Recreating a building entirely in 3D

OW, She’s a Brick…houuuse!

1Story: This was an college assignment for an “Advanced 3D and Lighting” class, somewhere around 2007. The assignment was to recreate a building from real life and texture the model using pictures that we took as reference. We also had to try to match the natural lighting of the setting and composite the final render using some “real life” elements to recreate the final scene. I drove around Highland Park California because of all the local color and the interesting blends of architecture. I landed on an old brick building building on Ave 64, the different layers of paint proved to be interesting enough.

The workflow image below shows how I went from the original picture, to the finished model (Ambient Occlusion Pass), to the “Final Render” and lastly, creating the “Final Composite” adding the car and the pedestrian. The building and the power lines were created in 3ds Max and rendered in Mental Ray. The Final Composite was done using Photoshop 4. Looking back at it now, I should have added the stop sign. Oh, well.

Tools: 3D Studio Max, Photoshop 4 and Mental Ray

Work flow


Closing thoughts:
I could have chosen a building with more “features” but that wasn’t the assignment. If there is one thing I learned in college besides turn your work in completed and on time, is this: Stick to the letter of the assignment, do not to embellish the assignment with something that you think is cool.

Quick story: One time an instructor told us to create “a green field, a blue sky and a small brooke running through the scene. Easy enough. We all turned in our work but when “Joe Blow” turned in his work, the instructor showed it to the class on the projector. Joe he added a Warrior woman with big tits and a sword sitting on a dragon…the instructor LOVED it and praised the piece in class for Joe’s creativity and artistic ability. Then the instructor failed Joe because that was not the assignment he had asked for.

I really enjoyed the different layers of textures that were on this building, I thought it was really interesting. Sure it’s not a “pixel on” recreation of the building but it was close and I really enjoyed this project.


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“If you want something you’ve never had,  you have to do something you’ve never done.”



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