Saint Pauli Church


Seeing as I’ve started my first really big personal project, I figured I should set up a WIP-thread to keep me going. I decided to try to replicate the Saint Pauli church in Malmö, Sweden. Not only because I walk past it every day on my way to work and therefore can get all the references I need, but also because it’s a pretty cool building. This is the first hexagonal church that I’ve come across.

Some of my reference images:

And here’s my progress so far. Nevermind the crappy rendering and simple lighting.

I’m using Maya and mental ray, my plan is to create a complete setting with trees, benches, paths, etc. A long way to go still but I’m determined to go through with it! I’ve never tried to tackle modeling such a big structure before so any comments & criticism is much appreciated :slight_smile:


Hey Blinke its a very good start so far. You have captured the overall look of the building which is the most important. Not much to say at the moment i guess the harder part in this type of work is the more subtle deatailing that really sell it.

Its a beautiful building :slight_smile:


Thanks for the comment! I’m aware that there isn’t a whole lot to comment on right now, but I wanted to get the thread started either way. I have a feeling that I’ll run into more problems when I get further down to the more detailed parts.

Small update here. I’ve finished the windows and added some more details to the roof. Next I’ll be blocking out the shapes of the bottom level and work on getting the proportions right.


Is this project still Alive Anton? How are you going to texture it, may I suggest camera projections?



It is still alive. I’ve been on vacation for two months, which is why there has been no progress. Just have to deal with moving to new place this coming weekend and then you should start seeing some updates.

Texturing is gonna be a pain, camera projection might be an option. I really haven’t thought it through too much, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!


It’s been a while since my last update, other things have gotten in the way and my priorities have been elsewhere. Nevertheless I have managed to get some more work done on the church.

The modeling aspect is getting close to done. There’s still few details missing, like the little faces on the walls. I haven’t done much character modeling so those will be a challenge. I’m not planning on doing any real close-ups on anything apart from possibly the front door.

Next big challenge is the environment: trees, grass, bushes, buildings in the background, benches, signs, lamp posts, things like that. I’ve played around with making the grass and I think I can get that to work pretty nicely with some work. The trees will be trickier.

Anyway, here’s some renders of the church in its current state.


Curious what your global illum and final gather settings are for this. Looking great so far!


Thanks for the comment! Right now I’m just using physical sun and sky with the final gather turned way down to speed up rendering a little bit. It is by no means the final lighting setup.


Looking great! Might be worth adding an ambient occlusion pass to these renders as the the low GI levels hide some the details in the shadows. Really interesting structure.


Thanks! I’m aware that some of the details are lost due to the shadows, that’s will obviously not be the case in the final render. I made a quick render with an ambient occlusion pass so you can see the details better, as well as the stairs and rails.


Looks great! Nice clean modelling!


Nice job Anton! Looks great! Are you going to texture it?


Eventually, yes. For now I’m working on modelling some smaller objects for the scene as well as looking at making trees and grass.


Devil is in the details! :stuck_out_tongue:

You could quite easily project your reference images onto the geometry and bake the textures out, good thing you have easy access to the real church. All you need is an overcast day!


I haven’t dabbled much in projections, but I’ll definitely try and do it that way and see how it goes. And yes, it’s great to have the real thing so close by. I’m gonna have to go get some more reference photos of the surrounding areas soon, as well as detail shots.

For now I’ve made a sign, lamp posts and benches and made a first attempt to add grass. It’s obviously rough at this stage, both the placement and the actual geometry, but now I know that mip_binaryproxy works great for my purposes.

The hedges around the church are on their way as well. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of paint effects and actually managed to get an overall shape that I was happy with. More tweaking is required to get rid of the floating leaves and get a better internal structure.

All in all things are coming along pretty nicely! Render times are still sitting comfortably under 3 minutes for the full 2K image, but I’m sure that will change soon, hehe.


Using projections is a great way to apply textures onto multiple geometries at once. You would have to UV-map it all to extract the textures properly. To my knowledge mental ray for maya does not support ptex yet, but VRay do!


Very nice and clean modeling. Would be nice to see some wire frames though. Are you going to make normal maps for brick and other materials?


Looking good so far, can’t wait to see the building start receiving its textures, keep it up…:thumbsup:


Using projections is a great way to apply textures onto multiple geometries at once. You would have to UV-map it all to extract the textures properly. To my knowledge mental ray for maya does not support ptex yet, but VRay do!
I’m more familiar with mental ray, but I’ve been itching to try out VRay. I’ll probably end up experimenting with both!

Are you going to make normal maps for brick and other materials?
This is my first project of this size and I haven’t decided on a camera angle and composition, so at this stage I’m a bit unsure of what maps will be necessary. Any advice on this would be very welcome.

Here are some wireframes. It’s a bit messy in some spots but overall I think it works alright.

Edit: I forgot to mention, you can open the images in a new tab to get the full resolution.


Please upload this for some sort of historical archive when you’re finished.
That’d be amazing.