formal house

hello, im building a formal house. id like to hear what you have to say.


I really like the direction of this one. The house looks Georgian or is it Victorian? (I never remember) The render of the front door is especially good though. How did you add so much detail? Is it all modelled? Normal mapped? (Apologies for the daft questions, im new to this.)

I’m liking that. Erm, though I think that the bricks at the corners of the house aren’t straight up and down, but rather offset like you have around the door.

Any plans for the tympanum?

thanks for the replies…
mrmonkah - ive only been playing with blender for about 2.5 weeks (but im not new to 3d), so i dont know how to map normal maps. I modelled all the details - theres little sea shell things on the door that you can’t see…georgian, victoria, not sure. ive never been great with remembering the different periods…
Popepollo - the brick style on the corners is from my photo ref… the door is from another photo. for style continuity the bricks probably should be stepped. tympanum - haven’t decided what I’ll try for in there. I might make some figures, it might be simple geometric shapes…

in case my ‘lost’ reply remains missing here’s another…

thanks for the replies,

mrmonkah - i would guess georgian, but i stupidly referred to it as a baroque building elsewhere :(… It’s all modeled, as im only 2.5 weeks into learning blender and don’t know how to make normal maps (im not new to 3D though).

Popepollo - i take it you mean the corner ones should be consistant with the door frame bricks? im using 2 different photos for reference, one for the door, one the building, hence the poor continuity. I will make that better. thanks for pointing that out.

heres an update for my building…

ive been playing with textures, and have finally made a basic diffuse map for the walls and a decal under a window. decals are fantastically useful. ive also changed the brick patterns to a more consistant design, and its much more pleasing to me.


heres another update.
between the previous image and this are about 16 hours of mucking around with textures, uvmaps and the manual.

a render of this size without AO, OSA or rays takes my computer 3 seconds, this render with all that stuff on took 19 minutes…

the wall texture is pretty poor but at least i can confidently manipulate it, and all the other textures, now i just need to make them nice.


the above render was costing 19 minutes, and its pretty disappointing. after a day of trying to get yafaray working ive given up for the moment and got the older yafray working well enough, and so heres a picture… oh, and its a very reasonable 2 minute render time.
if anyone wants to C&C it they would be most welcome


its very jaggy :S

the modelling looks great but get a renderer such as luxrender (free) or indigo (commercial) to match the modelling quality, yafray (not yafaray which would be fine) is not up to the job tbh :stuck_out_tongue:

good luck :slight_smile:

Looking good, what about some roof tiles? or are the roofs of those homes supposed to be like that?

Hey Dvandamme,

I didnt realise this was your thread. Loving the model man. Yafaray… Im getting shocking results with that, so dark and flat. Could you use blenders own render engine?

I also have a link for you that helped me out no end! Some great advice on all aspects of ‘house building’ in blender.

Hope this helps with some ideas and possible issues your having.

As for personal touches, id like to see the shadows of the columns draw further across the building it self, perhaps move the ‘sun’ to get this effect.

i forgot to subscribe to my own thread… woops

anyway, i now have yaf(a)ray running properly after 2 days of head scratching… i could get yafray going but it was wildly tempremental - crashing 3/5 times… nasty but yaf(a)ray is now running and its fantastic. i used to use maya and mental ray at uni but every time i hit render it was 15 minutes before a decent (small) render would appear… yafaray is very very speedy so far. all the controls are in one easy to locate spot and so far im very impressed.

ive lost nearly all my textures, but thats ok, they where pretty rubbish - essentailly just place-holders. Ive been concentrating on getting a reasonable daylight environment - then i’ll pull in a more atmospheric setting for my building, then i’ll rebuild the textures and finish the garden off

charliemcf - are you referring to the AA quality or something else? if its the AA, thats sorted now, otherwise, let me know what you’re referring to please. thanks for the comments

austen - this building is actually in existance (missus that door though) so my references are quite good. the roofing for this building is painted lead sheeting or similar - while most tiling would have been stone, clay or such, a very wealthy owner would have been able afford a metal sheet roof - such as this building. the ribs are folded sheet. if youve ever seen a middle ages cathedral from above you’ll see lead sheeting like this. its one thing the english king henry took from the cathedrals in the reformation - all that lead was stupidly valuable

mrmonkah - thanks for that and the link - will check it out. the image before post is with yafray, and all the previous ones are with blenders internal raytracer. the image in this post is with yaf(a)ray. I highly recommend persisting with it - again, use test scenes with some boxes and planes… and check out the yafaray site for tuts, heres a google translated one that i like all about global illumination

again, please let me know what you think of the image…

so i dont look impolite and bump my own thread that i found
heres a huge list of yaf(a)ray and yafray tuts


Wow, massive improvements there. Looks great, and the lighting looks spot on.

I used to be an armature texture artist so if you want any of the basic textures i have (concrete, plaster, brick, wood) feel free to drop me a note. (Ive been using these on my project) The majority of them are normal mapped and tile-able.

Cant wait to see what you get up to next.

an armature texture artist? eh? i get to feel ignorant. but then, i used to be a structural detailing draftsman. No one knows what we do but there’s not a single building built these days without one (or a team).

anyway, this is what i’ve got up to by the end of the day. I can not believe the speed of yafaray’s rendering… this is direct lighting with AO render, with 4 AA passes and 10 AA sample passes, has depth of field turned on, but im not sure what Fstop it is - its using a different figure for that than normal camera terms. for a building photo I would always use a hyperfocused shot (technique for making everything in focus) but this is new and novel so i felt inclined to play. and the render time was 3,40 minutes on my imac core 2 duo with 1 gig ram… christ thats fast

the building is yet to get proper textures - they are just colours for now. I haven’t worked out water yet - the blue bits, and im going to rebuild the trees - i have a cool idea for the mesh - though they will be very neat as its ment to be a structured formal garden. oh, and i need interior lights for those gapping black pits


The addition of the environmental features like the garden and the reflecting pools are quite nice. Excellent choice on the gravel texture, and the slightly random placement of the stones out front adds a touch of naturalism.

This reminds me of the Versailles cyclorama at the Met in NYC. (Link.)

You might want to see if you like the “Architect” camera in Yafaray. It will keep your verticals paralell to one another, essentially doing two-point perspective.

One criticism, the shallow depth-of-field may be making you model look more model-sized and less building-sized. Right now it looks somewhat tilt-shifted. (Link.)

Astroman Pete - Thanks for that, I feel like I’m no longer wasting my time with this building, its coming together nicely

Versailles is part of the inspiration for this so i glad you see the connection. Im thinking of adding a fountain sculpture for the foreground, but I’ll wait and see how the water texturing goes.

The camera I have set is the Architect type, which I understand to be a tilt-shifting lens, the most pressing issue I have with it is the placement - its a little high so the POV is off.

The DoF is definitely going, yesteday I thought it was fun, but its not a feature I’ll be keeping - looking at this image in the fresh air of the morning makes me think its been taking from Thomas the Tank Engine Renaissance Edition…

So it is! I am often not as observant as I would like to think. :smiley:

Heres what Im going to call the final image for the time being. im getting sick of looking at it, and im stuck with a few issues that need sorting without the interference that this model causes. Its a long way from photorealistic, but im happy enough - the longer i look at it, the less satisfied i’ll be so i need to move on. Ive learnt everything i know about blender in the last 4 weeks, and yafaray in the last few days. i need to learn a hell of a lot about texturing and materials specifically in relation to yafaray, as i just haven’t been able to make layered materials which is why my water is so poor. the garden will do for now. the background is a post production thing.

thanks for the comments and views, all


Hey Dvandamme,

Loving the model man, it is a nice idea and a promising first project. Thumbs up for that!

In terms of Critique i have a couple of pointers that may help for the future. Do you remember that link i sent you with the video tutorial? Well on there is a great bit of advice for lighting out door scenes, It uses a UV sphere and parents a spot light to each of the verts. Makes the outside world look very nice indeed! Lighting on your part looks good but it is a shame you didnt have the light run across the front of the building. (High Noon) The sun set you have does look nice and compliments the colour of the masonry. (If you run light across the front of glass it naturally goes very dark in the right circumstances. That was my trick. :wink: )

It is interesting how similar and well timed our projects ran. Id be interested to know what your working on next. I think ill be going for another ‘house’ but this time something a lil more abstract.

Materials suck in blender, i think nodes are the way forward but it does seem to complicate things a whole lot more. The results are a lot better though!

Good job man.

thanks, i found it amusing to find someone else that didn’t seem a novice coming new to blender and making a house at the same time and pace as me… the odds of that are surely very long.

the renderer can build a skydome for me, so i’ve used that as much as i can figure out. I like the dome with parented lights though, i used to use something like that in mental ray years ago. kiss good bye to hours spent rendering though, yuck

i couldn’t find a postion for the sun to shine across the building that i liked. considering the starkness of the shapes i found the shadoes it cast weren’t encouraging. (though i know how to soften sunlight now)

im finding materials much less inspiring in blender than maya. this is the only thing ive found so far that i dont like more with blender. Im used to thinking in nodes and the material builder for maya was very easy for me. i have the added complication that yafaray doesn’t make complete use of the blender material stuff, it has its own window, so theres data that doesn’t pipe all the way through from blender to yafaray and vice versa… i might pick up the node stuff in blender easy enough, but i want to get some basic texturing actually working in yafaray, this is my priorty (i say this as i waste hours happily moving verts around again… )

and the next project has a WIP already - interior kitchen, its only 3 metres away from my computer so its easy reference… the thing ive found helps is not trying to make multitextured objects… yafaray can, but its very frustrating for me at this point

good luck with your next project