Autumn City Hall – Update 19

I finished the cartouche structure that will sit on top of the archway balcony. With the help of an artist on Blendswap, I was able to decorate the oval pretty quickly. I added cornucopias, leaves, and acorns to continue the harvest theme. I sculpted a squirrel head for 3 reasons. 1) I love squirrels 2) continue the harvest theme again 3) The neighboring city is called Moosnick, a bad English translation of the word squirrel in Algonquican, a Native American group. The A will probably be etched into the stone without any color, but the date will stay.

Autumn City Hall – Update 18

Lots of distractions recently, but here is one of the most recent shots of the front archway. I’m having some normal issues with the low relief images within the frames, but I’ll have to sort them out later. I used a lot of harvest objects to decorate with including acorns, leaves, and vegetables. The area inside the wreath is darker because it’s a hole in the wall. There will be a stained glass skylight on the other side that I’m hoping will cast some color through the hole. The entire structure here is high poly, but I’m satisfied with the result. Next up, I’ll post an image of the top sculpture.

Autumn City Hall – Update 17

I thought I would show you all the very quick test animation I did of the flag. You can see that I still have some work to do on the animation.

I also wanted to show the drawing in progress for the archway ornamentation details I mentioned. There are quite a few classical details like cartouches, wreaths, and festoons. I’m looking forward to modeling them and seeing the clay renders.

Autumn City Hall – Update 16

I finished modeling the roof cresting, but I don’t have a render of it yet. I jumped to another part of the roof, the flagpole!

Even a seemingly insignificant part of the building, like the roof flagpole deserves some love so I researched this as well. I did my best to find authentic flagpole “technology” like the truck/pulley design at the top. The poles of the late nineteenth century were still made out of wood so that factoid will help me with texturing it.

The flag is a 38 star American flag from 1877, a year after Colorado entered the Union. My building was constructed between 1881-1889, before the next flag change happened in 1890 when the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, and Washington were added.

I worked on an animation (first one I’ve ever rendered), but it’s pretty jerky. I had some issues with the cloth simulation because the rope is not a loop. The bottom end is connected to the flag, and the top of the flag is connected to the top end of the rope. I tried vertex parenting, but the bottom end of the rope had nothing to attach to. I would love some advice on having two objects pulling against each other in a cloth simulation.

I also was curious about my rendering time. I tried out motion blur at .5, and while I understand that this would be taxing on my computer, it varied widely on render times. One frame took 8 hours while another took 2 minutes. I started it late on the 8th, and it’s still rendering (108/120). I’m assuming that my simulation was so jumpy that some frames included a lot more blur to compensate. Anyway, I’ll come back to the pole and animation, but for now I’m happy with the progress of the model.

Next up I’ll be working on ornamentation design for the entrance archway. To the drawing table!

Autumn City Hall – Update 15

Here’s another view of the front entrance, this time with the grand staircase in place. The brass railing will probably be removed since it looks like a modern addition. Either that or I’ll make it more elaborate to fit the style. My first attempt had the stairs too steep for the building type, and it looked scrunched up. It’s funny how adjusting little details by a few inches can change the look of the entire building.

I added some lion statues that I picked up from, but those will be replaced by sleeping bear statues that I plan on sculpting. I’m not sure if I want two mirrored versions or one big bear and some cubs on the other side. I’m intending for the visitor to feel as if the mama bear is keeping an eye on them as you walk up the steps. I would love to model the statues and be able to turn them into desk figurines or bookends in the future.

I’m starting to get into the smaller details like sculptures, reliefs, etc. The time is moving so quickly, and my progress feels a bit sluggish for my liking. At every turn, I realize that I violated some classical architecture rule and have to find a way to adjust it. I’m a stickler for tradition and accuracy. Oh well, I knew that going into this!

Next up is the roof cresting. Would love to hear thoughts about the project’s progression

Autumn City Hall – Update 13

Here is a lineup of classical columns I modeled for the facade. They are very traditional without any creative alterations – who am I to mess with centuries of success?

As you can probably guess, the corinthian capital was a pain to model. I may go back and make a composite capital, but I’m a bit worn out at the moment for that now. I haven’t marked which columns in my current building will be which type so I’ll be testing out different schemes. The classical order is to have the simple doric columns on the bottom floors and transition to the ornate corinthian, but I’ve seen different setups so who knows where I’ll end up.

I wanted to see a few columns lined up to get an idea of the finished result would work. I also messed around with the color management film settings. In the back of my mind, I also wanted to turn my renders into a late 20th century cinema look so I was indulging in that here. Eastman Double X Neg 4min film setting.

Autumn City Hall – Update 12

Alright, here is one of the ornate window surrounds I mentioned in the previous post. The current material is a node setup provided by Aidy Burrows from This type of window is called an oeil-de-boeuf, “bull’s eye” in French. I love the look of these windows and designed this one using my favorite elements from various references I found. The actual window will be added later.

Autumn City Hall – Update 11

This last week I worked on the window surrounds for each floor. It’s been tedious since each window has a unique profile. My original placeholders had the overall shapes down, but none of the details so that had to be worked out.

You can see in this clay render the basement windows are done. The first story has the original placeholder on the left and two options next to it. I decided to go with the middle one based on real life references, although that may change later.

Ignore the materials in the second¬†render. I was testing various node setups to see how it looks from far away. Each story now has its default window style. I’m currently working on the ornate window surrounds for the mansard roof. The cornices for each level are also modeled.

I feel like I’m bouncing around now, but there are so many details, and I’m afraid of losing steam if I concentrate on just one. My next goals are the balustrades and columns.

Autumn City Hall – Update 10

I said I would get very detailed, and this week I felt the effects of that statement. Using old 19th century diagrams, I recreated an authentic double hung sash window. I modeled every part and rigged it using constraints. The windows open, the pulleys turn, the fastener locks, and the cord slides up and down. Now that I have one window modeled, I can use it as a base for the other windows, including the ones with more panes.

There aren’t any textures yet, and the stone work is still just a placeholder. I’m happy with the results, but it’s only gonna get harder from here to preview the building since my computer is already having trouble with cycles viewport rendering. I’ll have to keep layers separate, use duplicates when I really have to, and just manage.

Now I need to clean a few edges up and then move on to the next part, the cornice for the basement.

Autumn City Hall – Update 9

I started experimenting with the building materials last week. I attempted to see how far I could get with fully procedural textures. The stones and tiles are made up of arrays with some displacement. My computer will probably not be able to handle that many polygons so I might have to replace these with textures from Substance Designer or bake these out.

Today I’m working on fine tuning the stone scaling to make sure the whole building is built proportionally.

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