Posted in Computer Graphics, Reluctant Landlord, Technology and Software

Brycian Worlds

Over the past few days I’ve been involved with Bryce 3D software again…

I’ve always loved the idea of creating and controlling my own world. It’s frustrating, though, when you have something on hand that looks good… it was rendering fine in the practice runs, but you make it even better by putting in a light here, a tree there, and vamp up the materials with reflections and transparency where needed… then you come up with a good lighting scheme with the right atmospherics, colours, and maybe a rainbow, or a handful of stars. The scene looks positively magical so that you start plotting to move in… and it takes forever to render!

It probably all slowed down when you increased the reflections and added a radial light (or two).

Perhaps it’s a message that you can’t just create a world of your own and explore it when the urge takes you… everything you do has a cost. The more glamour you add, the slower and more impossible it is. If you made everything ash-grey with no particular lighting effects, you could move in tonight.

But what I want to do is see how everything looks from every angle under every possible kind of lighting, using all materials and colour schemes! Instead, I sit watching the picture change, oh so slowly, from the last permutation to the new one. Further possibilities lie ahead — as yet unexplored, even though my mind already races ahead with them. Eventually I’ll get tired and find something else to do, forgetting about my plans for my new world.

My last two journal entries (edited!):


Can’t even remember the day of the week! Ohhhh.

Bryce can be frustrating — every time you try to do something perfectly straightforward, it never seems to work — and after lots of tinkering, you discover that you forgot a vital step, or the preview was just very slow refreshing and you couldn’t see your changes right away. And clicking on some bits is not very good, as they just wink at you, and the box of options you wanted flashes on and off — till finally it stabilizes. I think it sometimes has trouble deciding whether we’re in Bryce or on the desktop. And some things just never do what you expect, and there seems no reason for it.

But when it works, and when it looks good, it’s very nice.

I’m trying to put a light on inside my house, but I can’t tell yet whether or not it’s on! Perhaps that’s a good description of me. Someone’s home, but no light is on.

?? Tuesday? Not sure.

My ‘scaly tenants’ (very nice tenants!) are taking my house again… good news!

In Bryce I’m rendering a little house for Stargazer the dragon. Stargazer’s going to live in it (rent-free) when it’s fully rendered, as Mum told him all magic houses have more space inside than outside. I’m doing it at 1920 x 1200. When I went to bed, it was 33% of the way through anti-aliasing.

The next day (today) we went to town. At the time we went out, Stargazer’s house had reached 42%. “That’s ridiculous!” Mum cried, and I said I’ve been reading a lot about how slow Bryce is compared to other 3D software.

As I write this post (near bedtime), it has reached 55%. I think Stargazer’s losing the will to live.

Stargazer the dragon (small cuddly toy) sitting watching the laptop
Stargazer waits...



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

5 thoughts on “Brycian Worlds

  1. oh my! You are so clever and I feel a little lost with all this talk of dragons and light! :o) I’ll have to google it and see what it’s all about….Is it anything like that Second Life… I have a friend who was really into that but I was never sure of what it was all about. :o)

  2. Hi Daffy, great to see you. 🙂 If you want to experience it for yourself, you can get a free copy of Bryce 5.5 from CNET downloads (or direct from the DAZ site)… there’s one for Macs and another for PCs. (There’s also Bryce 6.1, but it’s not free at the moment).

    It’s not an interactive game, but you can make your own scenes (a seascape, or a mountain view, or whatever takes your fancy). There are tutorials on the internet (Robin Wood is a good place to look) but the best starting tutorial is probably the one in the Bryce help manual.

    What I most like about it, I guess, is that you can make your own materials and ‘skies’… or random ones, if you’re feeling lazy. 🙂 So you can render a mountain in your own material (rocky with grass on the top, or whatever) and feel that nobody else’s mountain will be quite the same. 🙂

    Stargazer’s house this morning has reached 88%… so it’s speeding up towards the end!

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