Carillon Redux: Starting the Lantern

Profile curve
Profile curve of the base scroll, drawn in Adobe Illustrator.

Our carillon scene begins with a simple curve drawn in Adobe Illustrator, a profile of the scroll that adorns the base of the column. Often this kind of detail would be traced from a photograph or blueprint, but since neither exists for this specific detail, we’ll just eyeball it.

Once it’s imported into Maya, the curve can be lofted to create a three-dimensional form. Now we can scale it to its approximate size (about three feet tall) and start adding detail.

Lofted curve
The Illustrator curve, imported into Maya, is lofted to create a three-dimensional object.

The edges are extruded to form the lip of the carved scroll, and helix forms are modeled and attached to create the “hubs” on either end.

Adding detail to the scroll
Additional edges are added to the scroll shape, and the edges are extruded, as we begin to add detail.

So far we’ve been working on half of the scroll. To create the full shape, we mirror it – duplicate a symmetrical copy across the vertical axis and attach it to the original.

Mirrored scroll
The scroll object is mirrored across its central axis to create the entire shape.

Now the stone base can be extruded out from beneath the scroll and extended to create a base for the cylindrical column.

The complete column base.
The complete column base.

This summary skips many modeling cycles – slicing, adjusting, adding edges, tweaking, mirroring – that are used to fine tune the overall form. The scroll really does serve as the foundation of our model – it will set the standard for mesh density and quality. It’s worth spending the time needed to get it right.

A quick rendering will give you a better idea of how the model looks:

Carillon scroll render
Quick rendering of our work so far.

Here is another view of the scroll with the column modeled and in position. You can see how the floor plan allows us to put everything in the right place.

Scroll and column
The base scroll and column are moved into position, using the cutaway diagram of the lantern as a guide.

Here is the scene a little later, with the column attached to the base. The capital and upper scroll, modeled the same way as the lower scroll, have been added on top.

Exterior column
The exterior column is welded to the scroll base, and the capital and upper scroll are added.
Tracing the candlestick
An image of the candlestick, imported into Maya, is used as a guide to trace a profile curve (thin dark line).

The candlestick will be a separate object. To create it, we start a new Maya file and import a photograph of one of the candlesticks. Using it as a guide, we carefully trace the profile of the candlestick. The resulting curve is barely visible in this image – it’s the thin dark line outlining the right side of the candlestick. But it becomes more apparent when we rotate the view to an oblique angle.

Tracing the candlestick
The traced curve is clearly visible after rotating the view.

The curve is then selected and revolved – much like rotating a shape on a lathe – to form the three-dimensional body of the candlestick. After a few minor adjustments, it’s ready to be placed in the main scene.

Revolved candlestick
The curve is revolved to create the three-dimensional shape of the candlestick.

This view shows the model with the candlestick in place and the rectangular column added. We’re ready to start working on the bridging sections that will connect this slice of the lantern to its neighbors.

Completed column
The interior and exterior columns, and top and bottom scrolls are completed, and the candlestick is moved into place.