Reference Nature

Something about the summer always makes me happy. Despite the heat, being outside is my favorite place to be. While I miss the sand and sun of the beach, being in the city for the last few years has given me the chance to find some nice places to enjoy my summer.

Clark Park, near my current apartment, is a great place to sit under a tree and enjoy a book or play some DS. Pennypack park, which I only first went to recently, was absolutely beautiful to walk through even when it was rainy. In fact, if you go there when it is a little dreary outside, the woods there really come alive. There were no people around, but deer, geese and other wildlife were plentiful. My girlfriend and I came across a group of four deer that let us get within ten yards before they spooked and ran off. It was fantastic!

Whenever I’m in nature like that, I look around for inspirations with my art. What’s great about nature is that it makes the most fantastic textures and reference material for 3D modeling and animation. Tree bark, grass, plant-life in general is all great to sample textures from. Piles of rocks and stones make for amazing bump and displacement maps. And if you can get some good photos of wildlife, you can be all set as far as texture reference for your next 3D project’s eyes, fur or feathers.

While I wasn’t close enough to the deer I saw to get any good texture shots, I was able to study the way they move. From their carefree grazing, to their cautious pause and stiffening of muscles when they heard us approaching, to their graceful and coordinated bound into the woods, it is hard not to appreciate the range of actions they had just displayed. Even though I won’t be working on any deer anytime soon, I certainly made sure to file it away in my 3D modeling and animation reference log for future use.