Modeling a detailed building (How to Begin)

I have decided to start working on a project for an animation contest, and the topic is to make a tour of DC. This is a daunting task, but as a team, I think we should be able to do it. How would I get started making something so detailed? What I have done already is I made the shape of the building. I would like this project to be as detailed as we can possibly get it within our resources and skills. No doubt this will be difficult, but how should I begin?

I never did a project on this scale, but, assuming you are facing a deadline, I would:

  1. Start off simple – block out the building volume to start with. From there, refine proportions and such gradually – a night’s sleep will give your fresh eyes to work with.
  2. Make low-poly models of the details (i.e. columns, windows etcetera) and use array and mirror modifiers etcetera to get all details on their proper locations.
  3. Depending on how much time and CPU you have, start adding more details, materials, textures, etcetera. In the process, you might discover that you should put more work on the surrounding terrain instead of adding more details on the columns (for example).

Just my five pennies

nice project!
this tutorial may help

also you might get some inspiration from these threads:

Get as much reference material as possible so you know what you actually need to model.


Thanks for the tips, its good to know im off to the right step. I (personally) have the worst computer possible (from 2003) but one person in my animation team has the horsepower I need. I have a while to do this, (January for a rough :P, I started a bit early) so I hope Ill be fine. Its such an intimidating thing to model! Thanks for the help.