Rose Garden

Where synthetics meets nature.

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The story behind the image

Inspired by the Saarbrücken Mensa artwork.

Did you know that the Mensa building is an artwork by Hajek supposed to represent elements of the nature (German article)? In my work I focused on the "Rosengarten", a garden of roses located in front of the Mensacafé. Multiple 5x5 blocks are aligned to form one large square. Each "rose" is formed of a concrete block with a kink and a colorful upper part. I tried to imagine a more graphical representation of the concept: what if we left this synthetic sculpture for itself, let nature regain its environment and have a look at this new synergy? Will the effect of the creation be a different one?

The idea of this scene wasn't there from the beginning: during the winter holidays I thought about several concepts (laboratory, treasure island) that I all discarded for some reasons. When searching for a feasible project while sitting in the Mensa, the idea came right to me. The core of the image was in my mind, the environment was basically added using trial and error.

There are in total three main components to the scene:

Rose Garden

The rose garden is the central piece of this work. It shows an adapter extract of the real art. The cold concrete at the bottom of the sculpture is complemented by the vibrant colors of the top.


Nature is what distinguishes the original from my version. A tree has grown in the center of the sculpture, finding its way through the strong cement at the fundament of the piece. Animals are finding their way back where otherwise hungry student were to be found.

Ruins and remains

I wanted to represent a peaceful scene. In order for nature to take over the place, humans had to move on. We don't know why the place was abandonned, but traces of the "old times" are visible everywhere.


Harnessing the power of ray tracing.

This work uses different techniques implemented throughout the semester: Many materials are composed of a diffuse term (Phong) and a specular term (Cook-Torrance). Different types of light sources (point lights, area lights, directional lights) were used to illuminate the scene.

Some additional key features of this scene are:

Performance boosters

The ray tracer uses a BVH acceleration structure with an SAH approach (rt/groups/bvh.h). Rendering is highly parallelized by assigning columns to render to different threads using OpenMP (rt/renderer.h).

Background illumination effect

The environment map shows a "light tunnel". Paired with a set of different light sources (directional light, area light, point light), the effect of the sun shining through the trees is created.


Do I have to say more?


Step by step, life came into the scene.

First, the scene only included its core: the rose garden. Next came the ground, an environment map and some elements of the nature. To populate the scene, foxes, benches and some shrubbery were added. With a lot of blood, sweat and tears (figuratively), the final version of this work has seen the light of day.

A lot of work was done in Blender, the rose garden and its tree were done from scratch. Blender allowed a fast feedback on how the positioning of individual objects affected the appearance of the scene. Some modifiers were applied to the ground and to the grass mesh in order to create a less rigid look and feel and to reduce the number of triangles in order to reduce computing time.

Early Version

Rose garden, ground.

First, I started with the rose garden, four groups of concrete blocks with a tree in the middle. The gravel is missing, as well as the environment (sky and ground).


Environment map, more decor.

The gravel was added, as well as the fox in the grass. On the left, two stone benches and a street light were added.

Final version

Higher sampling rate. Filled the void.

Additional decorative articles were added. The glass walls of the street light emit white light.

Hours (Run time)


  • Blender: 3D creation suite (including the Sapling addon for tree generation)
  • Blendswap: Streetlights, Low Poly Fox, Realistic Grass Field, Bianchi Pista track bike
  • Turbosquid: Grass Textured, Wallstone, Stone ruins (pack), Small Nature Pack VOL1
  • Pexels: Textures like Bark, Leaves, Gravel, Concrete
  • Texturify: Green park bushes (Environment Map)

I'd like to thank Lea Eckhart, my assignment group partner, as together we created the stable, feature-rich framework for this competition. Jérémy Amand, Master student (Bioinformatics)