Image titre

Don't blame (or flame) me for my english, this tutorial was translate with babelfish.altavista.

These Egyptian columns are inspired by a photograph of a room of the temple of Karnak. The interesting point here is not only their construction but also the fact that they are covered with hieroglyphs. We will see how to achieve this effect with Bryce.

mots croises



For the plinth, a column :

    X = 35
    Y = 3
    Z = 35



The barrel is the result of a Boolean operation between a column and a sphere.

  • column :
    X = 24
    Y = 90
    Z = 24
  • sphere :
    X = 24
    Y = 135
    Z = 24

Give " Intersect " for attribute to the sphere, then group the two objects.


The following only concern Mac Bryce 2 users : as far as I know the hidden menu which is used only exists in this version of Bryce.

For the others, see below.


To create the capital of the column, one uses one of the primitives that Bryce proposes in a menu hidden at the top of the highest column of the pallet " Create " (see the picture).



In this menu, select " Gauss " to obtain a conic object which should then be turned over (180 degrees of rotation on X).

    X = 35
    Y = 30
    Y = 35

For the abacus, create a column.

    X = 35
    Y = 3
    Y = 35


To create the capital of the column, create a new terrain and go to the Terrain Editor.
Click on New and then on Invert) to fill the terrain with white.

Now you just have to play with Gaussian Edges to obtain the shape of the capital. If necessary, you can also smooth it.

Then, erase the bottom of the terrain : drag the bottom of the bracket (of the right window) toward the top (see the opposite image).


N.B. : It's possible to edit the outline of the capital with the Filtering tool. You just have to draw it with the pencil and then to smooth it with the button wich is underneath.

Don't forget to apply the filter before to exit the terrain editor.


Flip this terrain (180° on the X axis) and edit the attributes :

    X = 35
    Y = 30
    Y = 35

For the abacus, creat a column.

    X = 35
    Y = 3
    Y = 35

Align the various objects on the various axes to obtain the complete column.  

An alternative


You can carry out another type of capital whose base is again the result of a Boolean operation between a column and a sphere.

  • sphere (with "intersect" attribut) :
    X = 25
    Y = 40
    Z = 25
  • column :
    X = 25
    Y = 30
    Z = 25

Align the 2 objects on their node, then group them.

For the abacus, create a parallelepiped

X = 22
Y = 6
Z = 22
Align the various objects on the various axes to obtain the complete column.  

Application of the texture

  Select all the elements of the column to apply basic texture to them - in fact one chose " TerraCotta " among " Simple " textures. Modify the value of the ambience (reduce it for example to 30), that will give a more realistic aspect to the stone.  

It is now a question of carving the barrel of the column with a 2D texture (in fact an image PICT in levels of gray) while playing in the material editor on the value of " Bump Height ".

To obtain the hieroglyphs, a hieroglyphic font is used, in fact Glyph BASIC which accompanies the word processor MacScribe.

In Illustrator, create the base of the hieroglyphic patterns. Do not be afraid to make large and especially high, since the image will come to be rolled up around the barrel.

You can find the font Glyph BASIC and MacScribe (even if the last is not really necessary) on the site of
You will find here an Illustrator file(280 Ko), StuffIt archive encoded in BinHex with vectorized chars or the same in JPEG (500*700 pixels).

Import the result in Photoshop in a grayscale file at 72 PPP and of rather significant size.

Apply a slight Gaussian blur to the image to soften the reliefs of the column.

Using a fine brush, trace some horizontal features which will mark the joints between the various parts of the barrel (it is a trick that you can use with any type of column to give them more realism).

Finally apply a slight noise to the image (with a value of 10 for example), that will prevent the column from being too smooth.

Record the image in PICT.


Back in Bryce, go in the material editor, choose " 2D Picture " in channel A (see opposite), then click the square of previsualisation to reach the dialogue of importation of PICT files.

Import the image, copy it (click on the " copy " below the first square), then copy it in the alpha channel (second square), and put it into negative (click on the black and white point above the image). Without this last operation, the hieroglyphs would appear in relief and not in hollow on the column.


Select " Parametric " as mode of application in the menu which is into 2.

In the central grid of the editor, place the blue marker of the line " Bump Height " in channel A, then fix the value for the relief (here 50).

It could be necessary to adjust the frequency of texture (by using the red vertical bars which are above the grid) so that the hieroglyphs do not appear not deformed on the column. Here a value of 10 was given.


For the capital, one uses exactly the same technique - only the mode of application changes.

You need a flower pattern which will cover the cone. For that, one still used Illustrator, while exploiting various levels of gray to always dig more or less the column (according to the principle of Bryce: the whiter, the higher).

In Photoshop increases a little the working area to leave a margin around the so called flower (thus it will stop before the edge of the cone).

Apply a slight blur, then a slight noise and save.

Here is an Illustrator file (26 Ko), StuffIt archive BinHex encoded or the same in GIF (512*512 pixels).

In Bryce, import this image as 2D texture and apply it to the capital by selecting this time " Object top " (cf 2) as application mode.



The plinth and the abacus recieve a 3D texture, that will give them a more realistic aspect.

For exemple, select "DesertBump" in the pop-up menu (cf. 1) and then "Random" as application mode (cf. 2).

In the central grid, place the "BumpHeight" marker in canal A (with a value of 10/15). Play on the frequency value to accomodate.


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