Chapel Wall
(image seems to be cut off when put into the post but isn’t on photobucket, weird.)

This was originally going to be the full chapel of I think it was St. George but then I scaled the project down to a single image of a side of the building. Then I took some creative freedom with the structure, and then I took some more and here I am now.

I’m looking for any feedback as I try to improve on this project and learn new techniques for my work (I have a feeling any shortcomings of my work stem from the same things that I’m doing or not doing in my creation process).

At the moment I’m not sure if I like the shadows that I have, I was wanting them to cast a shadow of some of the top details onto the ground or something along those lines. Also I think my image lacks focus, it has the hexagonal sort of piece of wall sticking out but I don’t think that that is enough of a focus. Would having a cross on top of that section be too much?

I like the pattern, the design, however i think the textures need more work than anything else. It just feels washed out.

okay, I see what your saying, there isn’t much contrast right?. I edited the levels in gimp and I think it’s less washed out now, but the shadows seem off now. what do you think? thanks for the input

I would add a better looking sky, add ambient occlusion for more realism, and add some variation to the brick texture since it is obviously repeated right now.

You could also model a rudimentary interior and have the windows act like actual glass. They don’t have to be 100% transparent, but they could definitely use a more realistic material.

i’ve made the brick floor larger so it looks less repeated, changed the glass to something more realistic but half opaque, ive mirrored the other side of the chapel but as you can see through the windows you can see the parts where i dont have anything yet.

It’s coming along nicely.

I usually like to try to get the geometry “completely done” first. Then, I’d roughly adjust the color and brightness of the various materials, so that the stone vs. the brick vs. the windows vs. the grass and so-on are roughly as bright relative to one another as you might wish for them to be.

Then, I’d work on the lighting, making basically-exclusive use of Blender’s “preview rendering” and “OpenGL lighting” capabilities so that you don’t start burning-up huge amounts of time with shadow calculations. (This is where the sense that “hey, this thing is really three-dimensional!” is really going to “pop” into place for the first time.)

At this point, you’re at the place where you want to start “dirtying things up,” and this is where I find it most advantageous to use compositing, instead of monkeying around too much with UVs and/or underlying materials. I take the approach of starting with the pristine and then adding dirt and randomness, as it were, “on top of” what is already there, such that I can use nodes to give me flexibility.

One final thought: really explore what you can do with the camera. The tendency is to put everything into the shot. That obligates you to use wide angles (with their own form of distortion), and it quite unavoidably makes the whole thing look flat. You can also experiment with the various kinds of projections … architectural photography is always done using large-format (bellows…) cameras specifically so that lens-distortions can be minimized. A much tighter, more intimate shot can make all the difference. Load up the scene with cameras, move 'em around at will and “take a look” through all of them at various times. You never have to worry about seeing another camera-rig in the viewfinder, and you don’t have to keep your feet on the ground. (But… when we view real chapels, that’s almost always where we are.)