Back to the 17th century – modelling a swedish castle

Last year, I decided to start a huge project. I wanted to create a 3D model of a swedish castle, namely the beautiful Skoskloster castle. Yeah, I know – it´s HUGE!

Oh, well – I love challenges!

During a lovley and really HOT summer day last year, I started the project with taking some reference shots. This is one of the most important steps when it comes to 3D modelling. To see how the structure looks like, experience its real world size and the mood of actually being there – and to have some guidelines of where to put all the points and polygons…

…that matters…

…a lot.

I´ve seen this castle before, and I revisit it from time to time (hard not to) – but the photos really proved invaluable. So, if you have a camera, find something close enough to what you want to model. It doesn´t have to be 100% exact – just close enough to help you along the way.

And then fire away shots from all kinds of angles. This will not only help you with modelling, but also with texturing and lighting.

I love visiting castles and landscapes. Besides the great adventure, it´s wonderful to learn and discover how nature and people build stuff…

Allright, as soon as I got home, I fixed some hot mint tea, sat down in my office and started to layout the basic model. At this point, I was just using simple primitives to get a sense of the whole model.

When the basic structure was in place, I used one of the reference shots as a background in Lightwave modeller – serving as a perfect scale reference. I was then able to carve out the arches for each of the windows.

Actually, a LOT can be done by simply using copy and paste. Once a single arch was done, I was able to produce all of them in a few seconds. After some beveling for the depth and some additional modelling on the actual windows a few days later – I had a basic model I was happy with…

At this point, since I´m not a modeller, but still wanted this castle to really look great – I handed over the model to a great friend of mine, Jack Tomalin from Redhouse Studios. Jack is one of the best 3D modellers / texture artists out there.

He has an excellent eye for details and he actually survives the work! 😉

I´ve known him for a few years now, and we´ve done a few projects together. Anyway, while Jack started enhancing the castle, I began to work on the garden and trees.

I had a big issue ahead of me… I wanted to squeeze in lots of trees. Not 30 of them – more like 300 of them. And they had to:

1) Look good
2) Render quick
3) Keep the polygon count down

Some nice issues to overcome, ehh?

After several days of testing, I found a way to pre-render the trees and then project them on flat polygons. It looked good enough, rendered amazingly fast and it also kept the polygon count down.


By that time, Jack had come a long way in adding details to the castle itself.

And a few weeks later, it was all done – UV mapped and textured – and looking fantastic!

I was stunned, but not surprised about the quality. Jack had done in again…

Just take a look at the windows…

Fastforward to present time.

I wasn´t happy with the garden, so I let another awesome modeller, Jason White – go wild with it. Jason is a great guy, and I´ve known him for many years. At the time Jack was done with the castle, Jason returned from a trip to the UK.

And what does every great modeller do?

Take reference shots…


He was back with lots of photos of castles, gardens and stuff. He also took lots of photos while being in Italy a while back – and guess what – he started to build something really cool…

The swedish castle, suddently got transformed into a mixture of english, italian and swedish style…

Who knows where all this will end?

It´s been a great journey so far, and I want to thank you Jack and Jason for being such great friends…

…and 3D modellers!


16 Responses to “Back to the 17th century – modelling a swedish castle”

  1. Kenneth Dahlqvist May 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    This looks real great. Been at the castle a couple of times and the model is really nice looking. 🙂

  2. Waldemar Belwon May 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Awesome Kenneth, thanks!

  3. Thomas Maurer May 18, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    this has really become brilliant 3D model
    This would be worth maybe once an exact Tutorial;-)

  4. Rose Marie Ash May 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Wow. Just… Wow. Words fail this Old Bat. The pictures of the actual castle itself, the 3D model, the sheer enormity of simply imagining, of simply sitting back and saying to yourself “Hmmm… I wonder what would happen if I put this to 3D.” I’m awestruck.

  5. Juan May 19, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    well, this is me first comments, and can only say one thing, actualy you are the best. maybe next time a spanish castle? XD.
    P.D. thanks for your trainig, by your “fault” I am learnig.

  6. Parker W. Woods May 19, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    This would make a good lesson on building items if you could furnish a step by step instructions.

  7. YourSunshineGirl May 19, 2010 at 4:56 am #

    When? 🙂

  8. Ron van der Schaaf May 19, 2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Wow, this really looks great waldemar… Can’t wait to get it and put it in action in my own daz studio, poser or carrara or cinema 4d or lightwave or… whatever.. i want to render it!!!

  9. Waldemar Belwon May 20, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Thank you so much for your nice comments folks. YSG: No release date yet. 😉
    And Juan – who knows – love the spanish architecture…

  10. kyoto kid May 20, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    …most impressive.

    So what modelling app are you using?

  11. pharmacy technician May 20, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  12. Waldemar Belwon May 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Me, Jack and Jason are actually all using Lightwave Modeller 9.6 64 bit. (And we love it!:)

  13. satellite tv for pc May 29, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    I’ve got to say, this is a great post and a great blog alltogether. wty1d8


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