HMC #23: Ansel Adams Tribute: TML (Aovesen)


Hey everyone, I will try to model a scene from the following ref. foto by Ansel Adams :

Arches, North Court, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona, 1968

This is my first challenge on this forum, so let me know if I’m doing something way off. I have been reading the faq and look forward to get started. Good luck to everyone, should be fun :slight_smile:


I found the following refs using google and googlemaps. I think I have a pretty good idea from which point the picture was taken. Next thing on the checklist will be perspective I guess.


Just did a super fast modelling session to set up the camera, light and main parts of the project. Its just to get a feel for the perspective and the lights in the scene.

Next up on the list. To replace these simple objects with more accurate models and get the building layout right. I’ll start some of the props today and hopefully get all the major parts placed correctly.


I started working on some of the bits for the scene, the parts closest to the viewer aka. us :slight_smile: have to be pretty detailed. Whereas I can get away with textures and bumps on the pieces further away. Here is a small workflow of the Pillars in the left side of the ref.

Next up is to more precisely lay out the buildings using primitives, when I know all the parts are sized and placed correctly I can start worrying about all the more detailed modelling.


wow great start already, i’m struggling with the idea of how or if we should do a full 3d model or just from the viewing angle as you seem to be doing. are we supposed to paint it too?


To be honest I had the same thoughts. And I decided to lay out the whole model, meaning that the main parts of the scene will be there and mostly modelled. I will post some renders as soon as I get them ready. About the texturing, its just for my own personal amusement really, I am trying to learn as much as I can along the way so been trying out some polypainting as well :slight_smile:


ok so I spent most of today working on setting up the building-blocks for the entire model. Here is what I got so far in a overview

I was also working on some more of the props for the front part of the image, like the metal gates. Here is a updated render from the camera spot :

Next up I guess all the lovely building details, should be loads of fun :slight_smile:


very nice … i think you’ve pretty much captured the camera angle.

maybe the tower to the left of the dome should be a touch wider though. It kind of hard to tell exactly but it seems a bit more prominent in the photo …


Your absolutely right Simjoy, I did a overlay in photoshop using the original photo as my ref and the 2 towers + the dome were way off, so I adjusted those and scaled them correctly. Thanks for the input its best to catch these things early in the process :slight_smile:

Here is the updated render, I think I got the camera angle and building positions/scales pretty much settled now


your breakdown really helps to show how great this photo is, the framing in the arches of these large geometric shapes with the smaller detailed moldings really keeps it interesting. so far its looking good!


I’ve spent my time today modelling some of the finer details and special parts of the buildings. The more complex stuff like roof railing and the tower pillars will be a tougher challenge I guess. Mostly just working with primitives and boolean operations and some edit poly processing.


remember on photographs there is a lens distortion on the camera shots so can throw off some proportions when doing a direct overlay matching. Also something to remember to do to your final render is to add a lens distortion to your image to make it more photo-realistic.

Good job so far I need to start


Wow really inspirational thread this. Do you build detail in the primitive on the towers or do you add detail over the primitive (tower)?
Just wondering what kind of process you use when detailing.

Keep it up :slight_smile:


The things I did on the towers so far are the arch cutouts and the facade details. I made a super fast overview of the techniques used in that process. I hope that covers your question, otherwise let me know and I’ll elaborate some more.


I havent had much time to work on the project lately, but I did have fun with the little lionhead statues on the archrailing in the right side of the scene. I know I overdid the details for something thats this small in the final render, but since this is a modelling challenge I enjoyed working on it.


i like the little lion heads, thanks for the tower explanation as well. i’m wondering about level of detail myself, should i model stuff you can only see from a foot away even though the pic i’m working off of is about 20 feet away?


You are doing great matching the original. Looks like fun.


aovesen, Appreciate you describing your detail process, tusen takk. :slight_smile:


I have been working on the tower in the right side and the roof-railing near the dome. Also I adjusted the garden wall a bit and the left front metal Gate.

I played around a bit in photoshop and came up with a greyscale version of the render, adjusted the brightness in some areas and added some noise just to see what it would look like, and here it is


I played around with a few elements today and did a bit of poly painting as a test on a small wall piece. I decided to try to model 1 of the trees in the picture and it ended up like this