Making of Natanz Minaret by Alireza Seifi
First I need to thank CGArena team who gave me time for writing this tutorial. It was a chance for me to share some tips about Iranian Architecture and general approaches to make Ruined BRICK Buildings in CG. So let`s start.
Brick Place in Iranian Architecture
History of using Adobe (or Raw Adobe) refers to 11000 BC in Burned City Civilization (Zabol Civilization) in Zabol City/Iran. Afterwards, Adobe and Brick were used as important materials for making Monuments all over Iran and Mesopotamia. But public Brickwork decorating starts in almost 100-BC with rising of Parthians dynasty and reaches to its highest and most complicated levels in 1100-1300 AC (as seen in image).
In fact as a sacred material brick plays the most important role in Iranian Architecture. Other famous materials/techniques such as Stucco and Ceramic Tiles come then. It constructs and forms façade, interior/exterior and structure of a monument and “unlike the stone” it`s easily accessible at every Place. Of course after one or two centuries brick were gradually replaced by Stucco and Ceramic tiles for decorating the façades. Finally ceramic tilling with plant forms (instead of geometrical forms) was established as dominant method of façade decorating in around 1500-AC. However, brick didn`t lose its historical place in Iranian Architecture... Well, now after centuries we are facing many semi-ruined or very old brickwork monuments. Which making them in CG could be a good sources and attractive subject for every artistic historical based mind. However it has not been so easy to do in CG all the times...
Art of Brickwork or Brick Tilling has been the main method of decorating different Architectures such as Monuments, Tombs, Hospitals, Mosques (Mosques have been schools or scientific centers at same time in Iranian tradition), Minarets, etc.. at those ages. Bricks sit beside each other based on a geometrical plot that`s obtained from accurate mathematical calculations, finally they form the entire shape of buildings in many different creative forms. Even the Inscriptions are made from different brick pieces with different scales.
Challenging with ruined brick monuments in CG
Making bricks in a regular or fresh form is not a problem. You make a Normal Map for your bricks if they`re far to camera and render them very fast, or you make a Displacement Map and apply it to your model to use in close shots, Of course finally you should spend couple of times for Rendering Displacements. At all you have a plan and that`s only time that matters. But when you decide to make an “Old Looking” or “Ruined” brick covered buildings problems start to appear. It cannot be achieved by just a simple plan, so you need to choose some more complex or multi-method tactic. There`s a rule that applies to every ruined human made thing that`s: “You have to make something that`s a combination of Regularity and Irregularity “
Reaching that point in CG has not been so easy all the times. As a CG/Architecture fan I have always been looking for the best and fastest tools/ways for making ruined bricks, but I should admit I was not successful in getting what I want from softwares at past. But nowadays with improving softwares doing it is very easy and really worth of time. After lots of tweaking and trial and error in 3ds Max and Mudbox I`ve found some tricks that might be useful to “Ruined Architecture” fans. That`s what I am going to share with you.