In 2017, I decided to build an art nouveau door using Blender. I felt that this would be a significant challenge for my skills as they were then. This post is how I went about that. It is not so much a tutorial as a record of my efforts.
Step 1: Inspiration and initial design
I like to start by finding something upon which to model my thoughts. In this case I really liked the following door that I found on Wikipedia.
I decided that I was not going to completely replicate the door in the picture, but just get the essence of it. To do this I used MS PowerPoint to draw a rough draft of what I wanted to achieve. I use PowerPoint because it permits me to draw very simple shapes and, at the end of the day, most objects are made up from simple shapes. Notice that I created two objects:
- the hole in the wall for the door
- the door itself
As you will see, my vision was to create 4 elements in Blender:
- a wall with an appropriately shaped hole
- a door (including stained glass window)
- a top window
- a side window
Step 2. Import to Blender
The next two steps I won’t detail as there are plenty of tutorials online. But in essence what I did was:
- Use the snipping tool to take a copy of the PowerPoint design and save as an image.
- Use Adobe Illustrator to convert the image to a vector.
- Import the vector into Blender.
- Extract the object so that it is 3D
The result is shown below
Step 3: Configuring the model in Blender
Once I had the rough shape as a 3D model, I start playing with it. Shaping parts of the door hole outline.
I then add the door and add some steps and some skirting.
The door itself needs to open and shut. The trick of this is to select the edge of the door, snap the cursor to it and then in Object mode use Object -> transform -> Origin to 3D cursor.
Step 4: Texturing
I unwrapped each of the objects as per below.
For the wall I used the following material design.
Step 5: Adding depth
In this case I used Adobe Photoshop to create a Normal Map. This said, it is possible to create a normal map with any number of tools, for example NormalMap – Online. Simply turn a texture to greyscale and made light points where you want the texture to have height, and dark points where you want depth.
I then added this normal map in Blender.
This done, I felt that there were a few problems.
So I returned to Photoshop, changed my texture to accommodate the problems identified and then re-did my normal map. During this I raised and added to the skirting quite significantly.
I then did the same process with the door.
To be honest, I felt that the outcome was fairly average. But I did learn a lot during this.