Segobriga virtual recreation - collage

Roman city recreation: course review

Perhaps one of the most satisfying course I ever attended, the historical city recreation with Blender by Kore Formacion review is here.

Jump to

The final result


It’s been more than an year since I started my first course with Kore Formacion. It was the virtual reconstruction of St Peter basilica, as it was when it was built. I wrote back then what influence that course had on my future development. One year later I can see how much I have grown through my projects like Ötzi the Iceman and Devochka the Ice Maiden and others I will speak about at the year’s end. Unfortunately not so many personal projects or related to my country’s heritage as I wished I would. That is because I allocated much of my time to learning. The course I am presenting here, the 3D recreation of a roman city, is the 9th with Kore :). All in one year. Good. Now let’s start this post!

Unlike my other posts, this one greeted you straight up with a video. The final results video, no less! I spoiled the surprise, right? Not so much. But if you enjoyed the video, a like and maybe a subscription on my YouTube channel dedicated to my 3D works will certainly help at some point. 

This post is about the recreation of the ancient city of Segobriga as it might have been in the 2nd century AD. The recreation is based on the research and reconstruction plans carried out by Pablo Aparicio Resco and it stands as a learning process for building and recreating lost cities, of any era. I learned a lot during this long process and I am quite satisfied with the results. Of course, there are some mistakes and certain improvements that can still be made. 

An important aspect to recreating and reconstructing, virtually, heritage and archaeological assets is the transparency of the process. Meaning that whoever will look at your work, should be able to tell what is based on reality and what is theory (and how hypothetical that theory is). In this regard a historical-archaeological evidence scale is mandatory. You will find these representations in the Final Renders section below.

Roman city of Segobriga

Segobriga is a former Roman city in the province of Cuenca, Spain. The name could be translated to the City of Victory. It is an important archaeological site as it includes an amphitheater, theatre, city walls and gates, Roman baths, and the Forum. There is also a necropolis and a circus.

Segobriga today
The ruins of Segobriga today

Course overview

The goal of the course was to familiarize with the methodology and tools used for a correct recreation of historical cities. Most of the work was based on using the industry-standard Blender, version 3.5. It has an introductory chapter split in two main parts. A theoretical background part, needed for building historical cities based on evidences, and second part with an example of how the research should be carried out, using the case-study of roman city Segobriga, before starting the actual modeling.

city building course overview

As with any virtual reconstruction, the most critical step is the research of all available data on the subject. Historical data, references, architectural details, analogies, and, if lucky, past reconstruction concepts. Pablo took us through this journey of scientific discovery finally to reveal his reconstructive planimetry for the city, a planimetry based on archaeological research and different analogies.

The second chapter dealt with a few methods to create realistic terrain either from scratch with sculpting tools or using (when available) geospatial data and GIS tools. Further, the next chapters covered the creation of the basic sketch of the city, 3D modeling of the buildings and other objects, how to distribute them in the scene, adding the vegetation, and finally how to present our work.

Terrain texture creation

My main take-outs of this course were:

  • the planning of the reconstructive project
  • terrain design
  • procedural buildings’ texturing
  • a smart method for designing the roads and rivers
  • creation of forests with a tool I was already using, but now with some new insights
  • creation of the archaeological evidence scale

The latter aspect is overlooked by most historical illustrators (not all). Works without an evidence scale cannot be used for scientific purposes as they lack transparency and correspondence to “what is known”, what is hypothetical and what is imagination. See the final renders section below.

As for the buildings’ textures, the common buildings, they are generated so that each new duplicated building will have slightly different dirt layers or roof color tint. This greatly improves the realism of the scene.

As I said before, this is one of the most satisfying courses I ever did. But also very demanding and nerve-wracking especially because my schedule in those months was quite overwhelming. But with good time management, I came to deal with all the pressing tasks and also finish the course on time. The new Moodle platform was interesting compared with the YouTube-hosted videos from their previous courses, but unfortunately, there were no subtitles for me (the course was in Spanish). Also, you could not skip forward if you did not already see the whole video. I understand the reasons for this, but on a few occasions, I would’ve skipped some sections of videos. 

Online live sessions were instrumental for better understanding and seeing directly how to solve common issues that you encounter during this process. After nine courses with Kore I had no problem understanding the discussions. The community was very active both on the forum and on the live sessions with all sort of interesting questions and debates, from which I learned a lot. As a secondary note, I am always impressed with the great number of participants in all Kore courses. I happy that there is such a great interest for this professional niche.

The course was very well prepared and Pablo was at his best. A very nice touch was the addition of the videos in the introductory chapter, videos recorded on location on the ruins of Segobriga, where he and his colleague Nestor Marques explained the site and what the reconstruction aimed to be.

I think this will be my last course for a while because I want to allocate more time to real projects. Speaking of actual projects, Kula Project has been reactivated these days and soon we should be able to finally launch the new web app. More on this later.

If you are interested,  you can check Kore Formacion courses here. The catalogue is updated for 2024!

Final renders

BTS & WIP Gallery

As usual, my favorite, the behind the scenes and work-in-progress gallery. Not as rich and diverse as I wished.

Wow, you scrolled down here! Well, cheers, mate! I appreciate you took the time to check out this review. Thank you!

About Post Author

1 comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.