The castle valleys of Luxembourg

Work In Progress / 21 August 2018

So this week I finally made a beginning on reconstructing the castle that is most dear to my heart. This castle is Bourschent (English: Boursheid), a large castle that stands on a hill near the similar named village. Standing proudly in central Luxembourg (West Europe), The castle currently is a ruin with several buildings reconstructed to open for tourism.

Ever since I visited this castle years ago, I knew I wanted to rebuild this castle in it's former glory. Back then my skills weren't up to the task, and so my tries didn't result in anything worth showing. After years the castle always had a place in my heart, and after a recent revisit, I decided to restart this old project.

Photo is property of VisitLuxembourg.com and is only shown with educational purpose.


The first challenge was the environment. If you ever get the chance to visit the castle, one of the most fascinated things its it's location. If there was ever a place to build a castle this is it. The large pointed rock that forms it's foundation seems to be destined to be build upon. And the view is breath taking, a clear view over the valley in the south and north, and massive hills behind it.

I tried extraction height information from satellite data first. But I was unsatisfied with the sample density (30+ meters).  After some more digging I stumbled upon a free to public LIDAR scan of the entire country of Luxembourg, thanks to the Luxembourgian government at data.public.lu.

I used the blender displacement modifier to rebuild the terrain from the, roughly 5,5 by 6,5 km, cut-out height map of the region. the quad density is higher in the nearby surroundings of the castle, to not overload the scene with polygons. The horizontal scaling was easy due to the 5x5 meter to one pixel scan data. Vertical scaling required me to do some height measurement in online apps.

From aerial photographs and the schematic map from the tourist folder (which is pretty accurate, even had a distance scale on it) I quickly created a low poly block out model of the castle and placed it on the right spot on the hill. As you can see, the castle and the rock below seem to belong together. (they share a history of at least thousand years)

Next blog I will talk about the first steps of basic texturing the of the environment. As a little tease, here is a sneak peak of how the project looks as of now: