Modeling Maynooth Castle Part 7 – The Final Product

The castle is finally complete! Since the last post, I’ve added some trees to the scene and cleaned up the last of the materials.  Unfortunately, exporting the scene into sketch fab is not quite as successful as the rendered version in the 3DS Max.  For some reason, the materials used on the roofs of the various buildings do not export and neither do the materials for the trees.  However, I think its important to be able to move the model around, so I’ve decided to include the sketch fab version, even though it only looks partially complete.

The Real Final Product

The real product looks pretty good when rendered in 3DS Max.  I’ve included a number of screenshots from the rendered version below.  Hopefully, these will give you an idea of what the final product looks like in 3DS Max.

Front of Castle

Front of Castle

East Side of Castle

East Side of Castle

Back of castle. Note shadows from sunlight (which is behind castle)

Back of castle. Note shadows from sunlight (which is behind castle)

West side of castle

West side of castle

The Sketch Fab Version

Below is the version that exported to sketch fab. While this is the more “interactive” model, sadly the export process from 3DS Max doesn’t seem to play well with textures that are embedded in 3DS Max. So you can see that both the trees and the roofs of the buildings (both of which are 3DS Max built-in materials as opposed to custom materials) don’t export into sketch fab. This is unfortunately because it doesn’t give the full picture of the model, but this version does give you something to play around with.

UPDATE

I tried adding custom materials to the roofs and the foundation of the keep outset building in order to get those to render. While I don’t like the final output in 3DS Max as much as the original (and thus for the sake of the project, I’m keeping the original in tact), it does look a little bit better in sketch fab since those areas now have exported materials. I’ve included this new sketch fab version below.

Modeling Maynooth Castle Part 6 – The Story

One of the things I thought that might be interesting in discussing the creation of the model is to show a sort of breakdown of how the model was built.  So I’ve taken screenshots from 3DS Max (the software I used to create the model), that shows the model as it moved through various stages of creation.

 

Building the Walls

Building the Walls

Adding the South Gate

Adding the South Gate

Adding the bend in the south wall

Adding the bend in the south wall

Adding buildings and bend in west wall

Adding buildings and bend in west wall

Creating the chapel and the north wall bend

Creating the chapel and the north wall bend

Starting the Keep

Starting the Keep

Refining the Keep

Refining the Keep

Adding More Detail to the Keep

Adding More Detail to the Keep

Further Refinements to the Keep

Further Refinements to the Keep

Adding Details to the West Buildings

Adding Details to the East Buildings

More East Building Detail

More East Building Detail

Finishing the East Buildings

Finishing the East Buildings

Once the modelling was complete, materials needed to be added to each object. This is where a lot of experimentation kicked in. In the two images below, you can see my first attempt at adding materials. While the roof material looks ok, you can see that the stone on the buildings isn’t right. Rather than looking like multiple stones forming the building, it looks like each building was carved from a single stone, which is obviously not right.

Distant view of first attempt at materials

Distant view of first attempt at materials

Close up view of first attempt at materials.

Close up view of first attempt at materials.

As I continued to experiment, I started adding some general nature (such as grass) to the scene. You can also see in the close up view that the walls of the buildings now look like individual stones; however the material on the walls looks very displaced so that needed some additional tweaking.

Scene with grass and better building material

Scene with grass and better building material

Close up of building showing better stone work.  Note poor material on wall.

Close up of building showing better stone work. Note poor material on wall.

Finally, I added a hair and fur modifier to the grass to give it a more life-like look and feel. I also cleaned up the material on the walls to make it more uniform.

More realistic grass and uniform stone material

More realistic grass and uniform stone material

Close up showing more realistic grass and stone material

Close up showing more realistic grass and stone material

Coming Up Next . . .

Up next is the final post regarding modeling maynooth castle. This post will show screenshots of the final rendering as well as a working 3D model.

Modeling Maynooth Castle Part 5 – Woe to Materials

I’ve decided that Materials in 3DS Max are not my favourite thing.  In fact, I think they are my least favourite thing.  I’ve been playing around with them for the past couple of days, trying to get a stone material that looks just right.  While I’ve had some minor success with a material for the buildings, I have yet to make it look like individual stone work (currently, it looks like each building is carved from a single rough-hewn stone).

The Process So Far

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, my original thought on materials was to use a multi-subobject approach.  I would apply diffuse and bump maps using images taken of the exterior of the keep, then use secondary materials for the roof.  This approach was largely unsuccessful. I ended up rebuilding the roofs on the various buildings as other objects, so I could apply separate materials to them.  For the stone work on the buildings, I created a blend material that used an image from the castle wall as the map for the blend.  This seemed to work better as it presented more of a rough stone look.  I then applied a UVW Map modifier to each object and applied the material.  With the exception of the material creating the illusion of a single stone instead of multiple stones, the material application worked rather well.  However, when applying the same materials to my wall objects (which also had a UVW Map), the material looks painted on and doesn’t have the same texture as the buidings.  See below for an example:

material_WallBuilding

I’ve tried messing with the tile values on the UVW map for the wall objects, but that doesn’t seem to have the effect I was hoping for.  I may scrap the material all together and return to using images applied as bump, diffuse, and displacement maps in order to create a more individual stone look.  As for the walls, I suppose more trial and error is involved.  I will continue to work with the UVW map settings; I may also separate materials for the walls, so I can further control how they are applied.

Modeling Maynooth Castle Part 4 – Materials & Lighting

Since my last post about Modeling Maynooth Castle, my progress has been solid but largely uneventful.  I haven’t encountered any major issues or problems outside of the normal day to day frustrations of modeling, such as paying extra attention to that one polygon that doesn’t seem to want to be shaped the right way or fixing an accidental extrusion, etc.

After making significant progress on the model itself, I decided to start applying some materials and lighting.  The lighting itself was relatively simple.  Since I’m dealing with a castle that was destroyed in the mid 16th century, I decided I was only going to use natural light.  Thus I was able to easily implement a daylight system.  While I couldn’t quite set the date of the daylight system to 1534 (the year the castle was destroyed), I was able to take it back all the way to 1583, which is the farthest back the software would calculate. I set the time of day as noon and set the appropriate latitude and longitude in order to calculate the position of the sun.  3DS Max made all of this very simplistic, and I had no issues implementing the system.

The materials have proven to be a bit trickier.  I took pictures of the current keep walls, as I hoped to use those as materials.  I pulled one of these pictures into photoshop and used the patch tool to create a seamless, tileable texture.  I think applied this texture as both a bump map and a diffuse map to a material and mapped the material to the keep.  The results are below:

keep_material1

The result isn’t bad, but I don’t feel it’s anywhere near complete. I started experimenting by applying a UVW map.  Then I decided to scrap the original material and create a multi-sub-object material that would allow me to set different materials for different areas (such as the roof, the wood paneling that is part of the roof, etc).  I also decided to create blends and use the images of the castle walls as maps for the blend.  The result ended up with the castle walls themselves looking a little cleaner:

keep_material_multiobj

I think the walls of the castle itself look a little better (ignore the giant cross shape in the middle for now.  Those are actually separate objects I haven’t applied the new material to yet).  However, I don’t think the multi-subobject approach is going to work for the roof:

keep_material1_badroof

 

As you can see, not only does the material not look different (it should have more of a tiled slate look rather than stone) but you can also see each distinct polygon where the material was applied.  I think I’m going to have to trash the roof and rebuild it so it is a separate object that I can apply its own material to.

I’m going to continue working on it to see how I can improve upon it.

Modeling Maynooth Castle Part 3 – The Keep

I started modeling the keep a few days ago and felt I was making good progress.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  However, I’ve learned a very important lesson:  when doing extrusions on an object, always zoom out to make sure you didn’t accidentally destroy the geometry.  Sadly, this lesson cost me about 3 hours’ worth of work.  Thankfully, I started making regular backups of my saves; otherwise this could have been much worse.

The Process

I started the keep with just a standard cube. I then constructed small towers that went along the tops, and for the crenellations, I did what I have always done—I extruded the polygons of the cube (after converting the cube to an editable polygon). I’ve never had a problem with this. Here is what the top part of the keep (which was the area I was focused on) looked like when I noticed my problem.
Top of Keep
I then zoomed out in order to inspect some aspects of the roof of the keep (for which I was about to create the pitched roof). That’s when I noticed my problem.
Messed Up Keep
As you can see from the photo, quite a bit of the geometry of the keep is distorted. Random sections are extruded or missing. The bottom of the keep was completely distorted. I probably could have fixed it, but I decided the amount of work it would have taken me to fix it most likely would have equaled the amount of time I spent getting to that point since my last back up. So I decided to cut my losses and simply revert to my last backup.

What Went Wrong?

I’m not entirely sure where everything went wrong, to be honest. The only thing I can suspect is that I accidentally selected other polygons while I was selecting the polygons for the roof (either that or I had failed to set the height segments when converting to an editable polygon and thus was extruding the entire height of the keep as opposed to one that was supposed to be closer to 1m3.

Lessons Learned

One lesson I’m taking away from this is to always check my line segments before converting to an editable polygon, and another is to frequently check the entire object when making modifications which affect the geometry. But the most important lesson here is to create FREQUENT backups of my scene. Thankfully, this really saved me this time (as I only lost a few hours’ worth of work), so it’s definitely a lesson I have taken (and am continuing to take) to heart.