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Free Autodesk Maya Tutorials: Modeling Tutorials

Building a Castle Part 1

In this tutorial I will show you how to build a castle from scrap. This is part I will explain the basics to you and we will create the basic shape for our castle as well. In the following parts the castle will become a lot more detailed and we will add additional buildings and ornaments and so on.

But for now, let's get started!

First, we have to create the basic shape of our castle. Leave an area open in one wall for the gatehouse which we will add later.


Question by user Amira:

To build the wall, I used the Mesh - Create Polygon tool, the wall was created but then couldnt build the basis for the pinnacles ? I have tried to select the face of the entire wall, Edit Mesh, Add divisions and then pull up (just like in the pinnacles of tower) but that did not work ? cCn you tell me where I am going wrong?

Answer by Lollylan:

In order to make it as clear as possible how to create the surrounding walls I have prepared this video for you. (My microphone is broken ATM so there is no sound, sorry) Doubleclick on the vid to watch it full screen.

No video? Get the DivX Web Player for Windows or Mac

Now, by using Extrude from the Polygonal Modeling Shelf we create a little platform (see picture).


Now we extrude the basis for the pinnacles.


And now we create them. Just create a box that has got roughly the size you want it to have and place it at one end of the wall (where we will have the gatehouse later).


Now we use something called Duplicate Special from the Edit - menu. Do not click Duplicate Special but the little box next to it in order to open up the options window.


You will get something like this:


Just play around with the numbers and hit Apply and look what happens. You will figure out the options window quite quickly, I am sure (to undo something that went wrong just hit [Strg] + [Z])

Remember the Translate - value (in this case it?s 0.6), for you will need it again later.


Now create pinnacles all around the castle (you will have to rotate your pinnacles in the corners!) until you have them on every wall.

If your pinnacles look something like this on the corners, don?t worry, You won?t be able to see the corners later, anyway.


Now, just group everything you have done so far, put the whole group in one layer and make this Layer invisible.

Question by user Jesus A:

How do I make the surrounding walls into a layer?

Answer by Lollylan:

actually, putting objects into a layer is fairly simple. Just select the objects that you want to put into the layer. Then go to the channel box (click the button on the top right of your screen, just below the Windows-[x]. A new panel on the right will pop up that has got 3 colored buttons in it, and possibly some information on the objects you selected. The colored button in the middle is the so called "Layer Editor". Click on it.

On the far right there will be a new colored button, a rectangle with a sun or something above it. Click this in order to create a new layer. With your objects selected hold down the right mouse button over the newly created layer, bring your coursor to "Add selected Objects" and youre done

Now we are going to create a tower. By just looking at the pictures you should be able to do what I did (I used Extrude all the time).




Question by user Amira:

Started off with a polygon cube, extrude face with an offset, extrude face again to build the first cube, but then I am stuck. How do u build that middle dividers between each cube and the other ? I tried to extrude and use the offset but still cant get the middle dividers, do u extrude inwards or outwards?

Answer by Lollylan:

In order to make it as clear as possible how to create the tower and the dividers I have prepared this video for you. (My microphone is broken ATM so there is no sound, sorry) Doubleclick on the vid to watch it full screen.

No video? Get the DivX Web Player for Windows or Mac

We could stop here, but as I want the scene to be very detailed when we are going to be finished I am going to add a hole in the top of the castle for an access, which we are going to create later.


Now, we of course want pinnacles on our tower as well, so we select the faces on the very top.


Now go to (in the Polygons menu) Edit Mesh -> Add Divisions and open up the Options Window for this one as well, just as you did with Duplicate Special a few minutes ago.


You should play around with this window, too, to see what every option does. These values worked for me:


Now select the faces you want to turn into pinnacles and extrude them.



If you think your pinnacles are too thin, just select the outer faces and scale them out and then the inner faces and scale them in.




Now we are going to create the stairs. Just create a box and now move the pivot to one end of it by hitting [Insert] on your keyboard (the arrowheads should disappear), then moving it and then hitting [Insert] again (The arrowheads should reappear).


Now move it into place.


We are going to use Duplicate Special again, but this time we will not only translate the box in negative y-value (the ?0.14), but each duplicat will be rotated by -10 degrees (again, just fiddle with the values until you have got what you want!)


The result should look like this:


Make the basic structures visible again now. You will see, that your tower is not the right size, so just scale and position it until you like the result.



The next few steps are optional. I would like to create doors in the tower in order to make people able to access it. I use the two faces I would like to have doors in:


Now I add Divisions?


? and get something like this:


Move the central faces like I did.


And then extrude them inwards like this:


If we look closely at the entrances now (I deleted the two faces that were not permitting access) we can see, that the stairs we created earlier end somewhere in the air.


We simply do exactly what we did before (Duplicate Special) and now they end on the actual floor.


Now, group everything that belongs to the tower into one group if you haven?t done so yet, duplicate this group three times and move the new towers to the other corners of your castle (don?t forget to rotate them!)


Add everything to the layer you created earlier and make it invisible. Now we are going to create the gatehouse. First, create something like this:



Create another block now, a little longer than your gatehouse is wide.


Move one border a little (see picture)


Now move the block into the gatehouse and bring it?s pivot to the center of your scene.


Duplicate the block just as I did (the values might be slightly different)


And now duplicate your block like this (if you look at the result you will understand what I mean):


Your gatehouse should now look like this:


Select everything now and duplicate is. Now scale it (in my case in Z) by -1, and you should see this:


Move your newly duplicated half of the gatehouse closer to the original one and the result should be something like this:


Make everything visible again and scale your gatehouse (you should have created a group for the gatehouse!) until it fits into your scene.

Question by user Joost:

I have build the gate but now i dont know how to get the duplicated part attached to the original part?I tried to use the different merge tools but failed. What am I doing wrong?

Answer by Lollylan

Basically there are two answers to your question:

  1. You simply don't. If you named your blocks and other parts properly, there is no need to combine them. If you want to texture them later you can simply select the parts from the Outliner and apply the shader to the selection.
  2. If you really want to have them as one you have actually two options:
    • Group them by selecting the objects and hitting [CONTROL] + [G]. You'll see a group in your Outliner now with which you can select all the parts at once, or, if you want to cange only one or two of the group's "members" you can still do so (hit the little + next to the groupname in the outliner and the members will appear).
    • If you really want to have the parts as one object, merging them won't help you. Merging creates one object, but the new object has to be build like an ordinary polygonal object, so you end up with a usually rather bad result and not what you're looking for, meaning the geometry has changed. You can, however, COMBINE the meshes (in the Polygons menu [Mesh]->[Combine]. You'll end up with one object, and if you click anywhere on it you'll automatically select the rest of the object as well. The big advantage of this is, that your geometry stays the same, but you have got all the advantages of one single object such as scaling, rotating and texturing.


Now add pinnacles to it just as you did before and the result should be something like this:


Not bad, eh? We will add further detail in part 2!

Continue with part 2

Added: 2008-02-01 by Lollylan

Do you have a question about one of the tutorials or are stuck somewhere? Feel free to contact me. I am always glad to be able to help!

Latest update

28.11.2010: An all new videotutorial is up and running (3 parts so far): The Domino Effect (Dynamics) 2