Ancient Greece - Tebe 3d Reconstruction


hi! i’m working to a photorealistic recostruction of Tebe, for an indipendent short movie… it’s my first “city” ahahaha and i’m not happy about the result…

i will post the first version and the last version

First Version


i’m working with 3dsmax+vray (and vue 10 for mountains)

someone can help me to improve my skills? thank you! :smiley:


Hey man,

Could you tell us a little more about your project? What kinds of reference material are you using? Does the camera need to move in your shot? Are you going for a completely realistic look, or stylized?



hi! i had an archeological consultation with a friend about the placement of the buildings and its structure, plus some picture of athene

something like this

about now the camera doesn’t need to move in the shot (it’s a background for some chroma key shots) except for an aerial shot integration, but is full of fog and very distant.
anyway i don’t care about the “work” itself, it’s a good time to improve my skills and experiment different ways to make it better… i wish to make it more realistic as possible!

ps: i suppose the problem is the large scale… when i made buildings with textures and rendered closer details… it looks well, but all together loose a lot…

vray is working with lightcache+irradiance map, both with higher values…
i’m not using antialiasing, dmc samples are at 150 and noise threshold at 0,001

thats all :smiley: thank you for your reply! |m|


Hey man,

Can you post a few stills that show the rough outline of where the characters will stand? Has the footage been shot yet? It would help us to help you if we had a better understanding of the shot as a whole, and what you hope to show with your composition.



I think what you have looks great! This is the kind of project I’d love to do sometime in the future.

Can you show some details? Just a greyscale render would be fine! It’s hard to tell from the renders you’ve given but I imagine there’s not enough details to make it realistic.


this is a sample of shot… a test with color grade


thank you! i will render some details, i just saw your work with the cathedral… it’s fantastic! now i know what you mean with “more details” ahahahah :smiley:


Hey man,

Could you maybe post a still of your raw plate? How well planned was your shot? I think there are some fundamental flaws with your composition so far. The more info you can provide, the more people might be able to offer advice on how to improve your piece.



I think your models are looking okay so far, but your city looks uninhabited, and is lacking in atmosphere. Your textures are also too clean - give them more character by adding in some weathering and dirt to make them look like they’re part of the real world. Greece has a pretty harsh climate - I visited Athens some years back and in the few days we were there we experienced everything from thunderstorms to baking heat. Show some of the effects of those extreme elements in your surfaces. I worked on the city of Argos for Clash of the Titans, and we spent a lot of time weathering the city to look real. You don’t have to make everything grimy and filthy, but you definitely need some wear and tear. I hate using my work as an example, but there are a few shots of that city in my reel:

To make your city feel alive, add set dressing - stuff like market stalls, barrels, scaffolds, pathways, and, well, people! A good reference for this would be the Assassin’s Creed games. They did a great job of making the cities feel alive.

Lastly, atmosphere is really important. Lighting is a big part of this but also colour grading and atmospheric effects like distance fog, smoke, volumetric lights, etc.


O_O ok, i saw your reel… thank you! very inspiring! now i know what to do… restart from scratch and do it in the right way ahahahah :buttrock:


hi! i’ve made some changes… after a little bit of study about zbrush architectural modelling (and new skills about painting)

i remade some buildings, added weathering details, made new mountains in vue and added real fog (this should be a sunrise scene)

i’m still not happy about the result, but i suppose that make something similar to arrghos in clash of the titans is to much for one man ahahahah

anyway i’ll still try something new (or it’s time to pay a workshop ahahahaha)



That’s actually a nice improvement, but a few tweaks would improve it even more! Look at this photo:

Notice the nice reflections on the tops of buildings - try adding that to your scene; you could do that by increasing the reflectivity/specularity of the rooftops. Since night time is often accompanied by moisture, rooftops can be wet in the mornings, resulting in strong highlights. It also looks more beautiful.

Another important thing is that contrast should increase closer to the viewer, with the distance being the foggiest.


thank you! your posts are very inspiring! today i worked on roofs (both geometry and material) and made some changes on the haze… this is a test about the image you posted

i tried to maintain more detail, but still need more work… and probably a different lightning

this is with less haze and a bit of fog, and it’s not bad!

i’ll start from this detail, mountains back could be better

thank you very much for your advices! :buttrock:


last update! working more on haze and changed light to the back :smiley:


Wow yeah that’s a huge improvement! You’ve come a long way with this image! I still think a few people and more set dressing would look cool but in terms of atmosphere and surfacing, I think you’ve done a good job.


Very nice! This has really come a long ways since your first render.

Are you using a procedural noise on world space for your dirt on your columns and marble? It might help to offset the UVs on your columns, or maybe increase the frequency on your dirt. They look too identical.

The terracotta roof tiles on your hero buildings looks too shinny, and they look almost like fish scales. Those things are pretty matte. It also looks like your UVs aren’t even. I’m not sure if your trying to make the tiles different sizes and shapes on each building, but it looks off.

You could maybe make the tiles a slightly different color on each building, and have them at different states of wear. The roofs might also be bowed in a bit or be a little wobbly. It also looks like on the older buildings in Spain and Rome, they add a stack of tiles on the corners. That might help to bring out your corners a bit, and better define the shape of your buildings.

Maybe some smoke from fires in the distance might add some life to your scene as well.



thank you leigh, i think it too ahahahah :slight_smile:

thank you AJ1! about the roof tiles are “geometrically” made with bazal roof designer… and here is the problem, they look flat and noisy! but the geometry is perfect and real (and in scale)… could be a vray settings problem? i’ve already tried some tweaks with antialiasing, decreasing noise threshold to 0.001, and other tweaks in the dmc sampler… but still looks flat, the only way is increasing the size of the tiles, or changing the angle of the cam… but i don’t want it aahahahaha

that’s a detail on the roof

thank you for your advices! i will try these changes! :slight_smile:


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