Watch Tower and Powder House


Watch Tower at Dawn

Watch Tower at Dawn (click to enlarge)


The Watch Tower and Powder House stood about 2 km southeast of the Alamo on a hill commanding a view of San Antonio de Bexar near the road to Gonzales.  Constructed in the early 1800s by the Mexican Army, it served as an encampment for the cavalry from the third day of the siege.

In this scene, I show the structures at dawn, closely following the sketch of Seth Eastman in 1848.  I suspect the site had more foliage than I have shown but I am using artistic license to show  a bit of the valley below to allow the buildings to receive full lighting from the sun which is very low on the horizon.

Sketch of Watch Tower by Eastment

The Techniques

  • The structures were first placed in my model based on the analysis found in the Alamo Studies Forum.  I used the Eastman sketch as a background image to further align the camera and perspective.
  • The texture for the walls was made by combining a tileable texture created from an image of the Long Barracks and a stucco overlay.
  • The prickly pear cactus stems/pads were modeled by hand and placed in clumps using the particle system.
  • The foreground trees and bushes were modeled using the Sapling plugin which is capable of producing a wide variety of types.  The background trees were Xfrog billboards placed by the particle system
  • The particle system was also used to model the grass–near and far.
  • Finally, the scene is illuminated by an HDR image from Hyperfocal Design.



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