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How to Create a Mini 3D House in 3D Studio Max

This post is part of a series called Home Sweet Home.
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Looking to create a low-poly house to use for your graphic design or illustration projects? Or perhaps you'd like to learn a little bit of 3D modelling whilst creating something fun and simple? Well, you can do it in this tutorial, where we will go through the step-by-step process of creating a mini house in 3D Studio Max.

In this tutorial, we'll learn how to create a fun, low-poly, miniature house which you can use in your own illustration or video game projects. Some of the skills you will learn will include creating basic 3D shapes and basic modelling techniques. Let's begin!

1. How to Create the Basic Shapes

Step 1

Open 3D Studio Max and create a standard box object. To do this, select the Box button under Standard Primitives in the Create menu. To follow this guide, you can also choose the same parameters, although this is not 100% necessary.  

Image showing how to create standard primitives

Step 2

Once you have created your box, it should look similar to the image below. This is your basic shape for the main body of the house.

Image of a 3D box

Step 3

Next, we will create the basic shape for the roof. To do this, select Extended Primitives from the dropdown menu under Geometry, and select the Prism button.

Image of how to create a 3D prism

Step 4 

Now use the Move and Rotate tools to place the newly created prism on top of the box.

Image of a box and a prism to create a house

2. How to Model the Roof

Step 1

Now we must make the prism editable. To do this, Right-Click on the prism and select Convert to Editable Poly.

Image of how to convert an object into an editable poly

Step 2

Using the Polygon Selection Tool, select the left, right and bottom faces and then press the Delete button.

Image of how the Polygon Selection Tool works

Step 3

With the prism still selected, select Shell from the modifier list.

Image of selecting the shell modifier

Step 4

Now input the values you would like for the roof. The recommended values in the image below are Inner Amount: 1.0 and Outer Amount: 0.0. This will give you the thickness of the roof.

Image of the new roof using the shell modifier

Step 5

For the chimney we will want to create a new box (parameters shown in the image below if you wish to follow this tutorial exactly) and then place it on top of the roof.

Image of a basic chimney

Step 6

Now Right-Click on the new box and select Convert to Editable Poly as we did with our previous 3D objects.

Right click and convert to editable poly

Step 7

Using the Polygon Tool, select the bottom and top faces of the chimney. Now use the Bevel Tool to create an inner square (use the values of Bevel Height: 0.0 and Bevel Outline: -1.0 to follow this tutorial exactly).

Image of the Bevel Tool

Step 8

Now delete the inner squares at the top and the bottom. You can then use the Edge Selection Tool and the Bridge Tool to fill the inside faces of the chimney.

Image of the Bridge Tool

3. How to Model the House

Step 1

Now select the main body of the house. Create three new width segments and two length segments. Once you have done that, we will want to make the box editable. This is done in exactly the same way as before by Right-Clicking and selecting Convert to Editable Poly.

Adding more segments to the body of the house

Step 2

Using the Edge Tool, select the middle edges. Now, using the Move Tool, move the edges up so that it fills the roof space.

Filling up the roof

Step 3

Now use the Cut Tool to create a new edge for the roof space on the left and right side of the house.

Using the cut tool

Step 4

Use the Polygon Tool to select the left and right boxes of the front (and back if you want) of the house. Then use the Bevel Tool to create window spaces.

Image of using the bevel tool to create windows

Step 5

Now, with the windows still selected, use the Scale Tool to make the windows the shape that you want.

Image of using the scale tool to edit the size of the windows

Step 6

Repeat the previous two steps to create windows for the left and right sides of the house.

Image of using the scale tool and the bevel tool to create windows

Step 7

Select all the windows and hit the Delete key on your keyboard.

Creating empty windows

Step 8

Now, under Geometry, select Windows in the dropdown menu and play with the parameters to create a window that will fit into the window spaces of the house.

Creating windows in the dropdown menu

Step 9

Repeat the previous steps to create windows for your house.

Image of the new windows

Step 10

Now attach all the elements you have created using the Attach Tool.

Image using the attach tool

Step 11

Using the same steps as above, create a door. You will find the options to create a door under the same dropdown menu where you created the windows.

Image of creating the door

Step 12

Now you can use the skills you've learnt so far in this tutorial to create further details for the house, such as creating the roof windows and stairs shown below.

Image of the house with new details

4. How to Colour the House

Step 1

To colour the house, you will need to separate the house objects according to the colours you want to use. One way of doing this is by using the Element Tool. Use the tool to select the object you want to colour (e.g. the roof).

Image of using the element tool

Step 2

Now, with the element selected, click on the Material Editor button which can be found on the top menu.

Image of the material editor button

Step 3

Drag and drop a Standard Material into the main view and Double-Click on it to display the options.

Image of the material editor

Step 4

Double-Click on the Diffuse Box to bring up the colour menu.

Image to show the diffuse options

Step 5

Choose the colour you want your roof to be and then click the Assign to Material button.

Image of the red roof

Step 6

Repeat the last steps to colour in the rest of the house!

Image of the final coloured house

Awesome Work, You're Done!

And with that, your 3D mini house is complete! Feel free to share your own creations below! You can also export your image into Adobe Photoshop to enhance it further or to use it as part of a larger image. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and I’ll see you next time!

Image of the finished coloured house
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