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ArchiTools House

Tutorial: House

In this tutorial, we're going to build a 2 floors house. The tutorial doesn't explain in detail all the necessary steps needed to model the house but only emphasizes some points of interest.

The final scene can be downloaded here. The building shader uses Velouté, it will appear red if you don't have this plug-in.

1. 1st Level

Using the Wall tool, we draw the 1st level in the Top view. A real plan of the floor can be used as a backdrop to help placing the points on the 2D view. To load a backdrop, use the Global panel of the Properties Tray, choose a file for the Top view and enable it. Note that a backdrop image won't be visible if the interactive renderer is the Software renderer.

By default, the new points are snapped to the grid, but they can be freely placed by holding down the Shift key.

Here’s a what the 1st floor looks like:

2. 2nd Level

The second level is based on a copy of the first level: its general shape and main walls are the same. To duplicate the first level, you can use the Duplicate Level Under from the tool bar, or select the whole first level (Ctrl+A or double click a wall) and choose the Edit->Duplicate Over menu option.

Then the unused Walls and openings are deleted with the Delete tool or by selecting them and pressing the Delete key.

In order to properly place the Roofs later, there are 2 layers of wall in the middle part of the level. These extra walls will prove to be useful to clearly separate the outside from the inside.

3. Basement, Balcony and Terrace.

A basement floor the size of 2 rooms is added under them. To build it, simply select the 2 rooms and choose the Edit->Duplicate Under menu item.

We also add the missing balcony and terrace. The method to make these elements is described in the Apartment Building tutorial.

4. Roofs

Since we want to have a roof with a quite complicate shape, we're going to build it in 7 independent shapes. In the general case, a Roof is built over the whole last level. But a smaller Roof can be built by selecting a group of adjacent rooms and using the "Create->Roof" function. Extra walls can be temporarily added to get the right shape (see the tutorial: ArchiTools Roofing).

Next we set the altitude of the roofs: their maximum height is set to 5 meters. Then the Minimum height is adjust to obtain the wanted slope.

Finally the positions of the roof angles are adjusted manually to hide any gap between the different pieces. To ease the selection of the Roof points in the 2D view, the rooms can be temporarily hidden.

At this point, there's still a gap between the walls of the second floor and the roof. To fill in this gap, select the Walls and use the Wall Gable option in the Properties Tray.

5. Shading

By default, the house has 8 shading domains. But we’re going to need a few more to properly shade the different parts outside. To create a new shading domain on a part, select it and use the shading domains pop-up menu in the Properties Tray. When a new shading domain is created, a dialog asks for its name. If later this name needs to be modified, or if the shading domain needs to be erased, the list of all the extra shading domains is available in the Global panel of the Properties Tray.

In order to see and use these shading domains in the shading room, the shader must be a List of Parametric Mapping. The names of the different domains will then be displayed in the shading tree.

We use here the transparency channel to simulate wood boards instead of concrete walls for an outside cabin.

6. Stairways

The models used for the stairways are available on this website from the Download section.

For the stairway in the basement floor, we use the 2nd model, named Stairway_Thickness.car. To add it to the building, the stairway need first to be inserted in the scene (by dragging it from the browser to the Object panel for example). Then, in the building modeler, select the stairway in the basement level and add the model as a child.

The preview window, or the Assemble room, can be used to check the position of the stairway. We see here that its orientation is not the right one. To place it in the right direction, select the Auto Flip option. The stairway is then in the right direction, but in the wrong way. We still need to rotate it of 180 degrees. For that, select the Custom option, then enter 180 in the Rotate around the normal field. The stairway is then correctly placed.
Note that if you prefer to use the Assemble Room to place the object, it’s possible too, but after having selected the Free option. This option will remove all constrain between the building and the stairway. So the position of the Stairway won’t be linked to the hole position in the building anymore: if the model is modified later on, the stairway won’t be.

We use another model for the second stairway: the 5th one on the Download section, named Stairway_Angle.car. This stairway is placed using the same method, but since its guardrail is supposed to be higher than the top of the level, we have to use the Custom option to offset and scale it properly.

7. Doors and Windows

Finally we add Doors and Windows geometry to their openings. This step is similar to the one described in the Apartment Building tutorial.

The final scene can be downloaded here. The building shader uses Velouté, it will appear red if you don't have this plug-in.

© Copyright 2004 Julien Chaplier. All rights reserved.