3D Modeling of Stowe


A Majestically Beautiful Landmark

A Majestically Beautiful Landmark
A Majestically Beautiful Landmark
On this Page:
Introduction
Long History of Background Family Intrigue
Ongoing Work
Public-Domain Assets
(Click the images for a lightbox slideshow)

Introduction

Created: June 22, 2021
Modified: May 30, 2022
Third draft

Strangely missing from the largest public-domain collection of world buildings, 3D Warehouse, is Stowe House (Bucks, UK). While at Stowe, it was my absolute pleasure to work on aspects of the grounds still being renovated, for example, I graded the land for the current lawn around the Temple of Ancient Virtue. Behind it, in the woods, in the Temple of Modern Virtue, which was built as a ruin in the 18th century, shortly prior to the American Revolution. This link, is a 30-second attempt to filter the 3D warehouse models and show what's there. It also includes many models of the Vatican and its buildings, which I prevously combined into a Vatican-state sized model (see myEarly 3D Modeling Work). I learned a great deal about efficient modeling from that project, and I am still learning more. So I am making a free model of Stowe for 3D warehouse, because the school founded there last century kindly granted me a scholarship, after my Father, Karl Meyer, stated he was too poor to pay for my education.

Long History of Background Family Intrigue

You might find the intrigue behind my love of Stowe entertaining. While I was still in Middle School, my Mother had remarried David Sloss, an 'Old Stoic' who managed to place me in Stowe. But even by the time I finished my second term at Stowe, my Mother had left David Sloss with another big fight and soon thereafter annulled her second marriage. So my Mother's Father had been hoping for a reconciliation between my original parents, and he was secretly paying my school fees while letting people believe my Father was paying for them.

But in 1977, my Mother's Father learned of my Father's particularly debaucherous behavior. My Grandfather's knowledge might have extended further, but my own alone includes multiple simultaneous escorts in NYC, at least several flings in the Mexican gulf at singles hookup resorts, and a mysterious disappearance for six months, apparently to Brazil, during which nothing is known about what he actually was doing at all.

So my Mother's Father cut my Father off. By this time, my Father was continuing to spend exorbitantly while stating he was in deep debt. But he had learned quite a bit about 'begging due to unjust world circumstances' from his preferred company. As Karl said, there are some things 'Professionals' can do better than anyone else, and at least one of them is extracting money from people. So it's possible my Father's request to Stowe for a scholarship was a manipulation, but it's certain he would have taken me out of Stowe half way through my penultimate year, to place me in a U.S. public school near him instead, if Stowe declined the scholarship. Due to multiple family fights that are STILL ONGOING from my parents' divorce, I learned neither of my Grandather's sponsorship nor Stowe's scholarship until over a decade later. Out of respect for my Father, I never mentioned anything I knew about his debauchery until well after he passed away.

Intrigue aside, it would have taken me three years to recover from the transition from a UK to US school system, as college entrance requirements are entirely differenc. And Stowe helped me gain a place in Oxford Universsity. So I am deeply indebted to Stowe paying my fees for my last six terms there, including an Oxbridge seventh term.

Ongoing Work

I'm now working with Stowe on a 3D model ofStowe House, as it is one of the most beautiful Ducal estates in England, and, Stowe doesn't even have a mass model in 3D warehouse. I'm starting with Chatham House, the first image below. The main buildings are a real challenge, center. They have beautiful interiors and temples too, including one of the few Palladian bridges in the world (last image), which I think was in 'Discovery of Witches' on TV recently, although it might have been another one.

Stowe House, Chatham
Stowe House, Chatham
Stowe House, Aerial View
Stowe House, Aerial View
Stowe House, Marble Room
Stowe House, Marble Room
Palladian Bridge
Palladian Bridge

Stowe has being kind enough to share some scans of Chatham's original elevation drawings by Clough Williams Ellis, which are in their visitor center at Stowe, if you wish to see them. So far I have built a mass model of Stowe and its grounds, including elevation, building placement, and building height data in Cinema3D. For this, I combined a satellite digital elevation model (DEM) with building location from streetmaps3D, with the assistance of technical staff at a company called Maxeon. Below is the imported buiding data and the 'relief map' of Stowe's grounds. The latter of these pictures scales the DEM vertically to exaggerate contours, as per conventions. One of the issues in creating mass models is building height placement realtive to changes in ground elevation. Current I am working on improving that.

Stowe House, Initial Building Model
Stowe House, Initial Building Model
Stowe House, Elevation model
Stowe House, Elevation model

Public-Domain Assets

Besides Stowe's own photos and architectural drawings, the most comprehensive public-domain asset source currently is Google Earth Pro, which constructs 3D models with texture maps that can be transmigrated into a 3D rendering program. However, the assets belong to Google, and when I sold the Vatican City project below, they had to replace all the objects with their own vertex models as a guide. To my knowledge, that is not illegal. Besides that, Google Earth draws 3D models with a single vector line, so everything is connected, and it’s almost impossible to edit. So I may use Google Earth's 3D models as a guide, but it's difficult to do, as they have to be ripped from the browser cache. For the amount of work it takes, it might be easier just to build vertex models from scratch. However the 'terrain' (the ground elevation data from the satellites on which Google draws its 3D models) is public domain, so my first step will be to build .3DS and .DAE models of the Stowe grounds from the elevation data and fill in the lakes and so on.

For the results from my last project using Google Earth, see the subsectionMaking the Buldings and Texture Maps for the Vatican City, below. A screenshot of the satellite view of Stowe in Google Earth Pro follows.

Stowe House In Google Earth
Stowe House In Google Earth

The most difficult part (for me personally) might be modeling the lions on the South Front. I've tried modeling lions before from DAZ and Poser models, and they look like Disney animals. There’re also ornaments on the roof palisades, and other statues in the grounds; but for those I can probably use the same technique of 'stereoscoping' a flat picture as in Vatican City, in the next section.

Stowe School, South Front
Stowe School, South Front
Stowe School, South Front
Stowe School, South Front