graphic arts, the genesis of a project.
August 1998 I undertook this project, that devoted me for about three
months, Although the album had arrived to the end of the production, at
that time no distributor was here yet, so we did not know when it would
come out. Nevertheless I did my best to realize the cover as if were a
At first the scene was conceived in a different way: a guitar inside a
cage, in the middle of a science fiction laboratory. Both the former and
the latter should look older, out of context and in an alien and metallic
environment as the one in the laboratory.
After the realization of some sketches in plan and in section of the laboratory,
I was about to do the first preliminary test, but I soon realized that
that kind of environment was not suitable for the cover of a CD; besides,
I could not "feel" emotionally the scene, which made the creative
process difficult; another kind of stage was necessary, maybe with a vertical
development without volumetric limits upwards and downwards. Some time
ago I was to try a personal achievement, that had as protagonist an alien
temple whose peculiarities were very similar to the ones of the film Alien;
in fact I had the intention to draw inspiration from the bio-mechanics
themes, characteristic of the graphic designer H.R.
Then I thought that it would be the ideal approach for "The
Cage", and I saw before my eyes the achieved project;
maybe this is the first time that the final result is the perfect materialization
of the original idea.
I began to jot down the first sketches that allowed me to start the modelling
of the scene. Obviously LightWave
was the right candidate.
In parallel I had to define the material that made the whole scene characteristic:
I needed to get a metallic look of the surface without using reflecting
materials, almost by accident I managed to do at once what I wanted.
I realized all the patterns for the mapping using Personal Paint 7 by
Cloanto on Amiga; for the hall arches of the tunnel I used as reference
the scanning of hand-made drawing, which I used for the modelling too.
As the project developed, I realized that I needed some effects which
I could realize in the volumetric rendering engine of LightWave 5.5: making
the same things in a different way would have made me waste my time and
the result wouldn't have been the same. Moreover, I had to consider to
deal with the high number of polygons that the scene could reach, besides
the great number of calculation to render the surfaces treated with fractal
textures, and with thick patterns for the for the bump mapping that took
the whole sight.
A t the beginning I decided to set the scene with the help of Amiga 4000,
making tempts on limited areas, and after proceding with more complete
tests on PC 133 of my office, but even in this way the success of the
work was compromised by the long waiting times that were necessary to
Amiga 4000 to complete even little attempts; this would have forced me
to make compromises not to inflate in a excessive way the time of production.
So I decided that I needed to pass on to more productive hardware and
software, therefore I equippedmysel with a more popwerful machine and
I upgraded LightWave to the last version.
The first attempts of rendering of the altar in the middle of the scene
excited the customer for the choice both of material and shapes, so I
quickly procedeed following the way just undertaken for the preparation
of the scene.
Once the scene was composed according to the project, I had to realised
a set of light that would create the right atmosphere, working at the
same time on the volumetric effects of the smoke and of the source of
Later on I had to improve the materials complying with the lightning of
the set, and adding step by step new object and details not to make the
environment too barren.
The drape that partially hides the guitar was one of the last ideas together
with the discharges of energy that hit the cage. The last improvements
and adjustment took me time, patience and a certain effort again, because
I had to analyse the work done, because I had to analyze the work done
done until then i a objective way.
The internal pages of the booklet have been created in a week, taking
back partially the oroginal idea of the laboratory but keeping the style
of the cover.
Here some numbers to give you an idea of the size of the work:
18 hand made images
56 light sources of which 37 volumetric and 6 with lens flares effect.