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Painting a Cube in Presenter 3D, Presenter Pro 3.0, c. 1996
Painting a Cube in Presenter 3D

I began using perspective drawing in my paintings in 1963, and because perspective was not really taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, I taught my self the disipline from books and by trial and error. Since 1987 I have been using VIDI's Presenter 3D, a software package for 3-dimensional modeling, rendering and animation on the Apple Macintosh. Since 1989 I have done a number of computer aided paintings, doing 3-D renderings (or sketches) and projecting them onto a canvas as a guide to a finished painting. It's a wonderful software product, and has greatly expanded the possibilities of my art.

Modeling and rendering a cube.

Since 1964 when I began including pictorial space into my paintings I have done thousands of cubes, slabs, blocks, etc. Modeling and rendering a cube is a simple task, even simple minded, but as an artist that is what I do, and have done over and over in my pre-computer perspective drafting and in VIDI since 1987. Drawing a 3D cube using the computer is a lot easier than drawing it the old fashioned way. One of the simplest things to do using Presenter 3D is draw a white cube [using a Primitive] and render it. This view uses a virtual forty-five degree wide-angle lens.

White Cube
"Lighting" the cube.

The cube's color is changed from white to red. The cube is placed on a bit-mapped textured rug on a black floor, balanced on its edge, and lit with two suns, thereby creating two cast shadows.

Painted Cube
"Painting" the cube with light.

But if one wants not a shaded white or red cube, but rather wants to "Paint" a cube with a red-orange top and bottom, green front and back, and red sides, ones modeling stratagies must change a bit. The white cube was lit by changing two white light source suns to green and red lights, thereby painting the cube with colored light. Of course the hidden sides of the cube are still white (or shadowed grey), but we don't know that, and assume that they are colored. The cast shadow of the green light is red, because in the shadow there has an absence of green light, and the shadow of the red light is green. Mixing the red and green light sources gives the unshadowed rug areas a yellow-brown cast.

Painted Cube
Adding a Room, Transparency, and Refraction

Next, the Cube is placed in a virtual room with a marble tiled floor. The suns are replaced with "point lights" and a soft "spot" light is used to flood the walls with white light. The Cube is given a Transparent Glass property including the light bouncing refraction as well as reflectivity.

Painted Cube