The curious case
February 14, 2019
Project 2 - Treasure chest
The assignment: create a treasure chest.
What I made: a Pelican case, which we use at my workplace* to hold all of our cameras and fancypants equipment.
Hey, it's treasure to me.
* Come to the Media Center!
Here’s my entirely animated animation that I animated using animation:
It also opens!
I’m actually very fortunate to have picked the Pelican case as my “treasure chest.” I thought I was just being clever, but turns out:
- Since the case is all one solid color, I didn’t have to do any texturing*. And when you playblast in Maya everything looks plastic anyway!
- The case has lots of rounded corners, but actually no truly rounded or organic shapes. This thing is mostly just intersecting rectangular prisms that I beveled the devil out of. (Plus a few cylinders… and the latches, which I made by freehand drawing a polygon and extruding it out.)
- I couldn’t figure out how to get the case hollow - it’s complicated by the fact that lots of prisms intersect into the center of the case, and by the fact that the case itself (and, correspondingly, the lid) is built out of two prisms, one forming the bulk of the case and one forming the “lip.” But guess what - Pelican cases aren’t hollow either!
- I set my real-life reference Pelican case on a table my work had. Then I realized - hang on, this table is literally five cylinders. I can make this. So I did. No one can stop me.
* How about those labels? I took hi-resolution photos of a real Pelican case’s stickers (using a fancypants DSLR - the treasure we keep inside another Pelican case!), isolated them in Photoshop, and then inserted them into the scene as image planes. Those image planes aren’t actually attached to the model - they’re just floating, like, one pixel above the face of the lid. Cheating? Maybe. Expel me!
My case is far from perfect - there are plenty of details I couldn’t figure out how to model, or decided it wasn’t worth it:
- The Pelican case is full of holes poked through it. The trapezoidal supports next to the latches have circular holes. The handle has an indent cut out. The hinge has some square notches cut in it that allow it to rotate. But poking holes through things in Maya is hard.
- There are some circular supports on the bottom of the case. I could’ve modeled them, they’re just toruses. I decided to just never show you the bottom of my model instead.
- Because the case is symmetrical, I started by modeling just half of it. Then I copied everything over, mirrored it, and slid it into position. This did create some redundant, overlapping polygons. But hey - it rendered.
- Some little triangly things are missing. Okay - a LOT of little things are missing. But at some level this has got to be the Pelican case designer's fault. Every time I look at that stupid thing I notice something new, like they knew good and well that wasn't needed for the structural integrity of the stupid thing, they just put that there to show off and waste plastic. So rude. So inconsiderate of my needs.
And after all is said and done - I mean, come on. That’s a Pelican case. Like it just is.
All of my images are here, but here are a few for the road: