Using Texture Maps for Quick Modeling of a Complex Facade

It may well look like a lot of work, but this early 20th century downtown building was remarkably fast to model, and ray-trace rendered to this size in only 94 seconds on a fast machine. This tutorial will provide instruction and experience with texture maps and the use of Copy->Links. Like any other building of its kind, there is a lot of repetition, so instead of modeling the whole building, we just model a single room and use it as a building block to create any number of rooms and floors.

We begin by modeling the front wall of a single unit, then adding inner walls and ceiling to complete the unit. Then we use links to build whatever size building we want. Finally we add the cornice molding to the top and awnings along the street level. The texture maps used are below. Feel free to use or modify them when you work through the tutorial.

It is assumed that you have at least a basic familiarity with Shade's menus and how the main tools work. While the tutorial goes into considerable detail, it is not aimed at absolute beginners.

We will be using a diffuse map, bump map, transparency map and a reflection map. To make sure that they are all in register, a template was made with defined areas for each of the textures.

The template and subsequent maps were created in Paint Shop Pro, using the grid to keep things consistent.

First came the Diffuse map. The area for the red brick was selected with the Magic Wand and the brick was generated as a seamless texture using the Alien Skins:Texture plug-in. It allows one great control over the size and pattern of the bricks, colour, amount of detail, colour width and depth of mortar and so on.

Next came the yellow bricks at roughly double the size of the red bricks, with a simpler pattern. Also seamless. The hue of the yellow brick was sampled and used for the sandstone corbel and surrounds of the windows. The windows were selected and inverted to black.

The Bump map was derived from the Diffuse map, using the threshold function in PSP. The proportioning slider was used to set the break point between black and white, to retain the fine detail.
The same map does double duty as a Transparency and Reflection map, since only the windows are transparent and reflect.
Two maps were used for the room interiors. They were rendered in Shade. This is the back wall of each room and below is the side wall. Both are very simple and quickly done in Shade. Since they will be quite small in the final render, they do not need to be highly detailed.
For those who are working through the tutorial, feel free to download these maps to expedite the process, or feel free to do your own.
©2008 Larry N.Bolch