Arquitectura en Blender Blender

A (first) introduction todo architecture modeling with Blender.

By yorique van havre.

This tutorial is a general but step-by-step introduction todo quik architecture modelling with Blender. It is focused primarily on architects who never really used Blender but know some 3d and who want todo se how Blender can be used for their particular work. Blender users who are not used todo architecture might find it useful to, Although probably very simple. I Will try todo go slowly and explain everything, but there Will be a couple of Little things you Will ned todo find out yourself. I am sure it is not hard and by searching a bit youll quickly find your way. A god idea is todo leave the Blender manual open in another tab. And if you get really, really struck, just mail me, this tutorial is about quik modelling, for building a well rendered image. It Will not explore the details of precisión modelling. It wont give you a correct model, that you could use todo generate plans and sections. Instead, well try todo find a balance between speed and correctness. Precision modelling takes much more care and time, so well treat that another time but i hope youll be convinced, After reading, that we can obtain a pretty god balance, and while we may not be precise todo the centimeter, still we should achieve a correct representation of our building. So i Will try todo mix a bit of all this and start with a true, real-life, everyday-experienced situation that you probably know todo well:
1. The story.

This sympathetic person is your boss (no it is not Mario botta, unless Mario botta is your boss, in which case dont read this tutorial at the Office). He has drawn a very quik Project this morning, and he would like you todo mount a quik perspective of it so he can impress the client and sell the Project.

Of course it is now 9:00h in the morning and he wants it before 13:00h, because at that time he Will have todo go out for lunch with important people in an expensive restaurante in town and he wants todo show them the image.

It is a Little appartments building, 12 historias high, todo be projected for some location in the city.

This is the thoroughly detailed piece of art your boss wants you todo transform into an image capable of hypnotizing the client. Before you could Even understand what is represented there, the boss went away todo call one of his very important contactos.

Since there is not much información shown there, well have todo invent a few things. This is quite common in 3d. The person who wants todo se the Project in 3d rarely has a complete idea of what he wants. Our boss, clearly, has no idea at all.

So dont be afraid todo invent, develop, do what you want, as long as he can recognize his design at the end. Actually we are going todo use this drawing as a base, but most of the things well have todo invent when we do it.

Just as a note, if you are new todo Blender, you probably Will ned more than 4 hours todo complete this tutorial, but i guarante you that when you know Blender well, doing this in 4 hours is perfectly posible, maybe Even faster. I hope that at the end of this tutorial youll believe me.
2. The preparations.

First thing we are going todo do is todo scan the drawing. If the drawing is bigger than the scanner, reduce it with the photocopy machine so it fits into an a4 sheet, or any format your scanner can scan. We dont ned much resolution. Scan it in greyscale (it makes smaller files) and any resolution Will do. Let scan it at 300 dpi, which is normally the default resolution on most scanners. It Will be much more than what we ned, but we might ned the drawing at a god resolution later, so better scan it one time for all. We only have 4 hours. Save it in Whatever format you like, but (*.jpg) (with at least 85% quality) is fine.

Now we ned todo clean the scanned image. Open your image in your favorite image editing programa. You dont have a favorite image editing programí then download the Gimp, which is a very god open-source image manipulation software. In fact, the Gimp is Blender best Companion. Many image profesionals Will tell you that Gimp is not god enough for them, but it is perfecto for architectural work, since we rarely ned todo work with absolute profesional color precisión.

How do we clean our drawing? We ned todo make it as clear as posible. So we Will:
1: open the image.

2: resize and crop the image todo what we ned.

3: increase the contrast between black things and white background using the color>levels tool.

4: if necessary, finish the cleaning by hand, using the eraser. Just erase what still very Dirty.

Now we already have a god base todo work. Or at least, the best posible. Last thing todo do, since we Will use this image as a background in Blender, is todo make a smaller versión, otherwise it Will Slow down your work much. Save a versión of the image that fits more or less in a 1000 por 1000 píxeles square. That should be enough for you todo se the details and for Blender todo work fast.
3. The base plan.

Now our image is ready for use. Let open Blender:

And locate, in the view menú, the background image panel:

That panel allows you todo load an image and put it in the background of your view. There are several interesting options here, play a bit with the blend value until it all looks comfortable. Next, a very important thing: we Will put that image todo scale. For that, obviously, we ned todo know what size the building is. Well, the boss didnt tell us. Well have todo guess. There are a couple of things we can se:

  • the elevator is easy todo se, at the center of the building. It has Stairs around it. An elevator is a square of more or less 2.00m x 2.00m. These types of common Stairs usually have a width between 1.00m and 2.00m, let decide 1.50m.
  • there are two Roms on each side of the elevator/Stairs box. Usually a rom has between 9.00m² and 12.00m², let shot for 11m². The proportion of those Roms looks something like 3/4, so that Will give us a Little bit less than 3.00m for the width. (3m x 4m would give us 12m²).
  • we can now estimate the total width of that building, it would be something like 3m + 3m + 1.50m + 2.00m + 1.50m + 3m + 3m =17m. Let put it at 18m, because we know that during a Project development áreas often tend todo reduce, because we architects forget a lot of things when we begin a Project. That 1m more is our Little reserve for later.

Now place yourself in top view (Numpad 7 key), in case you are not. Remember todo press that key again whenever you want todo get bak todo top view, now things are easy. We have a 18m-wide building. So let prepare it. Select the default Blender Cube and erase it. Instead, add a plane (space key menú, add Mesh, plane). Switch todo wireframe dislplay (z key) so we can se th rouge it, and get out of Edit Mode (tab key). Then:
1. Scale the plane (s key) so that its width occupies 18 grid units.

2. Increase values in the background image panel so that the image comes todo fit in the 18 units width. We can now se the building mesures about 17m in length.

In this example i choose todo work in meters, so i decided that one Blender grid unit equals one meter. I could have chosen something else, of course. I can a los do all the work in meters, when it is still early in the design process, and scale it by 100 todo work in centimeters later.

In all this exercise, we wont worry much about precisión (i have vague plans todo treat that in another tutorial), since obviously our boss is not worried about having a precise result. So we Will use much our eye and our sense of proportion todo determine the size of things. What is important, whenever you work without precisión in architecture, is todo kep in mind what is important, for example: you se in the second image here above that it is dificult todo know how todo scale the image. The Walls from the sketch occupy almost one meter. Should we scale it so our plane line becomes the exterior line of the wallí the center? The inner line? Lok at the size of the Roms: we talked about 3m x 4m, and it is more or less there. So for me it is ok. More or less is a perfectly acceptable dimension in architecture, as long as you dont forget what is important: in this case, the people who Will live there. Until the end of this exercise, always kep an eye on their spaces.

Now save your work (menú file>save). Dont forget todo save often during this exercise. An accident can happen easily.
4. The starting plate.

The most natural bien todo build architecture 3d models is todo do the same bien as they are built in real life: from the Ground up. Of course for diferent types of building you could imagine diferent ways, but this is a very basic building: it Will be like a big cake, with 12 levels and topping cream. So let start from the Ground. We Will build first our typical flor unit, since it Will be easy todo duplicate it 12 times, and we Will already have 80% of our building ready. So let begin. Let add a new plane object, that we Will remodel until it becomes our base plan:
We Will now begin todo extend our base plane, moving the 4 first vértices todo some correct position, then extruding and adding new vértices. First move (g key) the first four vértices (they are already selected) todo a god position, for example a corner (first image). Next, deselect the 4 vértices (a key) and select only two, that we Will extrude (second image):

Now the trik is todo analyze your plan, and look at where you Will ned divisións. We Will extrude (e key, then only Edges) our vértices several times, so we create vertical lines where we Will ned them. Dont forget you can force the extrusión todo go horizontal or vertical pressing x or y key while extruding.

You should se now why we didnt extrude the whole length in only one big extrusión, we neded vertical divisions so we can extrude the balcony above. Of course, it would have ben posible todo extrude once, and then divide (Control + r) the face several times, we would have got exactly the same result. In Blender, as in any god programa, there are always several ways todo obtain the same result.

In case you begin todo get confused with keyboard shortcuts, Blender has a quite impressive Toolbox, which is accessed by pressing the space bar, or keping any mouse button pressed for a coulpe of seconds. All actions that we are performing in ths tutorial can be accessed vía this Toolbox. I recommend you todo have a look at all that líes there. There is a los a hotkeys reference chart.

Very likely you have noticed our building is perfectly symetrical. This is quite common in architecture, a bad and old habit that comes from antiquity and that architects use a lot, because it is easier and they are lazy (though they may tell you any kind of other reasons). Well, for us it Will be easier.
We Will Simply add a mirror modifier todo our plan, and everything well do on the left side Will be a los done on the right side. We can do it anytime, but let do it now, so we have the pleasure of seing our work growing at double-speed. Switch your buttons window todo editing (f9 key) and locate the modifiers tab. Then, add a mirror modifier:

If you switch bak todo solid mode (z key) now, youll se that the work we have already done has ben mirrored, around the original center of our object, the one it had at creation time, that is, the place where the cursor was when we created the plane. By luck, it is exactly where we want it.

Let continúe, and fill the rest of our plan the same way: select 2 (or more) vértices, extrude, estopping at every change in the geometry.

If you activated the do clipping option of the mirror modifier, youll notice that you cant extrude anything across the mirror line. Very useful característica. Now there are still some subtilities of our plan that we couldnt achieve with extrusión. For example the lower part, or the curved balconies. There well do a Little more precise work, by cutting (Control + r) Faces or Edges, moving and extruding single vértices, and creating Faces (f key) between vértices:

Experiment a bit with all this, dont hesitate todo deleete some of your vértices in order todo re-extrude Faces correctly. You se here above that we can easily Cut th rouge Faces (Control + r with at least 2 vértices selected) todo create new vertex lines th rouge our Mesh. Do all the adjustments that are neded, and go out of Edit Mode (tab key) and put in solid mode (z key) todo admire your work:
When you are done, you should have something like this. If you still have imperfections, enter Edit Mode again (tab key) and work a bit more on it. Remember that you can extrude one single vertex (it Will produce an edge) and make a face by selecting 3 or 4 vértices and pressing the f key. Try todo reproduce the máximum of details, angles, holes, corners, because it Will look better under the light. They Will create more shadows. Dont hesitate todo add a bit more here and there. Remember, our boss Will have the Impression he created it. Just dont add todo much. Just interpret his sketch the bien you prefer. The best bien todo obtain god results is always todo model things you like.

Also, have a look at all the modelling tools you have in the Toolbox (space key). There is a los a chapter in the manual describing it all.

5. The main volume next thing, well put some volume todo our plane. There, well ned todo be a bit smart: remember how we extruded things in several steps, todo create vértices where we neded themí well do the same thing here. So we ned todo make a bit of planning: we ned todo know what heights we Will extrude.
We Will decide for a standard flor height: 3m. It could be less (or more if you build high-standard appartments), but let stick with something easy todo manage now. What elements Will we ned todo model on our façades? Well have Windows and balconies. That about it. So let se: balconies usually have about 1,10m. For Windows, it depends: what kind of window? Well certainly have big Sliding Windows that open todo the balconies. Theyll go from the flor to, let say, 2.20m high. Remember that nobody Will build anything based on our work. We dont ned todo be precise. We ned todo show more or less how it Will be. I know that with 2.20m ill be close todo what it Will be at the end, be it 2.10m or 2.40m. That enough for now.
What else. We have probably smaller Windows, for the kitchen or the Roms for example. We could make it from 1.10m todo 2.20m, right? so well already have the horizontal lines, and all those things Will be aligned, it Will look better. Again, if later itll be 1.20m instead of 1.10m, it doesnt matter for us now. Let kep it simple.

I think that about it. Maybe well have one of those small bathrom Windows to? Let put another line, let say they have 60cm height and are aligned with our 2.20m line, so their base would be at 1.60m.

So, resuming, well ned a line at 1.10m, one at 1.60m, one at 2.20m and one at 3.00m, the final one. So let do it: go bak todo Edit Mode (tab key), and select all your vértices (a key until all is selected). Extrude (e key) región, and type 1.10, enter. We just extruded all our plan todo our first line. Do it again 3 times, using 0.50, 0.60, 0.80 distances. If by chance your extrusión went in the wrong direction, undo it (Control + z) and force it todo follow the z axis (z key) before entering the distance. This is because Blender evalúates himself how todo place the normals, which is not always the bien we want them.

Great. Our first typical flor unit is already there. Well now ned todo Sculpt the balconies and the Windows. But first, same bien as we did the mirror, we could already have a look at how it looks with the 12 flors. Add another modifier: an array modifier. Put its options on constant offset, z: 3m, count: 12 like below:

Well, not bad for a start, our building is here already. Now the boss can come, things Will go faster. Vaya, dont forget todo save your work often, ¿ok? Blender might crash some time, just like any other programa.

Notice there is a small icon in the array modifier todo switch it of when you are in Edit Mode. Very useful so you can continúe todo work on your typical flor, but when youll go out of Edit Mode youll se how it looks on the whole building. So let begin todo work on the bak balcony. Select the vértices you dont want, deleete them, and extrude others todo re-form the geometry. Dont forget you can force extrusións and movements in a certain direction (x, y and z keys) and a los that you can extrude (or move) a certain distance Simply by entering it while extruding. You can a los recreate Faces when you have their 4 vértices ready by selecting them and pressing the f key, another trick, you can work on vértices, Edges or Faces by switching the corresponding button in the Header bar. Sometimes it is easier todo work on vértices, sometimes Faces, etc. Youll get used todo it.

That Will do it for now. Notice that i extruded a bit the Windows inside, so it Will give a Little shadow when well render. For the rest, y didnt detail much the balcony, but most probably well do a view from the Ground, so it doesnt matter much now. Let create Windows the same bien in other places. Since the boss didnt draw any window, we are free todo place them where we want, just like the ones here above. Try todo have them fit in the lines we already have, so those lines Will get reinforced, making our building look better, and itll be easier for us todo.

The living rom corner box wasnt very well drawn by the boss. This suggests he wanted something there but couldnt find an idea. This is where we can ACT, do something interesting, and he Will naturally think he the one who designed it. Fine for us. So let do something. By lowering the 1.10m line and raising the 2.20m line, y made a kind of big Glass aquarium there, so it Will look like a giant Glass column. And the apartment inside Will have plenty of Sun. You may choose todo do something else, fel free let finish it, make the front balcony, and put some last Windows here and there, on the front and on the staircase, at the back.

Okay. I think our typical unit is more or less ready. By now you must have underestod well how vértices, Edges and Faces behave, and how todo switch from one todo another. To remind you if you didnt find out, there are those small buttons in the 3d view Header, in Edit Mode, that switch between vértices, Edges and Faces.

Let get out of Edit Mode todo se how it looks with all the flors:

6. The fot and the head Alberti said it, a building is like a human body: it must have fet, a body and a head. Well, our body is already there, we ned todo provide a head and a fot. Let begin with the head: what can we do up there? Well have some Stuff, elevator machine rom, maybe a couple of technical Roms. We could just use them todo create a nice volume work. So let create a new plane object, and lift it todo the top, todo begin todo work.

Before we do that, it might be a god idea todo rename our body object, so later, when well have Many objects, itll be easy todo find it in objects lists. Locate where the object name is in the edit buttons below, an button. Rename it to, let say, apartments.

Now let invent something for the top: add a new plane, add a mirror modifier todo it, and place it above the 12 estoreys:

Ok, that Will do it for now. Later on we can refine it, but it is better todo arrive quickly todo a first displayable result. We dont have the whole day, remember. Let switch todo the fot. There it is more dificult, Many famous architects have had Many theories about treating the fot, over time. I Will stick todo a typical moretti-style fot: simple, estone, smaller. What Will we have on the Ground flor? I dont care now. Let just make it look nice, there Will be Many things todo put in it later.

It is always a god idea, if you dont have any idea about what todo do, todo make a small sketch, that you can put as a background if you want, but in most of the cases it is not necessary, just the fact of drawing something on paper is enough todo give you ideas on how you want your base todo be. After that, you model much quicker because you alreay know what todo achieve. When you get much used todo Blender, you end up modelling directly, as-you-think. For now, let sketch quickly something:

Fine. Se that i raised the body and the head 3.00m higher, todo give us space todo work. Alos remember that you have several view-related shortcuts (Numpad keys 1, 3 and 7) that can help you much todo position things correctly. Again, we are not looking for absolute precisión (this Will come in another tutorial). What we want here is todo give our building a quik god look. So that it, we have now a complete building. Ugly, but Compleete.

7. The Camera now things Will go easier. We already know how todo move objects. We have a Camera in the scene already, if you didnt deleete it. If you did, just add a new one with the space menú, then add, Camera. Select it and place it somewhere you like, and press the Numpad 0 key todo put the 3d view in Camera view. If your Camera is still selected, you can move it around, Even in Camera view. Useful shortcuts are g key (move), then x y, or z todo move in x, y or z directions, xx, y or z todo move following Camera own original x y, and z axis. You can a los look at your scene the bien you want, and then force the Camera todo adopt the current view (Control + Alt+Numpad 0). Now find a god view for our building.

You noticed our background sketch appears a los in the Camera view. This is of no importance, the 3d view background image is just for work, it doesnt appear in the render. But let turn it of, because we wont ned it anymore. Just go in the view menú, background image, then turn of the use background image button.
While we are at playing with cameras and view, let configure the rendering options already, so we can start rendering. Switch the buttons window todo rendering options (f10 key). Let se what we might ned here:

First we ned todo define the size of our rendered image, in píxeles. This is obviously set by the sizex and sizey buttons, on the format panel. You can specify already a big format, for final output, since Blender allows us todo do smaller render quickly by using the 100%, 75%, 50% and 25% buttons without having todo change the image size parameters. Let put here sizex:2000 and sizey:1500, which Will give us an image of 3 megapixeles, which is god enough for an a4-size printing. Let a los press the 25% button. Well do full-size render only at the end. Another important thing, the osa button, which controls antialiasing. It can be turned on and of, and has 4 quality levels, 5,8, 11 and 16. Let turn it on now and leave it on 5, so well have basic antialiasing.

Now. There is one big nice button labeled render that is just waiting for us. If you were able todo control yourself until now and didnt push it yet, well, you may now Kiss the bride, click it.

That it, not exactly stunning, we could say. If you deleted the default light or if by bad Luk it is inside the building, you might not se any light at all, your building is then completely black. This is just normal. No god illumination, no god image. Lets, then, solver that quickly, because the time passes and it getting late.

8. The lights lighting is by far the most important factor for creating god-looking images. There are Many ways and tools todo light a scene, and be able todo do it very well is something that takes much time todo learn. Well, since we just have a bit more than one hour, well have todo find some quik way. Ill show you here two quik tricks: a Sun & Sky setup, and a traditional photography Studio setup. Both are very quik todo mount and give you Fairly basic-but-god result. Gentlemen, todo the left, the Sun & Sky method, todo the right, the photo Studio method:
The Sun & Sky
Here you Simply use two type of Blender lights: a Sun and a Hemi (skydome). The Sun is a Lamp that has the particularity of having all its rays Parallels. This is the common bien we represent the Sun here on Earth, since the Sun is so far away that all its rays sem parallel todo us. The Hemi is a Lamp that simulates a skydome, or light coming from all directions. The combination of both recreates more or less what we have in real life. Insert those two lamps (space menú > add > Lamp > Sun and add > Lamp > Hemi) and place them more or less this way:

Note that the Sun has a los ben rotated todo point todo the building. That the direction of the Sun rays. Our shadows Will depend on it.

Switch your buttons window todo materiales by pressing f5 and give the Sun a Sun color, and the Sky a Sky color, like in the images below. And since we want our Sun todo Project shadows, turn on the ray shadows button in the Sun material panel. The Hemi Light cannot Project shadows, unfortunately.

Then, render again, and if you are not satisfied, play a bit with the color and energy parameters of your two lamps. The position of the Sun is a los important todo make shadows bigger or smaller. At the end, you shoud arrive todo a result like this one:

Your result can be a bit diferent, you can se that i kept the Sky intensity quite dark, because i like todo have strong, dark shadows, like if there was a very Hot Sun shining. You may want todo do something else, but always try todo imagine a real situation, it Will be much easier.

The classical photography Studio setup
This is a quik lighting setup that you Will encounter in Many 3d tutorialeson the net. It is the classical lights disposition used by Studio photographs. It is a los what they teach you when you learn traditional drawing. It is very useful in 3d, y always start with it when i still have no idea about what kind of lighting i want, or, like now, when i dont have time todo try other things.

That setup is made of thre lights disposed like in the Scheme below:

The first one, the Sunlight, has todo be strong todo produce Sharp shadows. Let make a spotlight (or a Sun light if you prefer), yellowish color, with ray shadows turned on. Refer todo the Sun & Sky method here besides.

The second one, the skylight, has todo be blueish, weaker, and Project software, blurred shadows. Create a spotlight, orient it correctly and turn buffer shadows on. Put bias setting todo the minimum posible, and raise the software value todo blur your shadow. Alos set clipsta and Clipend values todo auto.

The third one, the backlight, can be a simple Lamp, with a medium grey color. Disable its shadow, since shadow is expensive, we wont use where not necessary. Also, disabling the shadows permit the light todo cross the building and reach the front parts.

At the end, you must arrive todo a setup similar todo this one:

Of course yours can be a bit diferent. Try todo vary the height of the thre lamps so their focus áreas are not all at the same height. When done, render it, and you should obtain something like that:

You can se that both methods give about the same lighting, but the right one gives us much more control. Since the blue light is a real Lamp, not a simulation, we can place it where we want and it since it projects shadows, we can have nice shadow effects on the blue side, and we se the geometry much better. Also, notice how the down side of the balconies get illuminated todo.

You begin todo get the trick, dont you? More lights, more control. But be careful with that, todo Many lights make it very dificult todo control. Try todo stay with 3 lights, it enough for 99% of exterior scenes. When you play with light settings, try todo be very systematic: modify one setting, render, modify other setting, render again. Render again every time you change one setting. That bien you wont lose yourself. It takes a bit of manipulating todo achieve a god image. With time, youll get used todo it, and you wont ned todo render that often.

Also, se now why we set up the Camera before the lights? the position of lights, in the right case, depends on the Camera. When you make several views of a building, you usually ned a diferent lights setup for each. In Blender, you do that creating several scenes.

Last thing, dont forget todo take the god habit of giving a name todo all your lights (just like our other objects), so you can recognize them easily later.
9. The materiales.
Well, well, we are almost there, dont you think? Now let se what materiales well ned:
1. A base wall material, let make some sort of colored cement.
2. Another wall material for special elements, like balconies, why not try a wood?
3. A Glass.

Of course here the boss didnt specify anything, well have todo shot in the dark. Well, you must have a small idea of his color tastes, dont you? Bosses use todo have well defined color tastes. I would suggest making the base wall material in his favorite color. The material 2 should be a color that goes well with the first one. There is a site that quickly proposes you matching colors for the one you pick. Ok, we have our colors, let build the first one. Switch your buttons window todo materiales (f5). Select your appartments, and click the add new material button. A fresh new material gets created:

Let now fill this material with what we want. Play a bit with the thre colors values, and everything you find in the Shaders panel, so it looks more or less, básically like what you want. Ill pik a light orange tone, and put Spec value todo 0 because i dont want any Glow (it a cement, cements dont Glow. Yes i know in Quake they do but we try todo stay on Earth). When you are more or less satisfied, let choose a texture image for it, for example on cgtextures choose an image, and download it todo some place on your computer. Then, in the texture panel of our material, let click add new to, well, add a new texture. Then, switch your buttons window todo textures (f6).

The texture i chosed.

And the texture settings. Rename your new texture, choose the image type, and click the load button todo take it from where you saved it. That it, you have a new texture, made of your image.

Now switch bak todo material settings (f5). Notice that we have a pile of texture slots there, so we can add more later. Since we created our cement texture, the texture panel gained two more tabs: a map input, for specifying how the texture Will be placed, and a map todo for specifying what the texture Will afect. Let configure that for our cement:
These are the settings i chosed in the map input and mapto tabs. They are exlained below. Fel free todo experiment with all those.

In map to i activated the col button, so our texture Will affect the Diffuse color, and Nor which Will affect the Bump value (in Blender it is called normal). I reduced the col value (which, obviously, controls how much the texture Will affect the color) much. Why so much? Well, the image we tok on cgtextures, com is not seamless. That means, its left side doesnt match with the right side. So, when our image Will be tiled on the building, the seams between the images Will be very visible. Lowering the color value is a quik bien todo hide a bit those seam. If we had more time we could a los add another texture on top of it. The Nor value, which controls the normal effect, Will stay at 0.50 for now.

In map input i activated Glob and Cube buttons. Glob sets the texture scale todo global, meaning one texture image fits in one global Blender unit. In our case, one meter. The default orco means one texture image fits in one object, which would obviously give you diferent mapping sizes on diferent object sizes. Since we make real world materiales, we use the Glob one most of the time. We want our material look exactly the same on big and small objects, the Cube button tells Blender todo apply our texture as if it was projected from a Cube, instead of flat from above. This what we use in 99% of the cases in architecture.

Note the size parameters set todo 20% (0.20). How does that work? Remember one image fits in one meter, right? now, 20% of an image fits in one meter. In other words, one image fits in 5 meters. Our cement texture now is 5mx5m large.

Now our cement is ready, let test it. Remember we selected our building before making the material? Well, that means this material is asigned todo it already. So, let render:

Isnt that great already? We can se small problems, on the darker side we can se vertical repetition: 3 same clouds one above the other. We could solver that quickly by making the image twice bigger. Set the size settings todo 0.10. That should do the trick. We could a los apply another texture on top of it, with diferent size settings, etc. Texture repetitions are always a problem with image texturing, and we must always find tricks todo make it disappear. Another solution is todo use procedural textures, (all of Blender texture types other than image), which dont repeat patterns.

Now let make the second material. Click add new besides the material name. This Will create a copy of our cement.

Here i downloaded a Wood texture, then did add new todo in the texture panel (our new material was still using the cement texture), and assigned the new downloaded texture todo it. I left all parameters like they were.

Dont forget todo give proper names todo your materiales and textures. You certainly underestod now that materiales and textures are two diferent things and materiales can use Whatever texture they want, so be sure todo have clear names so you know what is what.

Now let create our third material, the Glass. Create it, remove its texture and give it a strong and narrow Glow (the Spec values in the shader panel), like below:

Note that we removed the texture (clear button besides its name) and activated the Ray Mirror button, and raised the Raymir value a bit. Vaya, there not much mirror effect appearing on the rendering. That mainly because there is nothing todo reflect, the mirror is reflecting mirror that is reflecting the blue background. To look god, mirror materiales must have something todo reflect. This Will happen right now.

Now we have our thre materiales, we must assing them todo our objects. There are two ways todo do that:
1. Split our objects by material, so each object receives one material.
2. Assign several materiales todo objects, and then control which of those materiales each face receives.
What bien Will we use? Well, you begin todo know me, you know which one well choose, dont you? Number 2 of course. The reason is simple, we want todo leave our objects the bien we modelled them. We wouldnt like todo explode our objects todo smaller parts, would we? What if the boss, in a creative crisis, decides todo change everything? Better todo kep our Stuff clean and easy todo modify. Let go, then. Select the appartments (which are probably selected already), and switch your buttons window todo editing (f9). Our appartments Will ned cement, Wood and Glass, so, locate the enlaces and materiales panel and create 3 material slots by clicking new two times:

Here we gave our object 3 material slots. Then, switch todo materiales (f5) todo fill each of these slots with a diferent material: se the same 3 (*.mat) 3 button? Browse th rouge the thre slots, and for each one assing a material. I put the Glass in slot 1, the Wood in slot 2 and the cement in slot 3, but the order doesnt matter.

Now our object has thre materiales, but we didnt tell which face receives which material. It is very easy todo do. Go bak todo editing buttons (f9) and then enter editmode (tab key). Put yourself in face selection mode (small triangle button on the Header). Then:
1. Select some Faces that Will receive a material, let say cement.
2. In the editing buttons, panel enlace and materiales (like the image above), select the cement material slot (mine is 3)
3. Click assing.

Now do that again, with all visible Faces, and then with the fot and the head of our building:

Dont worry, it is much faster than you would think. We cared todo model with few Faces, so there is not much work. You can switch of the modifiers in editmode, so it easier todo se what you are doing. The top part only has cement on it, so i created only one material slot for it.
When it done, render again, and there it is, our fully-textured building is done. Now, if there is time, we can make some small adjustments. For example, y found my Wood material a bit dark, so i whitened it a bit.

Now, we can relax, the boss can come, the building is there. But since we still have 15 minutes, let put some background and foreground, because the Glass still looks very bad. Remember, the Glass only reflects what around.
10. The background and the foreground.

The background
The perfecto thing would be if we had a real photograph of the place. In this case, we dont have any. But since the boss told us where the building Will be, we can go on Google Earth todo have a look at how the surroundings are. No ned todo be very precise here, but we ned todo know if the surroundings are buildings, small houses, park, something like that.

Then, we ned todo make a background. The Creative Commons site has a search function for finding images that can be used frely in commercal works, as well as most of flickr photos. Just look for things like city, hola, cityscape or your city name. You should find plenty. Once you have one, you may ned todo crop it a Little bit in your image editor, switch your buttons window todo world settings (f. There, youll se you can add a texture, exactly the same bien we did with materiales:
The texture i chosed.

And the world settings, notice that paper is turned on, and how you use the sizex y, z and dx, dy, dz todo crop the image todo exacly what you ned.

Now notice how our Glass improved, specially on the darker side. But on the front side it is still a bit uniform blue. We can do several things todo that, a common trik being todo add a hola or Sky texture todo our Glass material. In other words, create an artificial reflexión.

But since our image is still a bit naked, let add some real foreground objects, they Will serve the double purpose of being reflected and frame our composition.

The foreground
Here you can put all kind of objects: tres, Cars, people, stretlamps, we can add this as 3d objects, if you search a bit on the net youll find Many free 3d objects todo use, but the quickest bien is todo add images that have transparency in them. Traditionally 3d artists use todo put this in an image editing programa After the rendering, but it much better todo add them directly in Blender, so you can change your model, render again, and no ned todo open another programa again.

Those images with transparency (or alpha layer) are very hard todo find on the net, but you can find a couple of them free todo use on the blenderarchi site. You can a los Grab free samples from several texture vendors such as Marlin or got3d.

So, let take two tres from there and place them in our scene. Since they are images, all we ned todo do is todo make two big plates, or billboards, on the front of our scene, and make a new material for each, with our tree images as textures:

A couple of simple planes oriented todo face the Camera.

The texture settings for our new materiales, note the use alpha button pressed, this, of course, only works if our image has an alpha layer.

And the material settings. Here we have the a value todo 0 because we dont want the grey color todo appear, ztransp (basic transparency) turned on, Traceable and shadbuf turned of because we dont want our tres todo Project shadows on the building, and the alpha button in mapto switched on because we want the alpha transparency from the texture todo ACT on our material. I a los turned on Shadeless because these tree images are already lightened, so we dont ned our lights todo alter that.
Well, y think that it. Time todo do a big scale rendering. Put it at 100% in the rendering (f10) buttons.

Note that i a los made two more copies of our tres todo mask ha bit our entrance, since it is not very well defined.

Now it about twelve, all we ned todo do is todo print and give it todo the boss. Probably, he Will be bak from the meting with Many changes todo the building, but now, we know well be able todo modify it easily.
Well, that it, y hope you enjoyed. If something is still unclear or if you are struk somewhere, you can download the blend file of this tutorial, and if nothing helps, just mail me.


Yorique – yorik,
With big help from EON.

Vaya, there is now a sequel todo this tutorial, called modeling architecture with precisión in Blender enjoy.

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