Veronika Alfoldiová – Process of creating 3D model


Categories: Blog

Sometimes, there are situations you fell into without even noticing. Your intentions could have been right and set up on time, however misunderstanding has forced you to change the plan. This happened to me, when I wanted to do some kind of cubical house, just to finish my bachelor degree and hm… rest in peace, metaphorically. Call it faith or whatever, but IT decided to let me continue on much more difficult path. So I ended up in studio of Mr. Florián, knowing absolutely nothing about scripting… but it needed to be done, somehow.

My process of designing from the very beginning:

(1) Sketches, sketches, sketches. I’ve had a hard time to actually come up with something interesting. However, after thirty pages in my sketchbook, we picked the one sketch made of circles I drew while I was already helpless, frustrated, annoyed and my hand was drawing on its own. Even this could be the way how to get inspired.

(2) All of those circles were my base I’ve started from. Firstly I used too much of them, placing the interior of house in the middle, trying not to be barriered by circles at all and let the interior flow inside the building.

(3) The next step led to three-dimensional model I created with Blender. I created few models from metaballs (balls that are smoothly connected), looking for the best, but I was still far from my final destination. These unsymmetrical piles of spheres were nothing worth of designing. Seriously, it looked awful and moreover, it was too complicated to transform it into building for living.

(4) Instead of going further and working with the design I already had, I did that necessary step backward. I simplyfied my design, using just few balls or spheres and composed them one next to another. I avoided building up and kept it simply on the ground.

(5) The thing I was talking from the very beginning were green roofs. I’ve been huge fan of them since it started to be popular, so I wanted to design my own house with roofs, which can be used for spending time as well. The idea how to manage to do that without using staircase came to me after one session with Mr. Florián, when he told me, how we all are thinking just inside of our little box of knowledge. He basically said, there is no rule to keep the floor plane, because humankind is able to walk up and down the hills, which are slopped, obviously. So I used it for my roofs. I slopped them down, right to the level of the terrain to make them approachable.)

(5A) I started modeling from this point. I created two slopped surfaces by using three curves in different heights. First was the lowest point of terrain, second one was the edge of wall in interior and last one was the edge of roof. I patched them. It appeared like merged fingers, that stood against each other.



(5B) In the next step I extruded the outer line of wall to the edge of slopped surfaces which represented roofs.


(5C) The connection of two separate objects didn’t look pretty, so I used „blend surface“ with autochain set on YES. The autochain is very helpful when you are working with curves compounded out of many segments or too complicated profiles. My curves were too complicated, therefore with autochaining I could get this down to about several clicks instead of billion while connecting every single little segment of my curves. The hollow in between needed to be big enough to create naturally looking connection by setting the best shape with one of the possibilities Rhinoceros offers, such as Position, Tangency, Curvature and so on. The best option in my case was selecting Curvature, because it helped me to create really smooth and naturally looking curves that could be connected with other curves and still look nicely continuous.

(Another choices are Position and Tangency. Position connects your curves just by ending points that create one mutual point. However the continuation is not smooth, more like lancet arch in architecture. Tangency offers better solution, but just from mathematical point of view, mainly while connecting few curves. More would mess it up and still won’t be smooth enough.)

I helped the software to do so by arched line I edited by myself and repeated the same method even on the connection with floor.


(5D) It wasn’t possible to do it perfectly at first attempt, so I’ve spent huge amount of time patching the holes with „Extract Isocurve“ right in the place I needed to repair, trimmed the unnecessary parts, created new Isocurves and then I connect the four curves with „surface from network“ until it could be connected together into one big surface.



(5E) Furthermore I „offset(ed) srf“ inside, to create some kind of mass.



(5F) – Then I extruded the inner line of walls and I drew in my floorplan, with the cells for utility as well.


– Another step was adjusting the floor to the height of window-sills and ceiling. There were places, where the height was just too high or too low. So I got inspired by the idea of hiking once again and slopped even the floor exactly as I needed.

(6) Worst thing of this all was that this scripting stuff is super confusing for me, itand model it rightaway in Rhinoceros. Nevertheless, Grasshopper was very usefull by letting me create other important thing such as waffle structure from the construction of my house or sun shields, that were copying the form of house on the southern side, but not only ordinarily using one size of wooden slab, but boosting that form by consecutive lenghtening of slabs due to orbit of sun.

(6A) I „Set one surface“, that one I wanted to have my sunshields on.


(6B) Then created points on the edge of surface by „EVALUATE“ and „Reparametrize“ it, because its rounded and connected it with „POINT“. One wasn’t enough, and you will definitely need more than one as well. I increased the number of them by using „RANGE“ and set the „SLIDER“ on number I found usefull, with natural distances for each wooden slabs.


(6C) These points were the centres of planes I created as the bases of prisms, that supposed to represent my wooden slabs. I used „PLANE NORMAL“ and connected it with already created points.



– However, these planes are set in wrong direction, so by „MULTIPLICATION“ and the negative value I could easily rotate them as I needed.


(6D) Another step was creating wooden slab, or simply „CENTER BOX“ due to planes and edit each side with „DOMAIN“. The problem was in lenght, because I didn’t need one meter and half long slab on each point. I wanted them to extend subsequently.


(6E) The lenght depends on the orbit of sun, so I recreated it by sinusoid in „GRAPH MAPPER“. Actually, two of them. First one for setting the rythm of longests and shortests slabs, and second one for setting the lenght itself. The maximum lenght of slab can be changed by another Number slider. Now I can play with all the possibilities by moving the curves of Graph Mapper.



I set the maximum lenght (1500mm for example) and created two graph mappers that are connected with points and with the lenght of slab by using multiplication.

(6F) I had to separate the curve into more parts, exactly because of the not symmetrical shape. I needed one for each for arch of the southern facade by copying the same script and remake it one by one.

I repeated three times the process of setting the sinusoid for each arch of facade separately, baking it and deleting the parts that weren’t needed.

(6G) Last step was to turn all of my „slabs“ into one direction, so it would look nicely.


I have to say, I was so euphoric, I’ve managed to create at least something, that corresponds to my ideas and thoughts, and finished it on time, that I didn’t want to spent more time looking for easier way of modeling. But obviously, there is always a quicker and simplier process for example using those plugins for Grasshopper that would save me some time. I didn’t even know, there is some kind of plugin, that is actually following the sun orbit and can somehow calculate the informations usefull for proper setting the lenghts of slabs of sun shields. I definitely need to try this. (That mentioned plugin is called Lady bug, for those who are interested in such stuff.)

Model: Alfoldiova_Final 3D model

Sun shields:  Alfoldiova_Sun shields

(Construction: Alfoldiova_waffle structure  )