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The Time Machine Page


All about Rick's Time machine models.

I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel. I grew up watching many movies and television shows about time travel. Fantastic Journey, The Time Tunnel, The Time Machine, Buckaroo Banzai, etc. When I first started building models from left over parts one of my first models was this 'updated for the 1970's" time machine. The model is shown here before it was painted. This last Christmas my parents bought me Ray Dream Designer (3.0) as a gift. For my first project I decided to recreate the time machine form George Pal's 1960's movie. I had just watched it on TNT the night before and though it would be fun. I dug out my laser disk and started grabbing frames so that I could study it in more detail. Out came my old Starlog Photo guidebooks and Starlog magazines. Well here is the finished image. It took me about a week to figure out how to use the program. I really like the hierarchical (sp) object arrangement. I also like the way objects are moved in 3-D space. I don't like the centering points in the middle of object which are just to easy to grab without even trying. Oh on the third day I found a new bug in the program. I was trying to put a surface map onto the time machine dish and as it turns out since all the points meet at that section of the object, it could not be done. The people at Ray Dream they said would be fixed in version 4. I now have Ray Dream Studio but have yet to load it on my machine. The time machine started out simple but the finished model was about 1.9mb on my disk. It has over 200 elements and more surface maps that I have fingers and toes.



I started out making the model by first creating a base with a beveled edge. This did not look very realistic when seen from as far away as I wanted it to be seen from so I ended up creating a base made up to several pieces with different colored wood surface maps so that the difference could be easily seen between the bottom and top layers.

Next I added the 'time engine' which on the original machine was bolted onto a flat piece of 'metal' and then onto the wooden base. To the sides of this I added the golden (at least for now) 'time pods' which in the final product were to look like metal grills with a red light inside. I ended up having to re create these in sections so that the surface maps of the grills did not cover the golden part of the railing. Next I added the gold rails that ran around the machine and started to work on the basic shape for the control console.

The control console proved to be bothersome so I instead added the 'time dish' and supporting hardware. The original time machine had several colored wires that ran from the area where the dish connects to the machine down to the 'time engine'. When I made then the correct size they simply became invisible (for the most part) in the final renders. I ended up making them thicker so that they could be seen.

It was about at this point that I found a new 'bug' in Ray Dream Designer. Evidently you should be able to apply a decal to almost any side of a shape. However the central point where all the lines come together in a circular shape (like a dish or a cylinder) will not accept decals in a 'reasonable way' and eventually I was forced to scrap my idea for a curved disk and adopt a flat time dish. I put a fake curved back on it but it is still not the same. The tech support people said that they would try and fix the problem in the next major version (4.0) which is out and I finally have. I have not yet had time to discover weather they did or did not fix this problem. Eventually I will check and see but for now the model has a flat disk. Also during this period of time I designed the chair. According to what I have read the chair was built on an antique barber chair which originally rotated. The frilly wooden base was added later. My chair is every bit as interesting as the original. I even made several bump maps to simulate the frilly bits. There are every rivets to hold the material in place. In this picture I had not yet completed the upper part of the arm rests which are visible in the next picture down of the entire machine.

Now it was back to the control console. This part of the machine had several lights that should appear to be glowing. However, as I discovered, Ray tracing is the only type of rendering engine this program has. Glowing things are right out the window. I ended up simulating the glow by using several lights which reflected off of the glass. Not very practical as it really slowed down the rendering time but it did look 'ok'. I wanted the machine to look authentic and I spent quite a bit of time drawing the brass plaques that is on the driver's side. The brass rivets also proved to be a problem so I ended up making a small cylinder which ran through the console and duplicated it and rotated it (and kept on repeating the process) until I had a ring of rivets around the console. They may look a bit large in this picture, but keep in mind that if they were smaller they would vanish completely at a normal viewing distance. In this picture the machine is as close to being finished as it ever got. Most of the lights were in place including the red one near the center of the dish. The red glowing grillwork on the 'time pods' was in place. The Chair was completely finished as well as the time console. I also spent some time drawing out the surface map which went on the front of the time console. I also added a bump map to the time dish to give the spots near the edges a raised look. I found out later that there are 365 sets of these bumps. One set of bumps for each day of the year, however I think my model has significantly less.

If you click on this picture it will download a 640x480 'larger' version of this picture. This final picture of the time machine was entered in the Ray Dream Designer art contest in August of 1995. The picture "My Time Machine" is ©1995 by Rick Hallock. Feel free to use in multi media projects, other 3-D art, but not as a promotional pic for BBS's. Can be included in CD-Rom collections, online services etc. This .JPG file is about 61k in size. I was really happy with the room I had built. My wife suggested several features to add including the miniature time machine on the back table. The books on the same table all have individual titles. They can be read in larger versions of this picture. You can click on the picture to the left to download a medium sized picture of my Tardis model. This picture was from one of my next projects in RDD. I decided that it would be nice to have a TARDIS model from the show Doctor Who. It took me about six hours to design this model and to create and place the decals. It is not quite perfect, but I rather like it. RDD version 3 had a few quirks when you tried and duplicate a primitive object with a surface map on it. Sometimes the surface map will not be attached to the newly copied object. Despite these problems, and the fact that objects can not give off light, the finished product was rather nice. you can e-mail me at virtvikki@attbi.com

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