Visiting Artist Series   Next Artist 

Ron Pfister created this Rumely Thresher in Strata StudioPro on a Mac G3.  Purely as a personal project, Ron built the thresher "the same way as it would be built in real life...from the frame up."  He painstakingly modeled each component and machine part, based on dozens of his own photographs of the real thresher at a railroad museum, and then assembled and textured them to recreate the full machine.

About The Artist:

Ron Pfister lives in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.  Ron describes himself as 95% self-taught in 3D graphics, and has practiced and read a number of books over the past two years.  You can see more of Ron's work on his web site www.imaginationmagic.com.

Behind The Scenes:

Near the start of the project, Ron decided on the perspective and camera angle he would use to render the thresher.  This way, he was able to build a detailed-looking model, without over-modeling parts that would not show up in the final product.

Ron added multiple layers of texture maps, creating oil stains and pitted metal areas.  Ron notes that "A mental history of the model is very important in order to get across the proper look and feel" and he tried to create textured dirt in places that would occur in a real machine.

"The background and foreground of the Rumely is made up of two separate photographs that were taken last year on the island of Maui.  They were composited in Photoshop using a layers mask.  After the photos were roughed together, [Ron] went back into StudioPro to readjust the lighting for the thresher so that it would match the lighting in the photos.  StudioPro's Shadow Catcher Module was used to create a channel that would later be used to align the shadows in the finished image.

"I think that blending a photorealistic image with real world photos was something new for me.  I'd always been a bit of a purest when it came to working in 3D.  After Rumely was finished I began to experiment with UFO spoofs which were composited in the same way."