The making of the image for the IRTC.

A young skateboarder is about to learn the importance of protective gear, the hard way. I bet he wishes he followed the advice on his board.

By Jeff M. Thomas
(This site is hastily thrown together with no polish whatsoever. It may improve some day, but probably not, I do internet work for a living so doing it on my spare time is not a high priority :-)

This is the image submitted to the IRTC. The statue in the fountain was going to be a showplace for my custom patch of POVRay (here), but the object I had created ended up taking 7 pixels an hour to render, so I had to drop it at the last minute and substituted the isosurface sphere. Oh well.

Of all the parts to this image the skateboard itself took the longest to model. I had never attempted to create a model of a real life object with CSG before so it was a challenge I enjoyed. Creating a macro to build the water sprays out of blobs was also fun.

Here is the submitted text doc Aiii.txt. It has some in depth comments on how the image was created and what the various parts are (isosurfaces, CSG, etc. etc.). I'm not going to re-hash it all here, but rather provide images of the various stages I went through with some commentary.
It all started with posing the boy in Poser. For some reason in the conversion from Poser to POVRay it got flipped from right to left.

This is the same boy model I used for Ahhh, Sunlight so I think of him as the same boy.
Now I needed a skateboard. At first I was going to just go grab a pre-made mesh, but my desire for originality overcame me and I determined to make my own with CSG. So I surfed the web researching skateboards and how much they've changed since I was a kid. As I mentioned in the submission text I found the "Don't Do It." and fireball wheel design while researching and just had to use them.

Getting the curves on the nose and tail of the board was quite tricky.
A close up of a wheel. I spent way too much time on the wheels, given how little their detail can be seen in the final image. It's made of 15 primitives.
Next I built up the stairs and railing around the boy and board. His pose and position were fiddled with throughout the rest of the construction.

The texture on the boys shirt is the same pigment map as that on the sphere used in the default scene template with the gradient pattern replaced by a granite one.

Yes, I did position the board to hide his dorky, un-skater like shoes.
Cities are always trying to find something interesting to do with cement in public places so things are still cheap to build, but don't look like industrial factories. Since I was going for that 'Generic City Public Place' look I too needed to find something interesting to do with cement. I settled on this 'raked' looking isosurface function I created.
I had planned foot lights for the stairs, but I needed something to light the boy too, so I created these 'modern' looking outdoor area lights of the type I've often seen around San Francisco. I added a more realistic texture to it later.
Time to start working on the background. Here I'm positioning the fountain and checking the layout of the CSG 'bricks'. The lines fanning out in the fountain are from 'negative' boxes that I used to carve out the blocks that make the fountain walls. They stick down slightly further than the negative cylinder that hollows out the fountain, so they carve grooves in it's floor.
Another top view, this one a light check. You can see the foot lights (slightly yellow in color) and the outdoor lights (slightly bluish) interacting.
All the parts starting to come together with a mish-mash of shadows, as you often find in public places where night lighting is almost an afterthought.
I wanted the fountain to cast light patterns on a statue in it's middle, so I needed to create appropriate surfaces and lights to cast such patterns. I went through many, many variations before settling on this: isosurface water with spotlights underneath shooting photons up towards the center.
It wouldn't be much of a fountain without water spraying somewhere, so I made a custom macro to produce these. It was harder than I expected, and probably the most fun I had while making this image.
Positioning the sprays. The statue was originally going to be a horse, surface distorted using my own POVRay patch. Unfortunately it was taking so long to render I had to drop it at the last minute. I don't think the isosurface sphere I substituted it with plays the photons from the fountain as well as I'd hoped.
An outdoor garbage can of the type so often seen in California public parks in and around the '80s.
A simple take out coffee cup. I wanted to add some stains to it but ran out of time
"My god... it's full of stars." Or at least a bunch of spheres of various sizes scattered around randomly in the background. It was tricky to get them to fade out as they got closer to the horizon.

Here's the original picture and the mask I made of it and it's use in the render. To use it I mapped it onto a tall, wide box located behind the fountain but in front of the stars with the index for Red set to transparent in the pigment.

Working on the macro for scattering leaves around. Essentially it shoots rays down from the sky and puts a randomized leaf where it hits, but it's less likely to put a leaf near the center of the stairway. Yes, the walls are missing but the grates over the foot lights aren't.
The image mapped onto the boys shirt. It's a rendering using the custom patch to POVRay that I made and was going to use on the horse statue. You can see more examples and find out what it does here.

Finally the last rendered image with the horse. I hated to cut it. Maybe if my optimization works on my POVRay patch I'll re-render this and post it.