Making of “Nasu Tepee”

CG artist and architect Hossein Yadollahpour shares the process behind his Nasu Tepee creation, using 3ds Max, ZBrush, and an array of useful plug-ins...

My name is Hossein Yadollahpour. I was born in 1990 in Iran. I was introduced to the CG world in 2001 when I was reading a tutorial book which was related to version 2.5 of 3ds Max, and then I was fascinated by CG World. My overall experience includes architectural visualization, environment design, character design and VFX. In this tutorial I am going to show you my experiences gained during making the Nasu Tepee project. I hope you like it.

The recreation of the Nasu Tepee project was started when I found some photos of this beautiful building on the internet. You can find reference photos in the below.

Basic modeling

Before starting to model any project, it is important to set the UNIT SETUP to unit which you want to work with, to prevent any problems during the modeling process. I started to model the building based on information I could find on the internet. In order to complete the model, I used the Rayfire plugin.

Do not make a mistake! We do not want to destroy anything! By installing this powerful plugin, we add a very interesting and useful modifier to 3ds Max which is called Bricks Rayfier. In my opinion, this plugin is one of the fastest and easiest ways to build tiles for buildings.

Ground modeling

First, I created a plane in 3ds Max then edited it by options existing in Edit Poly such as, soft selection, conform and paint deformation and so on. After UVing in 3ds Max I transferred the ground to the ZBrush software. I save the ground as a displacement and normal map. Finally, I transferred the ground to 3ds Max again.

Camera setup & lighting

I imported the reference photo into 3ds Max and then matched the camera with the scene. For lighting, I used 2 HDRI. First, I grabbed one from Number 2003 Dusk in the Peter Guthrie pack which gave a great blue theme for environmental lighting. Secondly, I went to to get the following HDRI with quality: Noemotion number 06-14_Sunset A, to make my background similar to the reference photo. You can find the HDRI photos and dome light in below. For the interior lighting, I used the V-Ray light sphere.

Cloth simulation

To create cloth, I prefer to use the popular Marvelous Designer software because simulation in this software is very easy and enjoyable and gives you high quality outputs. After making the cloth, to optimize it, I transferred it to the ZBrush software and used Decimation Master command.

Tree modeling

One of the challenges in this project was tree simulation, but it became easy through using the Speed tree software. This powerful software is one of the best choices to make any kind of tree.

We only need to know what kind of tree we want then let software to make it for you. There is no need to make all of trees. Just some principal trees would be enough. To fill up the scene, the software can copy your trees randomly.

Rock modelling

To model the rocks in 3ds Max, there are many different ways. The script Rock Generator is one of the best choices for sure.


The megascans website is very useful. You can find Megascans Studio software helping to create materials and the Megascans Bridge software helps to import Quixel Megascans: ready-made models to many software and renderer engines.

Tea coal modeling

A tea being heated by coal photo was an inspiration for me. First, I modeled the base objects in 3ds Max, and as always I transferred it to ZBrush to add details.

Use ready-made models to fill the scene!

I always prefer to model the whole the scene by myself in my personal projects, but in some cases, especially when you need to save time, many high-quality ready-made models can be found over at Evermotion.

Scattering with PhysX Painter script

I scattered the leaves on the stairs by working with PhysX Painter script. This script can simulate the realistic movement.

Scattering with the Multiscatter Plugin

This powerful plugin is one of the best plugins to scatter and paint the model. I used it to scatter trees, laves, woods and bushes on the ground.


One of the most important things for making a project interesting and realistic is adding details. I tried to add details as much as possible in this project.

Render settings and render elements

In the following photo, you can see the final settings of the V-Ray renderer engine.

Post production

After rendering, it was the turn of post-production. I could correct the light and color of the project because of the render elements in this step. In the end, I appreciate the time you spent on this text. You can watch the process of Nasu Tepee modeling in following movie.

See more from Hossein Yadollahpour on Artstation

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