Re: Valinor scene in Blender

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Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:17 pm

suilad,

I have been working on creating a 3D image of the trees on Corollairë and the surrounding scenery.

It took me some time to get to know the tool .. it is a free (open source) program called Blender. You can apparently make beautiful things in it .. there are amazing pictures and even animations on the web .. you can also make animation movies with it.
But it is very complex.

So now, after a couple of failed attempts and random mountain ranges, I am working on a landscape backdrop based on a map of Aman that I found. It is the central part:



And I was hoping that if any of you have a comment or suggestion, I could learn from it and include it in the process.

I am in particular a bit puzzled by as how high Amon Uilos / Taniquetil should be. If I interpret the map of Aman right, the continent is not a whole lot smaller than Middle Earth, so that would render the portion included in the map above still quite a large area .. maybe many hundreds of miles across.
So - that would make the mountain in my image ridiculously high .. I mean, even compared to the fact that it *was* very high. But surely not in the order of - maybe - two hundred miles. That is just too much. But maybe it does not matter, or maybe I got the overall size of Aman wrong, or maybe, or, or ...

Anyhow, this is how the general shape is for now. It is still very crude, and a lot of the terrain is not made "naturally rough" and still in a smooth state. But I tried to put in the mountain ranges that I think I see in the map; as well as both the western and eastern coasts plus Tol Eresseä. The little dimple near the eastern coast is Túna. Corollairë is not yet in it.

My thoughts at this point are .. that the large mountain range including Taniquetil should be smaller; and maybe the other mountains a bit higher. But - open for suggestions ...

Below are: first a couple of wireframe views, then some "solid" views, and lastly, some renderings as it is now. No Trees yet, no background, no colour, no material, no stars, no atmosphere .. very basic.













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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Niennildi Oarnen » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:39 pm

Taniquetil is "ridiculously high." See JRRT's image of it here: index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=18

As you can see, the peak penetrates earth's atmosphere into outer space. The wiki on the earth's atmosphere describes, "The Kármán line, at 100 km (62 miles or 328,000 ft), is also frequently regarded as the boundary between atmosphere and outer space." You could try adding 500 feet to that, so the peak is 328, 500 feet. That seems like it would give a decent rendering of the scale indicated in the painting.

PS Awesome work. Looks like you're having fun here. This looks like much more fun computer play than fixing the "broken" board.
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:52 pm

Lúthien Athariel wrote:[...] I am in particular a bit puzzled by as how high Amon Uilos / Taniquetil should be. If I interpret the map of Aman right, the continent is not a whole lot smaller than Middle Earth, so that would render the portion included in the map above still quite a large area .. maybe many hundreds of miles across.
So - that would make the mountain in my image ridiculously high .. I mean, even compared to the fact that it *was* very high. But surely not in the order of - maybe - two hundred miles. That is just too much. But maybe it does not matter, or maybe I got the overall size of Aman wrong, or maybe, or, or ...
Most of the maps of Middle-earth are more 'schematic' than exact.  Though sometimes scales are applied to them, that is more to give a general feeling for what is described.

Nevertheless, Taniquetil was indeed massive.  It is supposed to be "freakishly huge".  Here is a discussion on the maximum size of mountains on Earth:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum ... .msg137431

The telling statement from a geologist here is,
There is no practical limit to the height of mountains on earth. The highest mountain is not Mount Everest. Mauna Kea in Hawaii is over 10,000 meters above it's base. That is how I would define a mountain. And no, water has nothing to do with it.
A more mathematical discussion is here (PDF link):

http://www.ias.ac.in/jarch/jaa/2/165-169.pdf

A statement from that is,
While we have shown that one cannot build mountains much higher than h1 by placing a homogeneous rock on a broad base, Dr. P. Young (personal communication) has shown that one can, in principle, build mountains of arbitrary height by making them steep enough.
That Taniquetil and it's surrounding peaks on the Pelori are very steep is hinted at here:
Now the Children of Ilúvatar are Elves and Men, the Firstborn and the Followers. And amid all the splendours of the World, its vast halls and spaces, and its wheeling fires, Ilúvatar chose a place for their habitation in the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the innumerable stars. And this habitation might seem a little thing to those who consider only the majesty of the Ainur, and not their terrible sharpness; as who should take the whole field of Arda for the foundation of a pillar and so raise it until the cone of its summit were more bitter than a needle...
Though this is a metaphor, it also hints at underlying reality, as metaphors ultimately do.

The Pelori in general were far more 'constructed' than natural (at several different times), so "building mountains of arbitrary height by making them steep enough" should not really be a problem.  It's something people could do if they had the technology to move such huge masses around.  (They'd probably use it for war, but that's another topic.)

///Dave

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:12 pm

This text from Morgoth's Ring (HoME volume X) shows a sort of ordinal height progression:
[...] since Melkor had returned to Middle-earth, and they could not yet overcome him, the Valar fortified their dwelling, and upon the shores of the Sea they raised the Pelori, the Mountains of Aman, highest upon earth.  And above all the mountains of the Pelori was that height which was called Taniquetil, upon whose summit Manwe set his throne. But behind the walls of the Pelori the Valar established their mansions and their domain in that region which is called Valinor...
///Dave

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:15 pm

Hannad Niennildi a Aikanar ...

ok, I had indeed forgotten that in that picture it penetrates in space.
But does that not contradict that there were sometimes gatherings in Manwë's halls, like at the time of the attack on the Trees by Morgoth and Ungoliant; and also, when Eärendil landed in Valinor? I mean, I suppose Eldar do need some air to breathe (and to sing with :) )

but maybe those were different places .. that only the throne of Manwë was at the summit, and the "halls" of which there is told, are at another place, lower, on the mountain.

So in that case, I suppose the size is high.


(on a more physical note) As for the maximum size of "natural" mountains, I think that they can not be arbitrarily high - at least not without any help :p . It has nothing to do with steepness, but with the strength of the stone out of which it is made. It also depends on the gravity .. so on a smaller planet, like Mars, where the force of gravity is a lot less, mountains can be a lot higher. Olympus Mons is a lot higher than mount Everest.

I read a very elegant thought experiment of this principle once by a dutch physicist: imagine you have a length of thread, or yarn .. that thin stuff you use to sew a button on your shirt with. How long can you make such a thread hanging down, before it breaks under its own weight? Here it is assumed that this tensile strength "before breaking" is about the same order of magnitude as the strength that rock has to "withstand pressure without crumbling" (of the same diameter, of course). It turns out that this is indeed the case.
He showed that this is in fact quite easy to understand. Just think of how much weight a thread like that can have before breaking. A hundred grams? Easily. Ten kilograms (two US gallons)? Surely not. One kilogram (a US quart)? That could be about right. Now, how much length of this thread do we have if we have a kilogram of it? A spool that contains 50o metres weights about 50 grams, so that would make about 10 kilometres .. and indeed, on Earth we do not see any mountains higher than about 10 kilometres.


But that does indeed not apply to Taniquetil .. and that drawing by Tolkien, funny, it never occurred to me that it reaches into space from that drawing .. possibly because of the scale of the ship on that drawing.

Good .. thank you :)
This is very helpful.
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:47 pm

Niennildi Oarnen wrote:
PS Awesome work. Looks like you're having fun here. This looks like much more fun computer play than fixing the "broken" board.
Le hannon :)

yes, it is more fun .. but it is also fun to fix things like the board .. as long as these annoying problems,  that you always encounter doing that and that just waste your time, do not take up 80% of the time which, unfortunately, seems to be some sort of law. It is even called the 80-20 rule, I think.
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:44 pm

added colour

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Niennildi Oarnen » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:08 pm

Oooooh...
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:30 am

Lúthien Athariel wrote: Hannad Niennildi a Aikanar ...

ok, I had indeed forgotten that in that picture it penetrates in space.
But does that not contradict that there were sometimes gatherings in Manwë's halls, like at the time of the attack on the Trees by Morgoth and Ungoliant; and also, when Eärendil landed in Valinor? I mean, I suppose Eldar do need some air to breathe (and to sing with :) )
I meant to reply to this part, but then I got sick.  I will reply now.

All of the meetings that I remember took place either in the Máhanaxar (just outside Valimar) or on the mountain's slopes.  There is of course this part in the Lay of Leithian:

[...] more silken-soft, more strange and fair
than sylphine maidens of the Air
whose wings in Varda's heavenly hall
in rhythmic movement beat and fall.

but that is speaking of Maiar.

Also, just to notate a related matter so that I don't forget it: I had the insight that the extreme whiteness of Taniquetil's summit is probably due to carbon dioxide ice[1], given it's height (and in the Ancient days, lack of sunlight).  Probably a mixture of water and carbon dioxide ices, like the south polar ice cap of Mars.

///Dave

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1: "Dry ice is white for the same reason that snow is white.  It is made of small crystals that have a different refractive index from the air or carbon dioxide vapor between them.  When light passes across an interface between two media with different refractive indices, some of it reflects off the interface, and some is transmitted at an angle.  Every transit causes a scattering of the light, so that eventually light falling the sample is returned in every direction.  This is basically a diffuse reflector.

It is possible that liquid CO2 cooled slowly will make nice clear crystals like water ice.  The conditions under which we usually make CO2 ice, such as cooling from the vapor or rapid expansion of the liquid, favor the production of very small crystals.   Subjecting water to similar conditions produces frost and fog, which are white." [link]

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:40 am

ha, thank you!
I can make the top of Taniquetil faintly luminous, so that it looks "whiter than white".
Did I mention that Blender is awesome? :p

on a differerent note .. I am happy that I only was there in fëa when i met Manwë and Varda in my first Valarin meditation, for that was absolutely on the top of Taniquetil ... (not that I would have made the climb so quick otherwise lol)
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:28 pm

this is with some added light on top of Taniquetil

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Niennildi Oarnen » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:35 pm

{I don't know how to spell the ooh that came out my mouth that time. My gutteral, with some chest-y sound thrown in...}

I like how the light on the mountain reflects back to the sky, too. It adds so much to the "realness". It seems as if now there is vapor in the atmosphere for the light to interact with, or something...
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:41 pm

:) :)

yes, that is mist ...

it is a very linear sort of mist though .. I have spent some time on making what is called "volumetric fog" which billows and curls like the real thing but that is very complex and I don't read manuals so well :p
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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:16 pm

I just wanted to mention something from the texts that will probbaly affect the way you choose to render the stars in the sky -- assuming that you want a realistic rather than an abstract rendering.  And that is:
[...] Moreover Túna beneath Taniquetil was set nigh to the girdle of Arda, and there the Great Sea was immeasurably wide, whereas ever northward the sundering seas grew narrower, as the wasteland of Araman and the coasts of Middle-earth drew together.
The "Girdle of Arda" mentioned is what we now call the equatorial regions.  See this entry.

It may seem strange to speak of an equator on a structure which is sometimes hinted to be a planar disk, but as Tolkien also said "Arda is our world, but at a different stage of imagination".  I am reminded of early maps of the world which look very different from the ones we know, like this one from Herodotus:


[link]

In any case, the reason I mention this is that you may wish you set the observer's location in something like Stellarium to no more than about 5 degrees North.  That way, you will get an accurate rendering of the equatorial night sky for a Taniquetil backdrop.

///Dave

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Re: Valinor scene in Blender

Post by Lúthien » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:23 pm

for now the stars are just random generated .. I may add some real constellations later though. But this is just a button "add stars" in Blender :p
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