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Creating Simple Roof Tiles Part 1


Majority of us archviz people encounter the roof tiles problem especially if we are not familiar with the right tools and procedures involving  3D max. In here Branko ( a.k.a. d.sign) show us his simplify method in modelling  just from a single line to a complicated roof tile. So let us now take a look and start designing our own pattern....


Hi everyone!
I think all archviz people encounter the roof tiles problem sooner or latter.
There are lot of solutions, but I thaught to show this one I developed based on some older and some new modeling techniques and tools in 3D Max. Surely any poly modeling app could do this in simillar way. So, if you do not like how textured roof tiles look, need something more believable and not so heavy and time consuming, take a look at this.

1. First we start with creating roof slope plane. I did it by drawing line in a slope position.


2. Extruding it in desired length. Then convert that to poly so we can work further with it.


3. Next we start with max edge tools. First step is to crate rows of tiles. To do that, start with connecting top and bottom edge of the slope plane. Number of connecting edges will determine the density of roof tiles. I used 30 as you can see on images below.

 3-creating rows.jpg

4. With created edges still selected, use edge extrude tool, to make the ridges. I used about 12cm for height and width of edge extrusion.With those new edges still selected, use chamfer tool to flatten the ridges. You can try different values for chamfer amount, make it as you like.

 4-creating rows.jpg

Now, look at the silouethe of the roof tile rows we just created. It already start to look like it should.

4-creating rows-silouethe.jpg 

5. As you can see, so far it is very simple and light geometry! We will try to keep it that way. Let us examine some more useful poly modeling tools.
In the right view, select first sloped edge in the row.

4-creating rows-ring select edges.jpg 

 6. As we need to select all the edges in that direction for next step, we could do that in several ways. One of the good ways is ring select option at the edge menu, as you will see on the images below.

5-creating rows-ring select edges.jpg

7. Now that we selected those edges, we will use connect tool again. This time we are creating separated lines of roof tiles. Number is again as you see fit. I used 11 as I recall.

 6a-creating tiles-edge connect.jpg

8. To finish this step, we will use again the chamfer tool to separate tiles. Use new chamfer option from Max 8, with open checked on. That delete polygons between newly created edges with chamfer command.

6b-creating tiles-edge chamfer.jpg 

 9. Now we come to the vital part of this modeling method.
In the front view, go to the element subobject level and select all the elements.

 6c-creating tiles-elements select.jpg

10. Then we use the rotate tool, but watch the mode of the rotate tool on the image below. Rotate the elements and you will see that each line of tiles rotate separatelly. Rotate them slightly to have overlapping of rows.

6d-creating tiles-elements rotate.jpg 

11. With scale tool, same mode as for rotation checked, scale lines of tiles to finish making overlaping tiles.

6e-creating tiles-elements scale.jpg 

Now look in the perspective view to see the result. One more thing is missing here - the thickness of the roof tiles

 6f-creating tiles-elements finishing.jpg

12. Add a shell modifier to the poly with value 2-3cm, depanding on the size of tiles. Now our tiles have thickness.

6g-creating tiles-elements finishing-shell.jpg 

Now we already have our tiling. We made one roof slope. Let us go in some detailing.

13.Next we could make rib tiles for roof pitch and ridges. We can do this repeating this procedure on single row of tiles or we can select one row at polygon subobject level and detach it as clone.

6h-creating pitch row of tiles.jpg 

6i-creating pitch row of tiles-detach.jpg

14. This new object we simply rotate and adjust position untill it fits to the peak ridge of the roof. Than we could copy it, or copy elements to make it big enough for the length of the roof. See images below...

6j-creating pitch tiles-finish.jpg


Ok, here you could ask the question on creating more than one roof slope.
With two, method is obviously simple and we can just double select and do all the same. But what if we want four or more roof slopes? What if we have broken slope or something more complex?
Well, here is the punchline of this simple tutorial - for more than one slope plane, this modeling would be more complicated. Probably the method would have to be a bit modified. That is why I do not go into the modeling for such cases. I use symmetry modifier, great tool that we have in Max.
I will show you how it works.

15. Apply Symmetry modifier to the geometry, then adjust symmetry direction, as you can see below.


If you use it with weld option checked on, wach for the size of weld threshold, it depends on your units, should be smaller than distance between adjucent points so it does not corrupt geometry. Or simply check it off.


16. Next thing you need to do is to adjust the position of mirror plane. Do that by going in mirror plane subobject level and adjust it using move and rotate tools.


17. If you want four roof slopes, rotate your mirror plane 45 degrees and move it so you get result as on the images below.


18. Try to experiment with this and you will see benefit of this approach. By simply moving and rotating the plane you can get concave or convex roof shape. Further more, you obtain oryginal geometry and you can add as many symetry modifiers as you need to get desired shape, repeating adjusting process for each of them. This also make the file less memory hungry than it would be if you actually model all the geometry. You can see some of the examples I modeled using this method.




Here are some projects using the same method




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