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Rebuilding Woodstock – The Trouble with Windows (AFF-604A)

This is part four in a series documenting John Chambers’ and my modelling of Woodstock House, as part of our Modelling Humanities Data Module. Please go to John’s blog here to see more.

For all of the time and effort that 3DS Max demands with regard to its steep learning curve, there is one element of the entire construction process that has caused the most problems for us in 3DS Max (as well as the most frustration), which has undoubtedly been the construction of windows. Creating the window frames themselves wasn’t too difficult, we were able to model them by creating small boxes and aligning them to suit the photographs. This was done in much the same way as the roofs and chimneys; we first got the desired dimensions and converted the boxes to editable polys. Following this, we drew and connected vertices before deleting selected polygons as required until we had the correct shapes. It was only a matter then of aligning the boxes into the correct shapes.

Glazing

We started out creating the windows by first creating a variety of sliding windows with different sets of panes, rails, and dimensions based on the plans and the photographs. 3DS Max’s built in windows primitives took a long time to suss out, but once we had figured out how they operated, we aligned them to the walls and began to build the ledges and decorative stone frames. Depending on the type of window (dimensions, rail sizes, sliding or fixed frame windows), we were able to create one of each type and clone them as instances which could be scaled to the plans.

glazing
The glazing for the entire house mapped out as a separate glazing layer.

 

The Facade Window Ledges and Frames

These were generally made as above, through the careful measuring out of tiles and aligning them to one another. Once the ledges and frames were assembled, they were aligned to the glazing around the entire house. Since most of the windows were the same, we generally made one of each type and then created instances of them. These could then be scaled to suit our needs.

Tiles were created and aligned to one another before placing over the glazing.
Tiles were created and aligned to one another before placing over the glazing.
A completed window with glazing, and experimentation with stone materials.
A completed window with glazing, and experimentation with stone materials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Larger Wing Windows

The more ornamented windows on the wings were created in the same way, however, as they contained more difficult arches to model, it took a lot of time to get right regarding scaling and alignment. They were created using two tube primitives and the same quadrangle shapes from the other windows. Using the compound objects function we were able to cut out the appropriate shapes. As before, we simply aligned these to the glazing on the house.

Tiles weer laid on a tube standard primitive, and another tube shape was used to cut the arch.
Tiles were laid on a tube standard primitive, and another tube shape was used to cut the arch.
Further tiles were added and then aligned to match the photographs.
Further tiles were added and then aligned to match the photographs.

 

 

 

 

 

Completed wing window, with a basic stone material applied.

With regard to window creation, up until this point we’ve been very happy with how the windows turned out. However, there was one problem with our method of window creation…

Cutting out holes for windows…

It was around this point that we realised that once we had created the windows and had aligned them to the walls that we hadn’t accounted for the fact that glazing is see-through and thus, we needed to go back and cut out holes for all of the windows. This took a lot of time, and although we hadn’t planned for this,  it appears to have ended up being a problem regardless. This is mainly because once we cut out the holes for the windows using the compound objects function as before, the geometry of all of the walls became skewed and misaligned. I’m not totally sure how or why this happens but after testing materials on the wall and seeing that there wasn’t a problem with the rendering process, we decided we hadn’t time to re-do everything, so we pressed on with building. This was an extremely frustrating realisation at this stage of the project.

geo21

The geometry became completely messed up after cutting window holes.
The geometry became completely messed up after cutting window holes.

 

The Doors

The doors were created by aligning boxes to the front of the house and creating a frame by adapting the windows from above. The arch and marble ornamentation were created by creating lines and using the ‘sweep’ modifier. The door came out very well in the end, after which it was just a case of creating the steps and aligning them to the bottom of the front door.

The front door
The front door, notice the skewed geometry of the walls.

The back steps were created using 3DS Max’s built in steps function and was then modeled as close to the picture as possible. For the decorative sides of the steps, we used tea-pot lids, which actually looked remarkably like the original!

back steps
The back-steps, with the tea-pot lid decorations
backsteps
The original stairs, with familiar lid-shaped decorations…

Published by

rbreen

MA Digital Humanities student in An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University. BA Music from Maynooth University.

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