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Working in Bryce--the Creative Process

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  1. Working in Bryce--the Creative Process
  2. The Bryce User-Artist, Designer, Craftsperson
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From Chapter 2 of Real World Bryce 4 by By Susan Kitchens and Victor Gavenda

This article is provided courtesy of Peachpit Press.

Here we consider the three-dimensional world and the two-dimensional image of that world. However, instead of focusing on what is in the Bryce World or how the software works, or which button you click to get a certain result, we turn our attention to the creative process and what sorts of things happen to make art in Bryce. This is a bit of introduction to the work you do in Bryce. Most of the book focuses on matters of which button you click to get that result, but as we dish dirt on icons, menus, labs and techniques, the underlying artistic endeavor is never far from our minds.

Drawing or Painting or Photographing a Scenic Landscape...

Suppose for a moment that you were going to some scenic landscape spot with an easel and canvas or a drawing tablet, and pencils or brushes and paint. After trudging to some location carrying your equipment, you reach the spot that you'd like to draw or paint. You set down your easel, place the canvas or tablet against it, examine the landscape, and then begin to place your composition on the page. Drawing, measuring, calculating, line by line, shape by shape, surface by surface, you lay down on that canvas or paper your rendition of what you see there before you. (It's no surprise that the word for drawing, or putting down an impression, is "render," the term borrowed by 3D computer-graphic-ese that describes creating a color image so of your scene.) Or, instead, suppose that you are a photographer in that same landscape. Trudging with your camera, and perhaps, tripod, you arrive at a scenic spot. You compose the image in your view finder. Focus. Adjust exposure. Wait for the birds or the clouds to be just so, or for the light to be just right-and then, trip the shutter to make your picture. You'll have to develop the film and expose and develop a photographic print.

...and How Brycing Landscapes is Different and the Same

How do these processes of drawing, painting or photographing landscapes compare to the process of making scenic landscapes in Bryce? First, a major difference: when you shoot or paint the Grand Canyon, the place-the Grand Canyon-actually exists. In Bryce, you create the land formations; part of your work is to bring those places into existence. It's as if the Bryce artist is geologist-sculptor, shaping the 3D world. Second, a similarity: the canvas, the portion of film and the Bryce rendered image are all two-dimensional depictions of a three-dimensional environment.

Third, a similarity: the canvas and the rendered image area do not capture the landscape in its entirety but a certain rectangular portion of it. The Bryce image is actually a small excerpt of a two-dimensional projection of a three dimensional space. Fourth, a difference: in painting or in photography, you basically do not choose your lighting and your sky, or your weather. Those are things which you seek to capture-and do so quickly, before they change. In Bryce you do start with a generic atmosphere, lighting and weather, but the environment controls allow you to determine the time of day and to determine the cloud cover and other atmospheric phenomena.

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