Hi everyone, I’ve been given the opportunity to show you how I made my latest 3D project: the medieval, German imperial crown (“Reichskrone” in German).
As I wanted it to resemble the original crown (today in Vienna, Austria) as good as possible I had to do a lot of research. I started with looking for many reference pictures, mainly detailed photos since they wouldn’t lend the crown to me, I guess. I gathered information on its dimensions and studied all the details of how it’s built which was pretty hard with only blurry references.
Modeling was very basic at the beginning. I had to find the correct octagonal shape for the body at first which wasn’t regular as I soon discovered. I made some dummy objects just to find out what the crown will look like later before I go into real modeling.
Then I started with a regular hinged object for the plates and subdivided it in 3ds Max using smoothing groups to export it to ZBrush.
Matching and Retopology
One tool I used all the way was ZBrush’s ZAppLink plug-in. I took a “screenshot” of the modeling out of ZBrush via ZAppLink and in Photoshop laid a matching photo reference on it to see how far my model resembles the original. This way, I could easily change the outer shape of the model in ZBrush until it matched the reference.
Then I masked out what would later be the holes for the stones and pearls to be lit from behind. I exported a lower subdivided mesh back to Max and retopologized the whole plate to have real mesh holes I can work with.
I basically modeled everything in 3ds Max and put it into ZBrush for further subdivision, sculpting and fitting at the right place.
The furrowed pattern of the small wire parts had all been hand-sculpted in ZBrush since there were all kinds of sizes and shapes which needed my personal attention in order to keep it the way I wanted it to look like.