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How To Model a Doric Column in Bryce 6

Author: Kraig Hausmann

Tools Needed

* Bryce 6 (preferred) or Bryce 5 or Bryce 5.5

Introduction

Using primitives and booleans, you can model a very realistic Doric column in Bryce. While created in Bryce 6, the column can easily be made in previous versions of Bryce, such as Bryce 5 or Bryce 5.5. Based upon architectural proportions from classical Rome, the column consists of a fully articulated base, tapered shaft, and capital. The tutorial provides step-by-step instructions, including exact measurements and locations for each primitive. The finished column can be easily moved about and resized to create architectural props for use in Bryce.

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Step 1 - Opening Bryce

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Open Bryce, so that you have a new document ready. By default, Bryce includes a ground plane and a basic sky preset in the scene. These are fine for now, so we'll leave them as they are.

We will be using several primitives. A primitive is a basic shape, such as: sphere, torus (ring), cylinder, square, pyramid, or cone. By default, the Create Palette will be open when you launch Bryce or open a new document in Bryce. The primitives included are spheres, tori (ring shapes), cylinders, cubes, pyramids, and cones.

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Step 2 - Create the Plinth

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To make the base of the column, we'll begin with a cube. Click on the cube in the Create Palette.

The cube appears in the view. Since we've just created it, the cube is red which indicates it is selected.

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Step 3 - Starting the Column Base

Now we will change the shape and location of the cube so that it will be correct for our Doric column. The Edit Palette allows you to resize, rotate, and reposition. However, since we need exact numbers, we will use the Attributes window so that the column has the exact proportions desired.

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Open the Attributes window by clicking on Objects Menu and then Attributes. You can also access the Attributes window by clicking on the 'A' next to the selected cube. The quick keyboard command for attributes is Ctrl + Alt + E. You can find keyboard versions for Bryce next to the same choice in the menus.

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In the Object Attributes window, you see the default values of the basic characteristics of the primitive.

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You can see the Object has a name and its boolean status. By default, the name of the object is 'Cube 1' because it is the first cube in our Bryce scene. Its boolean status is 'Neutral' by default. The boolean status determines how it interacts when grouped (boolean) with other objects. The attributes window also displays values for Origin, Position, Rotate, and Size. The Origin defines where the 'center' of the object is in three dimensional space (X, Y, Z Coordinates). The Position is the object's place in three dimensional space (X, Y, Z Coordinates). By default, the Origin of the object is its true center (more or less) and the values of Origin and Position are locked. That suits our purpose for now, so we'll leave it that way. The Rotate values show how the object is turned about in Bryce, sort of like the yaw, pitch, and roll for an aircraft. The Rotate values are in degrees. The last row of values are quantities for the size of the object. By default, cubes in Bryce are sized at 20.48 x 20.48 x 20.48.

Change the values in the Object Attributes window as illustrated for Cube 1. Press the checkmark to apply the new values and close the Object Attributes window.

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The cube now reflects the new attributes input into its Object Attributes window. It forms the plinth of the column base.

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Step 4 - The Column Base proceeds

In this step, we proceed with the rest of the column base.

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(A) Click on the Create Palette and click on the torus to create torus. Incidentally, the word 'torus' comes from the ancients and it happens to be the architectural term for this part of the base.

(B) The torus appears in the scene.

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(C) The torus is too big. We need to change the radius of its ring. To do so, click on the 'E' next to the torus to open the 'Edit Torus' window. The torus should already be selected and appear red. You can also press Ctrl + E to bring up the 'Edit Torus' window. The default value for the radius of a torus is 256.

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(D) Change the value to 115 which is what we need for our column base. Then, press the checkmark to apply the value and close the window. It's necessary to change the radius in 'Edit Torus' before the size is changed, because changing the radius also changes the size. If you change the radius after the size, then you will have to go back into the Object Attributes and input the size values again.

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E, F, and G Input the information in the last illustration for this step to complete the torus.

Step 5 - Lower Half of Column Base

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In this step, we begin the lower half of the scotia. That's a special curve used in an Attic base. First, make a cylinder and give it the following Object Attributes:

Second, make a torus and modify as shown in the illustrations below:

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Step 6 - Second Half of Column Base

In the sixth step, we learn how to select certain objects in the context menu and then create the first boolean in this tutorial. To finish the lower half of the base, we need to group it into a boolean shape. Ideally, we would want to wait until the primitives for the entire column are in place and then group into a boolean shape, so that we would have a single object. However, the spiral-like curvature of a 'scotia' is not possible unless we build the lower half of the base first and then the rest. Therefore, we need to create this part first.

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The tricky part is to select only the shapes that are needed for the boolean and not other objects, like the ground plane or the camera. We need to select Cube 1, Torus 1, Cylinder 1, and Torus 2, but not anything else. However, all of these objects are in front or behind another object. If we click on one object, we may end up selecting another one very close to it instead. Additionally, we need to select multiple objects. If have one object selected and then select another, the second object will now be selected by itself and no longer the first.

While Bryce supports the use of the selection box (or marquis), this too will not work well for us for this project, especially as we add more and more primitives. The more objects that are in the scene, the more difficult it is to finesse the selection box to choose exactly what is wanted.

TIP: You can right-click and hold down the CTRL (or CMD) key when selecting through multiple objects.

Therefore, we need to have a way to see all the possible choices for a given point and then have the ability to choose what we will. Additionally, we need to be able to keep a previous choice selected and add more specific primitives to the choice. We will use the context menu to see what choices we have and the Shift button to accumulate our selections, rather than only have the latest one.

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To do this on the PC, place the mouse cursor over the primitives. Right-click (press the right mouse button). A context menu will appear as below. Don't be concerned if your context menu doesn't have the same exact objects listed in the picture, because the exact place you click may not be the same.

The object named 'Torus 2' has a checkmark next to it because it was selected before the context menu was displayed. If we chose 'Select All, ' we would also get 'Plane 1' which should not be part of the boolean group. In the context menu, select one of the following shapes (Torus 1, Torus 2, Cube 1, Cylinder 1).

To add another primitive to the selection, bring up the context menu again (On the PC, right mouse click.) Then, press Shift and while holding shift down, select the next shape. Holding Shift down tells Bryce that you want to add another object to the selection and not simply change from the first object to the second. Repeat the procedure of using the context menu, holding down Shift, and selecting the next object until all four objects are in red (Torus 1, Torus 2, Cube 1, Cylinder 1). Make sure you do *not* have Plane 1 or the Camera selected. Press the 'G' box to group them all and thus form a boolean. Compare to the illustration below:

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If you have the above and only the above objects selected, press 'G' to group and then 'C' to convert. See the picture below:

Once you press 'C' to convert, an hourglass appears. Bryce 6 is now converting the boolean into a single shape which can also be exported from Bryce. If you don't have Bryce 6, don't worry. You can still create the column without converting it to a single mesh. Now compare an orthograde view of the primitives before being grouped and after being grouped into a boolean and then converted:

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If your grouped boolean doesn't look right, then some value along the way was not properly set. You will need to check the Object attributes. Be especially careful to make the object negative or positive as indicated.

Step 7 - Completing the Base

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In this step, we complete the base of the Doric column. This step like the rest of the tutorial builds upon the skills previously used, so some beginners may wish to review the previous steps, especially the use of Object Attributes and Context Menus for precision selection as the rest of the tutorial relies heavily on these.

To create the upper half of the scotia and the column base, three tori and a cylinder are used. The attributes for these will no longer be shown with a screenshot, but rather with text.

For ease and speed, only the attributes that vary from the default are shown, except for the names. So, if a particular primitive doesn't require rotation, no rotation values will be given. The names for your primitives should be the same as the names given, if you have followed the tutorial exactly. If additional shapes have been made or deleted and then remade, your numbering may be different.

Change each respective shape's values in the Object Attributes Window to match those given. For each torus, remember to edit the radius first ('E' or Ctrl-E) before changing the 'Object Attributes.'

Create Torus

Name: Torus 3

Radius: 50

Negative

Position: 0, 4.61, 0

Rotation: 90, 0, 0

S: 13.80, 13.80, 0.70

Create Cylinder

Name: Cylinder 2

Positive

Position: 0, 6.10, 0

S: 13, 3, 13

Create Torus

Name: Torus 4

Radius: 110

Positive

Position: 0, 5.85, 0

Rotation: 90, 0, 0

S: 14.40, 14.40, 1.50

Create Torus

N: Torus 5

Radius: 95

Negative

P: 0, 7.60, 0

R: 90

S: 14.15, 14.15, 1.33

Now select Torus 3, Cylinder 2, Torus 4, and Torus 5. Use the context menu and Shift on the PC to select only these shapes. Group them and, if they appear right, convert. Compare your work to the picture above:

Step 8 - Creating the Shaft and Capital

The shaft and capital of the completed column are created in this step. There will be many more primitives used before the final grouping and conversion in this step. As before, the values for each primitive will be given. Since this column will have a gently diminuted upper shaft, a cone is used. To create this shape, the cone will be quite longer in relationship to the whole column and then lopped off with a boolean group of a negative cylinder

Create Cylinder [This is the lower third of the shaft]

Name: Cylinder 3

Position: 0, 21.60, 0

Size: 11.50, 28, 11.50

Create Cone

N: Cone 1

Positive

Position: 0, 210.60, 0

S: 11.50, 350, 11.50

Create Cylinder [This is to eliminate the unwanted portion of the cone above the capital]

N: Cylinder 4

Negative

Position: 0, 242.20, 0

S: 20, 290.40, 20

Create Cylinder [This is the first part of the capital]

N: Cylinder 5

Positive

P: 0, 90.53, 0

S: 10.60, 1.20, 10.60

Create Torus

N: Torus 6

Radius: 80

Negative

P: 0, 90, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 11.50, 11.50, 0.90

Create Torus

N: Torus 7

Radius: 40

Positive

P: 0, 90.90, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 11, 11, 0.45

Create Cylinder

N: Cylinder 6

Positive

P: 0, 93.20, 0

S: 10.60, 0.60, 10.60

Create Torus

N: Torus 8

Radius: 40

Negative

P: 0, 92.95, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 11, 11, 0.45

Create Torus

N: Torus 9

Radius: 200

Positive

P: 0, 94.80, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 13.30, 13.30, 2.65

Create Cylinder

N: Cylinder 7

Positive

P: 0, 95.35, 0

S: 13.80, 1.10, 13.80

Create Cylinder

N: Cylinder 8

Positive

P: 0, 96.20, 0

S: 15.30, 0.80, 15.30

Create Torus

N: Torus 10

Radius: 50

Negative

P: 0, 95.80, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 16.10, 16.10, 0.80

Create Torus

N: Torus 11

Radius: 50

Positive

P: 0, 96.60, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 16.10, 16.10, 0.80

Create Cylinder 9

Positive

P: 0, 96.80, 0

S: 16.50, 0.40, 16.50

Create Cylinder

N: Cylinder 10

Positive

P: 0, 92, 0

S: 9.80, 1.80, 9.80

Create Cylinder [This is for two of the four adornments on the capital]

N: Cylinder 11

Positive

P: 0, 91.95, 0

R: 90, 0, 0

S: 1, 10.20, 1

Create Cylinder [This is for the other two of the four adornments on the capital]

N: Cylinder 12

Positive

P: 0, 91.95, 0

R: 90, 90, 0

S: 1, 10.20, 1

The following illustration shows the final primitives before the last boolean grouping:

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Now group together the newly created primitives: Tori 5 through 11 (7 tori total), Cylinders 3 through 12 (10 cylinders total), and Cone 1. If everything is in order, convert this group. Since there are 18 primitives, conversion may take a minute or two, especially on older systems. The third boolean grouping will have a tall, empty 'top' area. As you may have noticed, a box shape always enclosed the area of a converted boolean. This box area is always the size of all the primitives used before the grouping and conversion in Bryce 6.

The result will look like the following:

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Step 9 - Grouping the Column and Adding Material

To wrap things up, the three boolean groups, Group 1 (lower half of column base), Group 2 (upper half of column base), and Group 3 (shaft and capital), should be selected and grouped together to create the final, Doric column. Open the 'Object Attributes' for this group and rename the new group: Doric Column 1. The number '1' is used in the name as it may be desired to duplicate the column for architectural constructions. Bryce will automatically give a duplicate the next number in sequence.

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Apply a procedural texture to the Doric column. Make sure the Doric column is selected. Click on the 'M' next to the selected Doric column.

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In the Material Lab, you can choose and select procedural or textural materials to apply to your Bryce creations. The following pictures show how to go to the Stones – > Marble portion of the library to choose a pink marble procedural texture. Of course, you can apply any one you like.

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To return to the Bryce scene, click on the checkmark in the lower right, first to exit the Material Library, and then to exit the Material Lab. Go to File – > Render or Press Ctrl + R to render the Doric Column and viola':

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The Doric Column 1 can be saved to the objects preset library. Select the Create Palette and click the arrow just after 'Create.' In the Objects Library, choose the desired location of the new object, then click 'Add.' on the bottom. As always, click the checkmark in the lower right to exit and apply the new object.