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Ditherless is, of course, a small village in central Norfolk.

(Gotcha! It’s not really.)

But rejoice, for here is the “quaint cottage” I mentioned in my previous post – I think it’s rather quaint enough, don’t you? This was attempted in a similarly simple way as those trees, trying to avoid dithering and instead simply layering colour to suggest shades and highlights. It still took a few hours, but far fewer than it might had I been hatching and checkerboarding all over the place to capture variation in tone, like I have in previous pixel parties. There’s nothing to say I won’t revert to those methods in the future – or perhaps adopt a mixture of the two – as always, it depends on the subject. But it’s interesting to note how they inform the overall style.

I wouldn’t mind a cottage like this, just saying.

Last night I set out with the intention of building yet another windmill, but that ended up on ice, for something lazier a little simpler took my fancy. Nothing brand new, but I thought I’d have a crack at a follow-up of the windmill figurines I made last year, drafting in the models I’d made since. Perhaps I missed the opportunity to experiment with redressing them in some fashion, but I rather like them as they are. They look like they belong with one another.

More shelf space required for this next batch – we’ll have to throw out another load of books!

windmill-ornament-clyrck1windmill-ornament-stolaves1windmill-ornament-horning1windmill-ornament-cottage1For bonus fun, I included the adjacent cottage I made last autumn. I’m now wondering if I could take the Chrismassy version and give the concept a bit of snow, perhaps of a globular nature? Now that could be interesting…

It was nice to revisit this format as I had planned. It may take thirteen months, but I am a man of my word!

cottage0020It’s only a week until Father Christmas comes! Is there any better time to experiment?

In perhaps the height of my festivity so far this year, I got hold of a free snow plugin for Cinema 4D, MagicSnow. On being pleasantly surprised at its ease of configuration, I got bullish and went about subjecting dear Mill Cottage to a generous helping of white stuff.

It soon became clear that it was not designed for use on such impossibly complex/poorly-constructed models, and indeed so much snow had fallen that my computer froze for about fifteen minutes. Undeterred, I repeated the process of snowfall but with the various elements – floor, trees, house etc. – in separate files and then brought them together in the ensemble you see. Some parts are questionable, but in general it seems the plugin works really well and definitely warrants further experimentation. Hopefully, before next year!

In a fit of unforgivable laziness, I decided not to cast my own snowman but ship one in. The snowman model you see is available here.

How I love the snow – it’s been so long since we’ve had any. Could we have just a little bit this year, do you think? It’s not too much to ask, shirley?

cottage0040Wandering around these vast expanses of broadland, there’s always the chance that you’ll come through the reeds and trees only to uncover the hidden retreat of someone despicably fortunate. Amidst the awe and reward is a spot of panic, hoping that said fortunate person isn’t in, and hasn’t spotted you foraying into their quarters before you can make yourself scarce. This has been me a couple of times – apparently, I’m blind to ‘PRIVATE’ signs. What can I say? Ever curious!

Naturally, you’ll often find these just beside the mills I’ve been focusing on. They were the shelter for the millers now long gone, and so they surely hold as much historical value as the twirling towers beside them. With that in mind, and in yearning for something a little different, I set about focusing on this. This isn’t any particular cottage or mill, more a collation of various inspirations and references, with some personal touches to make for a (hopefully!) grand design.

It looks in pretty good nick, but I don’t see a ‘PRIVATE’ sign anywhere, do you…? Why, then, let’s try the door! I wonder what it’s like inside? What can you see from the upper windows?

cottage0043I only have a pair of fully-rendered, hi-res shots for you, for this was a truly arduous render session. It’s the tree’s what done it, coupled with, probably, a great deal of inefficiency on my part. The close-up took ninety minutes, the wider one three-and-a-quarter hours, with much of the first freezing the computer completely. I was seconds away from shutting it down and abandoning the idea when it kicked back into life and showed me what it’d been doing!

Slightly wary of these extended drags, I thought better of running any more out. I’ve removed the greedy trees for a simple render below, just to give an idea of what the garden looks like (without its trees, of course!). You aren’t really missing that much:

cottage0094aWhat of the gated pathway in the foreground? That was going to wind through some trees, crossing a stream to get to the mill. I didn’t bother rendering even a simple shot of this area, as it really isn’t anything without the realistic vegetation. But I was going for a similar look to this shot from my Old Mill scene:

waterway58_0061Appropriately enough, when activating the renderer – and before its mammoth freeze – I headed to my music library to pass some time. What should the shuffle function plump for to kick off? It’s Going To Take Some Time, of course! How prescient. Naturally, it was the cover by The Carpenters, but there’s the original by Carole King if you’d prefer. Both are marvellous. But I digress! For all its torment, it was great fun building my own little cottage on the Broads.