally buckled down this afternoon and slapped textures on all the surfaces. I’d originally planned to make a much more realistic simulation, with textures on every surface taken from high-resolution photographs, but I ended up copying some and reusing them in a slapdash and haphazard manner because otherwise the thing was clearly never going to get done. All the major mosaics on the inside, however, are properly placed and pretty sharp-looking.

Here’s what the thing looks like on the outside.
Here’s what my model looks like on the outside.
Here’s a view of the inside.Here’s a view from inside my model.
Not bad, huh? Of course, the vaulted ceilings of the real building don’t have “GREATBUILDINGS.COM” watermarked on them every three feet, but as I said above, this was a rush job just to get the thing textured before I fell into the unique and irrevocable despair which we all know is so disastrously common to thwarted master virtual architects. Now, with at least some progress to show for myself, I feel like a virtual weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

The reason I chose to finish this lil building this week, by the way, is that it seemed like a Christmas-y sort of activity, kind of like decorating a tree only far, far dorkier. My other seasonal activities so far have been to try to read Bede’s Ecclesiastical History in Old English and a recent obsession with keeping tabs on the gradual construction of the Christmas market in Dachau via a webcam. The charming village, that is, not the nearby concentration camp. You think your job’s tough? Just be glad you’re not head of the Dachau Tourist Board.

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