Medieval castle - Norman style
Updated: September 20, 2006; April 30, 2011
Please check the awesome Kerkythea images
sub-section at the bottom of this gallery
for realistic rendering using physically accurate materials and lighting. Bloody amazing.
I'm a great fan of medieval things - history, cultures (or their lack thereof), literature, but most of all the
heraldry, weapons and architecture. For some obscure reason, words like glaive, coif or bailey appeal to my
twisted sense of taste. Recently, I have begun drawing a number of castles. So far, there are four castles ready
for exhibition. I have loosely based the first one on English architecture. It's a fairly massive castle, with
solid curtain walls, five corner towers, a fat keep, and a moat. King Arthur would probably feel at home inside.
One of the cool things about Google SketchUp is that any textured image
can be used as a paint. Indeed, after downloading a number of images of masonry and roofing material, I have
found some to my liking.
I must confess that I did refer to the Google SketchUp 3D
Warehouse for some nuisance items like crates and barrels that I felt were too unimportant to spend time
working on - which, I must admit, add a nice touch to the overall impression. Since I have completed this project
quite long ago, I can no longer accurately recall all of the names of people who should be credited with their
work. If you are one of these people - or know them - please contact me and I will credit you (them) in the
relevant galleries. Now, curtain up. The main feature. It took me about 25 hours to complete.
Imagine you're a bird, swooping lower over the Welsh plains. Lo and behold! An English castle is right there
in front of you.
To enter this castle, you need to walk a long span of a drawbridge, watched by the keen eyes of bowmen high on the
battlements. On both sides, a moat, filled with murky water.
At the slightest sign of a danger, the guardsmen will raise the bridge and a massive, rusted portcullis will crash
down, sinking its claws into the ground. From dozens of arrow loops, soldiers will watch your every step.
English longbowmen are known for their skill and will not hesitate to shower you with bodkins.
Inside, just before you exit the long, barrel-roofed gatehouse, you will pass beneath a murder hole.
Just inside the bailey, there is a low wall built, fronted with a row of stakes, aimed at shattering an enemy
attack should the gates be taken.
This is what it looks front inside: a small balcony above the murder hole, a long flight of steps leading up onto
the battlements, a stables, the low defense wall. You're inside the inner court of the castle, called the
Deeper in, you can see the thick clutter of structures that make the heart of the castle. On the left, there's a
stubby turret for locking up shrewsome maidens. In the center, there's a keep, with fancy masonry and flying
buttresses all over. Behind it, you can glimpse the armory.
By the way, buttress is female form of butter, although you can probably use butter to create bridge-like
connections between buildings only in extremely cold climates due to the low
melting temperature of churned milk.
And here's the armory, up close. Notice the variety of shields. Those devices have fancy words, the least of which
is a chevron. If you wanna feel posh, you won't call those shields shields. You will say pavis, escutcheon or
Here is the mandatory church, without which any medieval European castle would be nothing than a house full of
godless murderers. It's the right place to wash one's sins after a tiresome crusade.
Take a closer look at the flying buttress. Beneath, you can see that some of the leaded glass panes on the church
walls are mismatched.
No true castle can be without flags, either. And more painted glass windows.
The keep is the central building of this massive structure. In reality, keep would be where the local feudal lord
would have his lodging. It would also be extra-impregnated as the second line of defense in case the external walls
Notice the solarium where the feudal lord can suntan.
Another critical facility is the well. Without water, no castle could hope to withstand a nice prolonged siege.
It's time to depart. Our birdie takes flight.
Time for proper fun ... This is madness, Sparta, uh ... realistic rendering.
Here's the same model, only re-created using Kerkythea, after exporting
the model using SketchUp Importer for Google SketchUp and
rendered with photons and ray tracing and magic and whatnot. You will like this. My dream of making
near-realistic models is coming true, finally. Nirvana. Spledidski. A bird's view, with some fancy water in the
The approach to the castle over the drawbridge, dramatic yet serene.
And here's the castle gate, with some false background. But don't mind the outside.
Now, a handful of images demonstrating cool reflection effects. The same shot, with the water material changed.
Some mud, some breeze and ripples, some crystal clear water. I think the combined element of the stone-lined bank
of the moat and the water creates an impressive effect.
Here's one with mud:
And one with a slight breeze rippling the water:
And there's still more room for improvement. Wait for it.
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