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Old 10-10-2011, 06:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The 'Crystal Palace'

Hi everyone,
I hope this is the correct forum to post this, since I'd like to share something.
When I came to SL, I had two RL backgrounds: texturing for 3D environments and reproductions of historical clothing (as in, historically accurate). So, naturally, when I found out what I could *do* in SL, I eventually came up with the idea of recreating a historical building.

Not just *any* building. No, it had to be something special. The Crystal Palace (adding a link here in case you have no idea what I'm talking about).

That was at the beginning of 2008; and while I had good texturing skills, my building skills were, well, more or less nonexistant.
Eventually however I learned. I learned building with prims and sculpting sculpties.
A few weeks ago my idea hit me again; particularly because I want to downsize my main store, which is currently almost a sim large, to, say, half a sim. That would mean that I would have to come up with a proper building, since right now, all the 'categories' I have created are hosted in several *buildings* on the land of my main store; and, as it is with nicely decorated buildings, they take up a helluva lotta prims.

So I started collecting pictures of the Crystal Palace, until I thought I had enough. Another problem I had that the original Crystal Palace was over 500 meters long, while a sim is only 256 meters long; so I basically recalculated all measurements to that percentage. In the end, I concluded, I wanted a 'sim sized' version of the Crystal Palace to become my main store. So what I did was to create a megaprim, half a sim large, and upload the floor plan of the original Crystal Palace as a texture and put that on the megaprim, so I had a base to build on.
And then I finally started building:



(Im case you can't read it: that arrow points to me standing next to the building; and I'm NOT a tiny! *lol*)

That thingie floating in the background is my building platform, by the way, which is 100 meters long.

I then created a relatively simple windows texture, which I derived from the original blueprints of the Crystal Palace, and, just so I could 'see what I was doing', used it on the walls (basically just so that I could 'count' the windows, since that is my only indication that I'm building at the correct size - this is not the final version of that windows texture):



Then I took a break from the walls (just because window counting was boring!) and created the first of the two large fountains; here's the original one:



And here's the (not-yet-perfect) reproduction in progress:



I then went back to building:



Now, I don't know if you can see it, but I made a mistake. I started to build on the far right side. To be able to "count my windows", I mostly used this photo of the original building:



Which (obviously) just shows a little more than half of the building; and the 'left' side, at that.
Silly me thought (and I really didn't notice that before!) that the building, seen from the large center cross section, must be symmetrical; so I build the 'right side' just like the 'left side' shown in this picture.

Oh how wrong I was.....



See that? So you have that large cross section in the center. Then there's the nave cross at the 'left' side. But wait! Where's that cross on the *right* side? Answer: It's not there, because the 'right' cross section basically ISN'T a cross section since it's missing the ton-shaped roof going over the center -.-

So, sighing, I basically deleted the entire right side of my building, and did that part again; PROPERLY, this time.

Currently the building looks like this:



(Outside and inside, in case that isn't obvious).


I know I still need to work on the textures (particularly the window textures and those of the flat roofs!); and also, the entire interior is still missing, so obviously, I still have to work on that too.
But I thought it would be nice to have a 'progress' thread to which I could post pictures, which would keep me going until I'm finished.

Speaking of which: I'd like to have this finished until next Saturday, when I'd like to lower it to the ground and make it my new main store :-)

Like it? Hate it? Have comments or constructive criticism? Don't hesitate to reply ;-)
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Old 10-10-2011, 08:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This would not be the first time this building had been created in SL. There was one in a region called Sterling Grove, which alas is no longer there.

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Old 10-10-2011, 09:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh, I know this isn't the first time someone is building the Crystal Palace (or parts of it) in SL; personally I know of at least two projects (and now, thanks to you, of a third). None of them exist any more though as far as I know.

I don't claim to be the first, last, best, worst, with the biggest and / or most accurate building ;-)
It's just.... *my* first Crystal Palace in SL; and I've been wanting to build it basically since the first week I came to SL; so forgive my excitement ;-)
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Today I've sculpted and textured the Crystal Fountain:


Here's the original, by the way:

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Are the textures on the walls all placeholders, or final?

That's some impressive prim work though, it looks massive.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The wall textures (aka window textures) are more or less placeholders. More or less because basically they're not bad. It's just that I made a 'one window texture' and repeated that one over and over; which, in the end, *does* look bad. So I'll redo it with, like, 8x2 windows (and an allover larger reflection over all of them), to lose that tiring 'repeated' look.
If you look at the roof, for example, that's where I basically used that technique (a large reflection over several 'grid pieces'; that looks less 'repeated'.
And thank you :-)
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is awesome. I love recreations like this.

And you usually do the best mostly correct historical things I've seen inworld.

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Old 10-11-2011, 05:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Another day of work is over, here are the results.

Today I've made the fountain (I posted that already) and have refined most of the textures (among them the already mentioned 'window' texture, with which I'm still not too happy).
Also, I now have a roof with transparency :-)

Furthermore, I've installed the clock:



Here's a pic of the original one:



I've also discovered that taking shadow pics isn't completely possible since the viewer won't render shadows that are half a sim away *lol*

See?



There are no shadows on the ground in the very back. The pic also shows some spots (black) that I still need to texture.

One last pic of the outside for today:



Slowly, slowly... but definitely getting there I guess.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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More Crystal Palace progress:



By now, I've lowered the thing to the ground (I figured I should do that before it gets too big, prim-wise!) and have started to put the items of my main store into it. After all, it's not just supposed to be a reproduction of a historical building, but also a store.

Also I've sculpted and textured the girders and columns.
2 columns = 1 prim; 1 girder (30m) = 1 prim. Particularly those girders are the sculpties from hell! *lol* - anyway, I've started to integrate those columns and girders into the structure as well.
Sculpted girders because, well, I could have done those with flat box prims and a transparent (aka 'alphaed') texture (and that would have been much simpler!) but since the roof is already covered in transparent textures, that would have resulted in some VERY horrible alpha flickering, so I went for the sculpted version.
Sculpted columns because I could have 2 columns in one that way. Also, there's a tiny 'ball' in blue steel and gold on the columns for each floor on the original columns that supported the Crystal Palace. That, too, I could sculpt into those columns (and you can see that in the pictures).

Two more pics:





The last two pics show *opposite* sides of the store, by the way - the first is mostly finished decorating, the second still needs it.

It's getting increasingly difficult to take shadow pics, because there are so many objects that cast shadows so basically my computer is smoking! *lol*

The water in the 'fountain ponds' is, by the way, real SL (ground) water, hence the reflections in the pictures (which by the way are unedited SL snapshots). And no, the pond's 'stone' surrounding is NOT sculpted. And no, you don't want to know how much work it took to 'jigsaw puzzle' the floor around it, which isn't sculpted either ;-)

Last edited by Naergilien Wunderlich; 10-13-2011 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That is just beautiful. The shadows and the real water make it even better, and I love that fountain.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:58 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Holy crap, that is astonishing.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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It's getting there, isn't it? Of course - the way it looks depends MUCH on the windlight and graphics settings.
Shadows make it look way more realistic, but, at least for me, on an almost four years old computer, it's almost impossible to *move* with shadows.

As for prim usage, I think (can't tell exactly; before 'lowering to the ground' it had about 350 prims; but that was before girders and columns...) the building (not the plants decoration etc. but with columns and girders) has about 450 prims now, which, considering that it's an entire sim long, isn't so very much. I could *never* have done that without megaprims and sculpting.

Currently I'm making some collagues of pictures of the original Crystal Palace; I'll have a corner with an 'information center' about the original building at the center nave where I want to exhibit those.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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oh wow! that is so pretty
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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That is, hands down, the most amazing SL structure I've ever seen. I'd like to have a LM to that store when you have an opportunity.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Oh you'd just need to look at my inworld profile, my main store is in my picks; the building is already in that place.
I have to warn everyone who goes there before Saturday (when I'll officially open that new building) - it *is* and *will be* (very!) messy until then (basically just what you'd expect if an existing store with a completely different layout is replaced with another building).
Don't expect it to be 'finished' before Saturday - and the fact that it looks 'nice' in my screenshots *now* is just because I've taken them from clever angles
(Also, if you go there - crank up the draw distance. At least 128 meters, and that's just if you stand at the very center; more if you want to move to left or right side of the building. Otherwise parts of the build will disappear. Yes it's huge ;-)
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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How lovely! ...such a beautiful building.. (:
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Buildings like that are a great reason to buy a new graphics card or computer - they deserve to be seen with shadows on.

Love it.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:47 AM   #18 (permalink)
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350 prims so far? That's IT?!

I've always liked your creations but this just blows my mind away and I can't wait to go and see it first hand!
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Any chance of selling a copy when you're done? This is beautiful work.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:17 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm difficult when it comes to copies of unique things. To me, there was one RL Crystal Palace (which was moved once, then burned down). I think in SL there should only be one of *my* Crystal Palaces too. I know SL is the world of infinite copies, but I'm *trying* to make at least a few unique things.

However... in case - heaven forbid! - I ever get the idea to build a different main store... that would be the point when I'd sell it. Once.

And yes, 350 prims so far for the 'base building'; of which a bit more than 140 go to the two fountains (I think each fountain *itself* has 12 or so prims, but...) *with* well surrounding *and* the surrounding floor pieces of the wells. In case you are curious, inspect that part of the building; particularly the floor closely around the well. That'll tell you where those prims went ;-)

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Old 10-14-2011, 07:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Today I only managed to do few stuff, particularly because I had the headache from hell. Anyway, here's what I did today:

Today I've sculpted, textured and installed the giant waterlilys, aka Victoria Regia, by the 2nd fountain.



Those DO have a historical background at the Crystal Palace, and they really exist; google them. Also, they're so big that people can STAND on some of the leaves, see



for a historical rendering FROM the Crystal Palace.

Of course, people can stand on SOME of my leaves too! (but be careful! Not every leaf will carry you!):



And here's what they look like from the bottom:



There are four of these waterlilys in that fountain; each has eight leaves, eight leaf stems and... three prims ;-)
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:25 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the link to this thread! Such a pleasure seeing you do a structural build. Your attention to detail is amazing. I'll have to pop over and see the work in progress.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:41 PM   #23 (permalink)
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That's astounding.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I think I'm finished!
Well, mostly. Personally I think a building like this is never really 'finished' - there's always room for improvement, changes, additions.
But for the moment...:









Feel free to visit, take pics, make movies, whatever you want to do! And don't forget to crank up the draw distance - you will need AT LEAST 128 meters to see the entire building if you're standing right at the center, and 256+meters if you're standing at either end of it!
Also, SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/ZoHa%20I...20E/168/115/21
Hope you enjoy it; thanks for staying with me during this week of building! :-)
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:54 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I took some pictures there, they are pretty, but not as pretty as yours. What windlight setting are you using?

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