Tag Archive: Alaska


Two birch bark baskets which I worked up as practice 3D modeling for the canoe project – especially the lacing, which is difficult to model, at least for me. Birch bark baskets come in many forms and styles. Sometimes the reddish inner bark shows on the outside as in the basket on the left; sometimes it is inside. The pattern on the left basket was adopted from an old pattern that I found on the Internet.

3d rendered birch bark baskets

3D Rendering of Birch Bark Baskets

The current state of the birch bark canoe project. The hull is now “made of”birch bark, with the inner bark surface showing. I also added ribs, liner and thwarts (cross pieces). It still needs some tinkering, which I do in my spare time. See this space for future updates.

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Light from the sun setting reflected from water and melting sea ice just offshore from snowy coastal mountains.

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An orange sun is low on the horizon, last light at sunset, or the first light of sunrise, reflecting off snow-covered peaks. This image produced in Dogwaffle Howler’s 3D landscape renderer.

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Current progress: Roughing out of the hull sections has been completed. That was both much easier and quicker than I had anticipated. I need to do a bit of tweaking where the geometry is rough, primarily on prow and stern, both of which, as opposed to the rest of the hull, were somewhat more difficult shapes to model than expected. I also reworked the gunnels resulting in a much better fit. It would probably be more correct to refer to these as frame stringers. Almost identical parts will sit atop of them; these additional parts will be the gunnels.

Click on the image below for a full-size view.

Anyway; the hardest parts of the project, the basic frame and hull are complete. Everything else will be relatively easy, but time consuming. Joining the hull sections into a unified whole, and then thickening the surface so that “bump”, a 3D texture or roughness, can be assigned to it. While inner birch bark is fairly smooth, there is always natural variation in thickness and bumpiness resulting from the lenticels (slit-like pores).

A second instance of the hull will be necessary for the texture of the inside of the canoe. The last task will be to make the ribs, thwarts (cross pieces), and a few odds and ends.

Here’s a test render in DAZ Bryce to see what the model in its current state looks like in the wild. It floats!

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Next time: more tweaking of the geometry and birch bark and wood textures.

A Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) on a wintery, gray day

female snowy owl (bubo scandiacus)

A Female Snowy Owl

The Snowy Owl is endemic to the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. Males are almost pure white, while females, as in this image, have more dark flecks and bars in their plumage. The feathers of juveniles are heavily barred and may be primarily dark.

Snowy Owls are ground nesters. Unlike most owls which are most active at night, the Snowy Owl hunts during the day, especially during the summer. They subsist of rodents ad waterfowl; and will eat carrion when available.

Puppy Ray is a ray tracing filter included in recent versions of Project Dogwaffle. It can run in the graphics processing unit (GPU) of a computer. I have recently acquired a new machine which allows me to better utilize the GPU. Here are my first two experiments running Puppy Ray in the GPU.

The first is a night scene. I have a particular liking for such images perhaps because I have spent so much time living in northern latitudes where winter nights are so long. I also like the bluish cast common to snowy scenes and the contrast between dark and light. And the lack of illumination can make successfully putting together a pleasing image can be a challenge.

Then one when the sun is up, fjords. Water planes processed in Puppy Ray are semi-transparent, allowing for more realistic rendering; i.e. you can see down into the water. The refraction index of the water as well as wave height and frequency can also be fine-tuned.

Click on the image for a full-sized view.

Another new toy! Twisted Brush Tree Studio from Pixarra. More thanks to Philip Staiger at thebest3d.com for telling me about it. With Tree Studio you can quickly create 2D trees of several deciduous and conifer species.

A few trees made in Tree Studio added to the recently-posted image of a de Havilland Otter flying over snow-covered mountains gives it an entirely different look and feel. With a bit of work you would have a very nice forest at feet of the mountains. Tree Studio allows you to adjust the colors of the leaves as I have done here so that the birch trees can be in their autumn colors.

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For added realism a few of the png tree images generated by Tree Studio have been warped with another application.

Here is a screen shot of Tree Studio. The leaf color had been changed from the standard green to yellow. Tree Studios works with layers. A layer for the background, a layer for ground cover if, a layer for the trunk, a layer for the leaves. So that trees in the foreground will appear more realistic I suggest deleting the ground cover layer and adding another leaf layer behind the trunk as in this screen shot.

screenshot of Pixarra twisted brush tree studio

Twisted Brush Tree Studio

Further exploring Howler’s capabilities I rendered the very same landscape in Puppy Ray GPU as was shown in the last post, having been rendered in 3D Designer. Oh my! Taiga forest, I lived there.

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Here’s a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter (which you have seen before), operated by mythical Flying Moose Aviation of Talkeetna, Alaska, flying over a snow-covered mountain range. While Dogwaffle began as a 2D, raster-based paint program, Howler can model landscapes with multiple ray tracing utilities. This image, of stunning, almost photo-realistic quality, was rendered up in the 3D Designer utility. 3D Designer also has the ability to insert localized cloud formations of several types into your image. In this example you can see the leading edge of an approaching snowstorm just beyond the mountains.

outrunning an approaching blizzard

Running Ahead Of The Storm

Dogwaffle has an amazing array features – 2D, 3D, particles. There is also a large and growing number of video tutorials to help you figure out how to use them. Look here for more examples in the future including landscapes rendered with the Puppy Ray ray tracing utility.