Although I usually rely on textures when rendering glass block materials, I was recently inspired by a challenge on the Sketchucation forum and decided to have a go at modelling some glass blocks. I was also interested in experimenting with dramatic lighting and the caustics they could produce in conjunction with a 3D modelled glass block.
You can see the final results below.
When attempting to be 100% accurate, modelling the glass blocks wasn't as straightforward as I expected and I ended up with a really high poly component that just wasn't going to be practical fro my work-flow:
Needless to say this kind of detail isn't required for the average interior design visualisation or architectural render. I've subsequently created medium and low poly versions of the block for future use.
Armed with a good model capable of producing nice caustics I set about creating a scene that would showcase these qualities. I knew I wanted to to do something based around Harri Koskinen's Block Lamp (which turned into a side project of its own) and my own interpretation of Us Together's Ebb range of bathroom furniture. Other than that I just wanted to create a very simple scene that would allow me to experiment with dramatic lighting and the caustic effects produced by my glass block models.