MAKING OF: Villa Spee 3d reproduction

villa spee house exterior

MAKING OF: Villa Spee 3d reproduction

Hello everyone!
I’m glad to share this Making-of of my favorite non-commercial project. Originally I wanted to split it into more posts according to part of the process in which I currently was, but I think it will be better to have it all in one place. Back in the time, in 2017, I decided to recreate the already built project of this beautiful house into the 3d environment, to better understand differences between these the real world and the 3D one, and also to try to approach almost realistic result by matching the materials and lights to ones in photos. I was trying to find some project that consists of nice architectural shapes, airy interior, and rich natural exterior scene. After a few days of searching, I finally found the ideal project for me – Villa Spee by Lab32 Architecten.

In this Making-of I will show you my process of how I made this project in 3ds Max and Corona Renderer.

“The villa, designed by architect Loek Stijnen from Lab32 architects, meets the residence preferences for country living. The “box” floats beautifully above the naturally undulating landscape, fitted both at the front and at the back with panoramic windows that optimize the indoor/outdoor connection.”


Photo: Jo Pauwels



I started the project by getting as many references as possible – photos, floorplans and sections. Because it is a real project, I found all of these references easily on I created simple planes in 3ds max and put floorplans and sections on them as bitmaps. Then I scaled planes into the real size according to dimensions on drawings and distributed them so the floor on drawings was on the 0-level on the Z-axis.

After that, I started by creating walls. In the top view, I drew a plane in the corner of the wall and started to extend its edges according to the floorplan. The next part was to make windows and doors. In this project, there are two types of windows – sliding and still ones. Firstly I modeled a sliding window by sweeping the spline with DWG drawing of window profile (you can get it on the website of the manufacturer). Similarly, I modeled the still one.

This is how a scene looks like with all the windows:

Walls in top view – simple plane modified by Edit Poly modifier
Sliding window
After applying Extrude on polygons, and using Bridge to make holes for windows, the walls are now ready.

When a base structure is made, I continue by modeling the furniture and kitchen appliances. The furniture in this project is mostly easy-shaped so I made it easy from primitive objects. The interesting part of modeling was the lamp above a dining table, but after I found out geometrical principles from the photos of the lamp, it wasn’t a big deal to model it.

Original photo by Jo Pauwels
Process of modeling the pendant lamp in the kitchen
3D model of the kitchen with pendant lamps on the place

The living room consists of the basic coffee tables, which I made quickly by creating a box, deleting side polygons, chamfering edges and finally adding a shell modifier to add some thickness. The sofa is made of some model from my library and modifying it to catch the good result. A significant part of the living room is the fireplace, which I made in previous steps. Now I just added gravel with Forest Pack plugin and fire in form of a plane with Corona light texture on it. It is only a plane on which I applied Corona Light Material to emit some nice warm light.

3D model of living room

This is how the completely modeled interior looks like. My selected parts of the interior that I want to render are kitchen, living room, hall, and part of the office caught in the hall view. The next step was to model an exterior environment according to photos since I wanted to make an exterior view as well.

the entire house in 3D

I started to model an exterior by creating the terrace, which I modeled once again by plane and applying a floor generator on it, modeling a pool and some seating nearby. The more difficult part was the vegetation. For the plants, I used a mix of models from my library. I distributed small plants (like ivy over the ground) with Corona Scatter, and most of the trees manually to match the right position according to references.

The exterior scene with scattered vegetation


Creating shaders in this project learned me a lot and I had fun during this process. Since I had a chance to compare materials with the ones on real photos, it made a whole process easier.

There were three important materials, which I really cared about:
⦁ Concrete floor, which is visible on each interior render
⦁ Wood planks on the fireplace
⦁ Leaves on the ivy plants in exterior

On the images below, you can see how the shaders look like in the material editor.

lighting and rendering

The goal was very simple here: a nice sunny day with soft interior lighting. I recently use HDRI maps for lighting, because it’s simplicity and various types of atmosphere. Nevertheless, I used a Corona Sky&Sun system here, because I needed to adjust a specific position of the Sun, to achieve a correct shadow. I had to change the settings a little bit because the sky cast bluish shadows on the walls. For this reason, I changed the value of Turbidity in Corona Sky settings, to approximately match the lighting on reference photos. You can also desaturate Corona Sky material to achieve a non-bluish result, or do it in Photoshop. Also, I had to play a bit with the size and intensity of the sun, too.
Lighting in the interior is achieved by Corona lights, mostly with IES maps.

lighting setup
rendering settings


There was really quick work in the photoshop – I only adjusted a color balance and slightly increased contrast by the S-curve. You can see the small difference between Raw Render and a corrected one.

difference between Raw render and Post-processed image

final thoughts

The whole process of re-constructing the real world into three-dimensional one was a very good step for me. It helped me to better understand principals of lighting and I improved the process of creating materials as well, so I really recommend this kind of training for you, too.

If you would like to see the final renders compared to real photos, you can find them here

Hope you enjoyed this making-of article. Cheers!

Photos of the real project are at this link