Cable Renderer
February 13, 1998

Client: Designframe, Inc.

This software was written to assist in the generation of the GKD Product Models.

The GKD product line consists of metal meshes for architectural and industrial applications. The meshes are produced at widths of 26 feet to virtually any length. It was decided that 3d models and renderings be made of the product as alternative to photography because the client needed to show small sections of the product with a high degree of uniformity and finish.

Dozens of the product incorporate stainless steel woven stranded cable of different specifications, and it would have been prohibitive to model the strands of individually. Instead, texture mapping was used to give the illusion of hundreds of strands of cable.

To create the texture maps, John Balestrieri wrote a program to take the specifications for each stranded cable type required, build curves in memory representing each compound winding, and then ray-trace a depth image of the curves. The program also calculated the length the image needed to be to produce a perfect repeating tile. The depth images were then used as bump textures in the final 3d models and renderings.

Screen shot of the cable specification palette and profile preview window. The strand being edited is shown in red. The center cable strands will not be seen in the final rendering, and so were left out to speed the rendering process.

The texture map produced from the specifications shown above.

Finally, this is what the cable texture map looks like when applied to the 3d model.