Modeling Buldings & Structures

(ec2) #1

For the building and structure modlers out there, what methods do you use to create your models?

I have been trying to figure out how to approach this, but I’m having very little success. Modeling the details appears to be difficult, but not impossible (see garbager models

I usually start by taking a cube and subdividing it. Next I remove vertices to make a square opening in the cube for a ‘window’. I then select the vertices at the four coners of the opening and create a face. I then extrude those same points, scale, then extrude again to get the inset and ‘border’ for the window. I know I have to model to get greater detail, but am I setting it up correctly? How do you approach intricate detail of windows, doorways, arches, floors ect.?
I know most real life objects have bevels vs. edges metting up flush and sharp.

Should I be using curves since I would not need to use the steps above (per sey)? Should I just set up curves within curves to have the openings in the bulding facade, then use extrude?

Has anyone used dupliverts on a path, cube or plane to get a row of windows (for example), equadistant from each other? This is a burning question. I would think you could create one window then duplivert it symmetrically. This would help build towers and hi-rises quickly and easily.

How can screw, spin, and spin dup be used in modeling buldings?

What is the best way to join the bulding elements (Doorways, arches, steps etc) to make a ‘complete’ model? Or should the elements be seperate in some cases? Should the bulding be modeled in sections?

Am I making this more difficult than it really is or have I just scratched the surface?

There are some amazing works on, I’d like to work towards modeling of that magnitude.

I’m sorry for so many questions.

Any help (including texturing methods) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

(S68) #2


I have an engineeristic approach to building modelling (guess why)

Thus I usually model each structural element as a single mesh and then duplicate it by hand.

I tried to use dupliverts, but it is tricky.

Dupliverted things do not count much in your polycount while modelling but they do count when rendering, hence you can have (I had) unexpected crashes.

If you look on my site the cathedral was build this way. Each window is a single object modeled by itself. walls are modules, one in each space between columns, with holes carved to accomodate windows/doors.

All colums were made by starting with a profile and extruding, windows similarly…

The entry for Blenderville was built this other way.

Since poly count was an issue Imade the facades as planar meshes, then carved windows with ‘intersect’ (haden’t got booleans then) then removed all the faces (which were too many) and re-made all faces one by one by hand.

You cannot guess how many polys I spared :slight_smile:

For Babel Tower, that was built using spin and spin-dup, but that has an axial symmetry :slight_smile: Each plane is a separate section.

You should keep meshes separate and distributed smartly on layers. Poly count can get high and it is better to have all windows on one frame, al walls on another etc.

Let us see your results :slight_smile:


(ec2) #3


Thanks for sharing your techniques. I have been to your site previously and admire your work. The Cathedral and Blenderville entry are very nice models. How did you approach the detailed arches in those projects? I think I know a way, but you may have better idea.

Interesting. So each window is an individual model? I have seen v2.23 crash with Dupliverts also. I will keep that in mind.

I have also found working on layers is best, especially with lights (faking GI), so it makes sense to carry that method over to multiple models for structures.

Taking into account what you’ve mentioned, it looks like starting with curves to model doorways, arches, windows ect., then converting to meshes ‘might’ be the way to go.

Lastly, for alignment, are you aligning by hand or some other method? Snap to perhaps.

Thank you S68.

(S68) #4

I prepared half the profile with circles, deleting nodes and adding edges carefully to mantain a low poly count (I wasn’t that succesfull, each ogival window frame is 20kVertexes + 21kVertexes for fancy decorations inside frame)

Then I mirrored it and swept it to obtain the curve, extruded to obtain the rectilinear part…

Yes, I tried with dupliverted columns, but had many crashes so…

Yes, but curves, if you have wide curves and kinks on the same line tends to have meshes with very different node density, tipically with too many nodes in kinks, so using meshes from the beginning can be better.

Never align by hand, do your stuff, use parenting, and place the center of the object smartly, then you align it or using snap (CTRL) or using numerical coords (NKEY)

You’re welcome


(ec2) #5

Thanks again. This is great feedback. I will be sure to post future models.

(garbager) #6

Sorry, ec2 I didn’t answer you sooner.
The technique is exactly this way.
I model everything as a sigle mesh, and then duplicate it. Some small objects that won’t constitute important visual part. can be duplicated with instances or dupliverts.
The biggest parts should be copied instead of instanced, cause you’ll have to create different mappings for each later, in order to give irregularity to your models. Cause with repetitive geometry, it’s important to break unicity with irregular surfaces.
The rest is inspiration, intuition and don’t hesitate to separate elements series with layers.
I have more than 2000 object in my scene currently. And near from 10 lights, it can become very tricky to render if you don’t isolate elements.
also think to assign a layer to all non geometric objects (light, camera, nulls). Keep this habits, it’s always usefull.

(ec2) #7

No problem garbager. You gave me good avice earlier as well when you posted your work. Thanks for your new offerings.

Copying large elements is a good idea. After playing with the UV editor on a small scene I put together, I can see where it would provide an advantage when working with “repetitive geometry”.

There are great architects, cg artists and exisiting buldings to draw inspiration from. I have ideas in my head, I just need to put them to paper first like you suggested before.

This thread is turning out to be pretty good.

(ec2) #8

My method to a typical building would be to model with Curves (poly), and place additional curves within the main curve to 'cut out ’ windows. Then duplicate and rotate for the four sides.

Can anyone lend advice on how to model columnar buildings? My concern is how I would accomplish adding windows and doorways to a building of this type.

Tips, tricks, advice?