Baalbek Temple Complex Picture

Temple Complex at Baalbek, Lebanon © 2010

Programs used: Autodesk Maya 9 & Adobe Photoshop CS4

Most browsers play this animated gif pretty fast. The frame rate I set in Photoshop is 60fps, but Firefox plays at 10fps anyways. IE is not much better either. Bastards. To slow it down all I can tell you is to do a Print Screen and stare at the images in a program like Photoshop, Paint or whatever else you use.

Unlike my depiction of the temple of Venus, I decided to go the opposed route and make this look like it was built a while ago and has been around for maybe a hundred years or so. There is visible weathering in the stone, the dirt pathways are not perfectly laid out and some are overgrown. The grass is littered with weeds and other plants where dirt paths have been made. People have been here and continue to come and go. The texturing reflects this.

In the scene there are objects which cannot be seen in this still. Outside there are wagons with piles of hey and chariots, while inside there are tables and couches with helmets and swords decorating their surfaces. In the center of the hexagonal court, there is a statue of a head, sculpted from rough stone which sits on a pillar accompanied by a helmet and sword. There are over sixty torches aligning the walls of the courts and temples, providing light in this overcast early evening. Note the stream running through alongside the alter court outer wall, snaking its way around and under the dirt path in front of the walls. The corner on the bottom of the first image is the area where the temple of Venus sits (see Temple of Venus to view image).

Not only is the structure historically accurate, I also took liberties incorporating symbology to give this a deeper meaning. For example, there are three archways from the gateway entrance to the alter court leading to the temple of Jupiter. On the ceiling of these, I painted on symbols of the zodiac. The first symbol is Libra, the next underpass has Virgo, Leo, Cancer and Gemini, and the third underpass has Taurus, Aries, Pisces and Aquarius. The concept is that as the visitor transcends the different areas of the complex, he or she passes through the ages as he comes closer to god, who, for the Romans, is Jupiter. On the chariots you will notice there are Satanic symbols: the Baphomet and the upside down cross. The reason for this is to give the viewer deeper insight into the meaning behind the site itself. Baalbek derives from the Canaanite god Ba’al, whose name (believe it or not) is an epithet for Lucifer. In the future I will write a book which will delve very deep into this matter.

Plato and Aristotle are peppered throughout the scene only as a reference to show just how colossal the site is.

I used a lot of reference images of the ruins which can still be visited to this day. To build the site, all I used was a floor plan and a perspective drawing which can be seen if you do an image search.

I plan on fleshing this out more. Bump maps and spec maps will be added. Perhaps one day statues will decorate the halls. When it is complete a video tour will be on my website, included with more explanation on symbology and history. Stay tuned!
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