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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!