I’m finally at a stage where I can begin to texture the various components.  It has become a slower process than I initially thought, largely due to the amount of existing information in the lower quarter of the temple.  I’ve been hand painting/sculpting each section before I can then go back and apply the hieroglyphs.  I haven’t had a chance to really use Allegorithmic’s Substance Painter before this project, so I thought I would brush up on some new software.  It definitely seems to be allowing me to pick up the pace somewhat.

Below are some of the elements I’ve begun to address.



My first attempt at a limestone ended being a little too pink, and had some odd ridging when scrutinized up close.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 10.24.00 PM

I’ve decided to have exterior surfaces more weathered as they would be constantly exposed to the environmental conditions.

I should point out that I was way off with how I originally though the screen components between the columns were constructed.  I had built the cornice encircling the entire top of the component, not realizing (at the time) how these elements were almost fused with the columns.

column_for_blog copy

Above are the textures I created for the relief on the columns.


I revisited the criosphinx.  Hard to believe it started as this:


I forgot to include this in an earlier posting.  It’s a time-lapse construction of the criosphinx (captured in Zbrush).


I found the front and rear paws to be a little too rounded, so I went through and added more definition.


Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 12.06.59 AM


The North Criosphinx base.  I might go back (time permitting) and add a small cornice around the top of the pedestals (similar to the ones found at Karnak).

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 10.58.44 PM

Using Autodesk Sketchbook (which has some fantastic line creation tools), I created a winged sundisk that can be used throughout the temple.  Variation of this can be made after it’s stencilled onto the geometry.


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Below are the alpha’s used for the Torus Moulding.

So, the cartouche I used was completely off the mark.  I found it during an initial search (this is from a was at Karnak).


Below is the new cartouche relief (thanks to Jean for pointing me in the right direction) that will be stencilled around the cornice on the outside of the the temple.


The entrance to the first pillar hall.


The covetto cornice at the Royal Ontario Museum is the initial inspiration for the entrance to the first pillar hall.


I’ve been working through the interior temple this past week.


Trying to figure out which pillars go where.



It has become the proverbial two steps forward, one step back as I find I’m constantly rebuilding elements from where I started.

For example, the entire model was built as one continuous shell.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 11.18.57 PM

I thought that this would make it easy to texture.  This approach ended up making modifications a time consuming and tedious task.

Instead, I have been dividing up the various components archetecturally.  Which is also taking a little more time than I thought, but the end result will be more structurally accurate.

I’ve separated out the ceiling into individual slaps.  I’ll need to adjust the size slightly (they might be a little too small at the moment).



Field trip….


Just a quick update (away from the actual model). On June 7th Jean Li gave me a guided tour of the Egyptian collection at the Royal Ontario Museum.   I was able to snap a few pictures which I will be able to use as reference.

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A few gaps were filled in.  At first, I thought that it was a khekerfrieze  on top of the screened elements between the columns.  I was able to get my hands on the original print version of Rankes illustration of the front of the temple, and it appears to be a repeating Uraeus relief (similar in style to the pic I took at the ROM).


At first I thought the details along the cornice was a Khepri scrarab, but after discussing this with Jean we’ve come to the conclusion that these are more likely to be a series of cartouche.

I’ve incorporated some of these modifications into the front of the temple.



Thinking outside the blocks….

For the past week I’ve been debating on how I should handle all of the stone blocks that are used extensively throughout the temple (for the walls, floors, columns…etc). Part of this process is to insure that I am mindful of the actual placement of these elements.  I’ve been comparing the Heidelberg photographs to Ranke’s site illustrations.  From what I can see they seem very accurate.


I’ve started placing proxy bricks (basic polygonal cubes) in the Pronaos and ramp.

proxy_ramp tiles


I’m testing a few approaches to see which one might hold up better in VR. Initialy I thought I would break the various elements up into sections, then using either Mudbox or Zbrush, I would detail the proxy cubes and extract a normal map back onto a more simplistic type of geometry.  I tested this on the ramp, which kind of works.  However, because this is just a bump map if someone where to view this on a shear angle, the illusion of detail would flatten.  Just a side note, once I get into the Unreal Engine I might revisit this approach with displacement maps….or possibly vector displacement maps.

This is simplified geometry that will get the tile texture generated in Zbrush and Mudbox.


The normal map generated by the higher resolution tiles.
The normal map applied to the ramp.

My hope in using this approach is to keep the interactivity within the virtual world crisp and speedy.  I wasn’t particularly happy with the initial results, although untextured (lacking diffuse colour, specular maps….etc) I could tell that there was a fidelity issue, particularly from extreme angles.
My second approach is to texture 2-3 groupings of individual low resolution blocks then hand place each one (similar to how I placed the proxy cubes to begin with).

A test grouping (not the final textures)
Beginning to hand place each block…..


UPDATE: The known floor tiles (according to Ranke) have been placed, as of June 8th.  I’ll need to fill in the gaps with a similar patterning.  But I’m moving onto the interior walls first.


Columns and Criosphinxes  

There is very little to go by when constructing the columns from the first pillar hall and twin sphinx (possible?) statues at the temple’s entrance.  Jean Li suggested that the columns are  more than likely papyriform columns.  This assumption is based on the discovered decorative ring from the base of the capital.


 This ring depicts open buds, however Ranke’s interpretations show a closed bud variation.  We’ve decided to go with Ranke’s version for the initial construction.  

Illustration by Herman Ranke
A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method,
by Sir Banister-Fletcher, New York, 1950, pp. 41-42; Drawings: p. 43
Columns at Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
The columns at Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt – Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock  © Vladimir Voronin  
Temple of Karnak. Luxor, Egypt
Ruin of Karnak Temple. Luxor, Egypt, Africa – Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock © Andrei Nekrassov  
Colonnade in the Luxor Temple - Egypt
Colonnade in the Luxor Temple –  Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock  Leonid Andronov

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The small statues are believed to be criosphinxes. I haven’t been able to find many references of statues Ranke depicts in his illustration.  



I’m going in the direction of the what is seen at the Karnak temple.  

A blocked in version of the croisphinx so far.  The pedestal is next on my list.
Ancient ruins of Karnak
Ancient ruins of Karnak temple in Egypt – Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock  Photographer: Pakhnyushchyy
Ram sphinxes at Karnak Temple
Ram sphinxes at Karnak Temple in Luxor –  Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock Photographer: © Paul Vinten
Ram-headed sphinxes at Karnak temple
Alley of the ram-headed sphinges in front of Karnak Temple at Luxor, Egypt – Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock Photographer: JackF
Avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, Temples of Karnak, Luxor, Egypt
Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock Photographer:Daniel Meunier
Sphinxes Statue In Karnak Temple
Ram-headed Sphinxes Statue In Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt – Stock photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors & videos | Adobe Stock Photographer: © Andrey Popov

Blocking in the temple….

The temple boundaries have started to take shape.

I had the opportunity to show progress of the temple to Christopher Watts’ 4th year anthropology class at the University of Waterloo.  Although I’m still at a preliminary stage, few questions came up around reference material.  

Are the images being used as reference from the same period as the el-Hibeh temple?

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of existing architectural resources around the period Hibeh temple was constructed (during the 22nd dynasty). The illustrations by Ranke, which I’m using for the preliminary model on, are largely based on conjecture (how he imagined the temple might have look like).  Dealing with only a front, side, and top orthographic images there is quite a bit of information that is being lost in translation.  To fill in the gaps, I’ve begun to use images of similar structures from different periods. For example, I’m using the Temple of Hathor, Dendera (from the 1st century BC)  to understand how the front screen was integrated into the first row of columns.

Dendera Temple complexPhoto by: Vladimir Bozhilov  Licenced from: stock.adobe.com




I’m going to walk through the entire process within these blog posts.  Please, feel free to comment if you see any issues, have any questions, or think of something new that could be added or altered.  I’m going to be using Autodesk’s Maya as the main tool for crafting the model.   My goal this semester is to rough in the overall form of the temple, and begin refinement and detailing from May-June.

After cleaning up the Ranke illustrations, I imported the top and side views to use as Image Planes (reference images).

temple_top_for_mayatemple_side_for_mayaIn Maya, the unit size can be modified, so I ended up switching from the default (cm) to feet.  This allows me to match Ranke’s legend to the grid.  I’m going to try to keep everything a accurate as possible, however there will need to be room for interpretation (with help for the community) to reconstruct areas that no longer exist….which seems like quite a bit.


I placed the columns from the 1st Pillar Hall and 2nd Pillar hall and traced around the floor plan so that I could extrude up the interior and exterior walls. Continue reading “Scale”

The Wall


The first thing you notice when  walking into Prof. Jean Li’s office is “the wall”. Reminiscent of an article I read a few years ago ( the above photo from “A Beautiful Mind” is one of many used in this this article from Esquire  http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/film/news/a7703/detective-show-crazy-walls/), it clearly indicates the “known knowns”.



Luckily German archeologist Hermann Ranke was extremely thorough with his sketches.  Below is  a top view of how he imagined the Temple would have looked when it was fully intact.

Top view
Profile view

Using “the wall” as a reference, I’ve started to separate the  Heidelberg Museum photos into their different sections.

Exterior Walls:


Front Columned Hall:

Again, another detailed image from Herman.

Column detail

First Pillar Hall: