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Making of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Barbara Witkowska 2014-03-12 15:03 tutorial  > 3ds MAX  > modeling

Barbara Witkowska shows modeling process of Archinteriors vol. 31 scene 02 - Nasir al-Mulk Mosque.

I want to show you making of the scene from the latest Evermotion collection - Archinteriors vol. 31. It presents praying room at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque (or Pink Mosque), located in Shiraz, Iran. I chose it for its beautiful, colorful lighting and decoration that gives wide possibilities of creating unique, mysterious mood inside.

In this tutorial I'd like to share my workflow and some tips about modeling main walls and domes of this interior.

As soon as I picked up dozens of reference photos, I chosed one that had photo camera information included.

I used it as a background image in my modeling software and set camera according to the photo information. On this base I could set scale nad proportions of my scene. I determined which segment of the building is repeatable. Then I focused on just that one piece.

EDIT: As a response to a comment below this article, I present more precisely how I started modeling, having reference photo in background (as a reference I used my own rendering, as I don't have rights to show here any of reference photos I based on).
I started from a simple plane, paralell to x axis of the scene. I assumed that the wall may be about 70 cm wide. Then I modelled an arch following y and z axis only. Used Symmetry Modifier, and then Shell to achieve some thickness of the rib. Voila!

Here is the process illustrated in animated GIF:


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Basing on photo reference in the background, I found proper curvature of formeret (entrance arch). I placed gizmo on crossing lines, pointed by peak of the formeret and traverse arch (perpendicular to the nave). To construct first pendentive I used Symmetry Modifier and Array Tool, with instance option selected. Having all ribs instanced let me fill free spaces between them very quickly. Then I prepared still instanced ribs to being merged and connected into single object. After that I chose its quarter, needed to build the first pendentive.

Click on image to enlarge02_01_1100.jpg

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I placed dome onto the first pendentive, chamfered sharp edges and then unwrapped whole object. I like to unwrap my models on early stage of work, especially when I intend to mirror or copy them. After these changes it's easier just to rearrange UVs instead of doing the same job for copied geometry. Again a lot of Symmetry Modifier in use to create first vault.

Click on image to enlarge03_02_1100.jpg

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Mirroring the first dome, little modeling fixes and again rearranging UVs, gives me basic, repeatable, piece of interior. Now I just need to copy one vault to have three naves. I also decided to move UVs of the following pair of my basic vaults, so that every second pair had different texture on. Finally I collapsed modifiers, added gable wall and unwrapped it.

Click on image to enlarge04_01_1100.jpg

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Rest was similar: I had to model repeatable piece of side wall, unwrap it, copy and merge with main walls. Result is model unwrapped into 11 UV tiles.

Click on image to enlarge05_01_1100.jpg

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You can see that the first and the second pair of my "basic" vaults have four different textures on them. It is repeated for following domes. Having such an amount of UV tiles helps when creating textures in Mari. To gather all 11 textures alltogether in 3ds max, you need to use Composite Material.

Click on image to enlarge06_01_1100.jpg

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Final result: quite low poly model and diversified texture.

Click on image to enlarge07_01_1100.jpg

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Thanks for your attention! :) Hope that it will be useful to you.

Author: Barbara Witkowska Editor: Michal Franczak
Tags: archinteriors
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mbialecki 15:43:42  |  12-03-2014
I realy do like it. Complex texturing, attention to detail. Professionally! Im waiting for more! Greetings to all the Evermotion team :)
d-neo 06:05:18  |  13-03-2014
Awesome :) Thank you for the making, truly inspiring work! The internal circular columns were also textured or modeled?
bazia 09:03:52  |  13-03-2014
mbialecki thanks for appreciation ;) d-neo good to know that my work inspires someone! Yes, columns were modeled in 3dsmax and then partialy sculpted in ZBrush to get displacement map. Textured in Mari, as I'm addicted to this soft lately :)
Nabil Abedi 11:22:27  |  13-03-2014
Amazing, I live in Shiraz and I should say that this is super realistic and also artistic :)
bazia 13:00:26  |  13-03-2014
Thank you Nabil, it's one of the best comments an artist can be given!
booommm 20:35:52  |  13-03-2014
Hi, I am really impressed by your work, however, I am also very frustrated because although I read the tutorial several times I am unable to grasp the first part of the tutorial, the procedure you used to get from the photograph to the curvature of the formeret. I also use 3ds Max, I know how to match the 3ds Max camera to the photograph loaded in the 3ds Max viewport, what I do not understand is how you managed to find the proper curvature of the formeret. How did you create the green and blue lines in the third and the fourth images? Did you make them in Photoshop or in 3ds Max? Did you use a spline to create the profile of the formeret and then extruded it to create the mesh? Did you create it by trial and error or do you have a more precise method? Maybe you do not have the time to explain all these details, if that is the case could you direct me to tutorials or books that explain this procedure, if they exist? Last question, the textures you created in Mari are projected from the photographs, hand painted, or both?
booommm 00:04:32  |  14-03-2014
Forgot to add THANK YOU at the end of the comment.
bazia 10:34:11  |  14-03-2014
Hi booommm, on top of tutorial I added more precise modeling workflow, according to your question. Hope it'll be more comprehensible now. Green and blue lines was drawn in PS, just to show you which part of the building is repeatable and on which I'll focus on when modeling/texturing. To create formeret you can use Shell Modifier, as shown above, or spline - as you proposed. There are so many methods! I modeled it by trial and error, as I don't have precise plans of the buiding. Besides, it was not my goal to make exact projection of interior, I just wanted to catch it's mood. Textures in Mari are hand painted on base of photographs. Thank you for questions, all the best!
rose 06:45:27  |  15-03-2014
you never seize to amaze us! Archinteriors vol. 23, was an earlier awesome piece you made and you did the Brilliant job again. :) Nasir - al - Mulk is one of my favorite architectural pieces in Iran and I am quite pleased the way you captured its soul in this image. Iran is full of such beautiful architectural and historical places and i hope it opens its doors to the world and more tourists get the chance to visit Iran and we see more of these unique pieces in games and movies soon, somethings quite new and mysterious.
booommm 10:48:43  |  16-03-2014
Thank you very much for your prompt and exhaustive answer, now I understand, the gif animation was a nice touch. Again, a wanderful piece.
bazia 11:37:13  |  17-03-2014
Thank you rose. It's so great to have feedback from professionals! For me, making this piece was also a great opportunity to discover part of beautiful architecture of Iran. I believe Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, along with many other architecture marvels, are worth seeing with one's own eyes.
bazia 11:39:17  |  17-03-2014
booommm I'm glad it was helpful. Cheers!
amir50 19:43:21  |  20-03-2014
hi-thanks but we neeed video tutorial of this can you upload it?
mamad73 18:32:27  |  22-03-2014
who is modeling this place with 3d?is he/she is iranian?
bazia 16:50:25  |  24-03-2014
amir50 I'm sorry, but now it wouldn't be possible as I did't record my work progress. mamad73 no, I'm not an Iranian.
bahador2010 07:18:04  |  06-04-2014
hi i have problem in connect the free spaces between ribs ????!!!!
bazia 10:13:32  |  08-04-2014
bahador2010 here you have short instruction: Since ribs are instanced, you just need to focus on one of them. 1. Use cut tool to get rid of unnesecary topology where ribs crosses. 2. To fill space between ribs, grab edge of one of segments, drag it while holding shift and snap its vertices to following, instanced rib. Do it for all five segments along the rib. 3. Add crossing lines to created "fillings" (again use cut tool or inset polygon, then collapse) and push out a bit middle vertex. 4. When it's done, convert all ribs to poly and merge them all together. Select all vertices and use weld tool with small tolerance value. Now geometry should have no borders between ribs. Hope it helped.
Mohammed A 19:41:15  |  01-09-2015
great work can u share texture used or sites for downloaded that??thnx
ishakblender 07:12:27  |  10-03-2016
i realy like this work. the texture and modeling is realy nice but the rendering is bad you should edit th lighting