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I know what I'd do:
I'd go to the hardware store and buy a dozen panes of glass and set up shop in the garage, cracking and photographing the glass on a dead-white backgroundsay a bed sheet or a hunk of poster board. Can't get any more authentic than that, and in a "time = money" equation it'd probably make more sense than spending hours & hours trying to fake it.
Lighting will be the key to capturing the diffraction along the edges of the cracks.
Remember to wear goggles and gloves!
Couldn't you find an old, cracked window* somewhere, photograph it, and overlay it on the gauge?
* Disclaimer: I am not advocating the use of cracked Windows. ;)
Phos & John,
That is probably the best answer. I had thought of it, but was wondering if there was another way.
>Couldn't you find an old, cracked window
I live near Detroit, so, yeah, probably!
You are looking to apply a natural structure, right? Then why not go with nature itself? Search the site listed above and similar sites. why they may be primarily aimed at 3D artists, they provide enough interesting material to conventional 2D artists as well (like blue skies when you can't shoot one yourself on a rainy day) ;-)
Thank you. That's a direction I had never considered. I'll take a look.
Edited to add: Wow! Great site. Thanks again!
Correction: Fantastic site!
You are my new ShorDurPerSav (Short Duration Personal Savior)
Your ultimate solution showed up as a blurb on BoingBoing today:
Forgot about suggesting that!