Art Spotlight: Tangled Castle

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In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.

Hi there, my name is Thibault Simar, from Lille (north of France). I’m an art director working for a web agency, and also addicted to RPGs and comic strips!

I started with web design and 2D illustrations, then progressively moved to motion design and 3D modeling. I consider myself as a generalist, and try to get involved in every step of my agency’s projects as far as my technical knowledge may take me, from the first concept to the final delivery. To be honest, I’m a bit impressed to have the opportunity to talk about my work here on Sketchfab, surrounded by so many truly talented artists.

I discovered voxel modeling 6 months ago, and fell in love with it. It reminds me of those many hours of my youth spent in front of various video games, and the way to model things with Magicavoxel are so relaxing that it quickly became a hobby for me, taking me away from my job and its obligations.


I’ve been watching Disney’s Tangled in a loop, for a while now…since it’s my daughter’s favorite movie. It quickly became mine too (I watched every scene a dozen times and still keep on discovering unnoticed effects). I even gave it a try once, with Rapunzel’s tower, also on Sketchfab.

I really wanted to make a voxel fanart of the final scene in Tangled, with Rapunzel’s castle and the lanterns everywhere since the ambient look and feel was so tempting to reproduce, but I couldn’t even pretend to badly reproduce Disney’s perfect 3D work. Voxel has its own life and look, and it made sense to use it here for a new approach to this famous scene.


The original Tangled castle and its lanterns in the night sky


With some quick googling, it turned out that Disney used the Saint Michael’s Mount in Normandy, France as a reference for their castle. So I took a previous model of mine, as a basis for the castle; my own Saint Michael’s mount (made a few months before) which suited the project perfectly. I just had to elevate my model higher from the ground and add some “medieval fantasy stuff” such as bridges connecting overly high towers, and a condensed castle surrounded by houses.


Upgrading my model to something more “epic”

Magicavoxel really helps in the process, it’s easy to add things based on your feelings without really taking care of the technical process involved. The tools are very instinctive, and I feel like playing a video game whenever I put my hands on it. Plus it’s free 🙂

Concerning the final scene size, I stayed within the 126 voxel restriction, except for the lanterns (added later in Cinema4D). A simple mesh export to C4D allowed me to light the model from various sides with more control than in Magicavoxel.

Simple light configuration in C4D

Simple light configuration in C4D


The lantern modelization was made in MV, then I used the Mograph tools from C4D to multiply and dynamically add those lanterns with a progressive fall-off, to simulate the lanterns spreading from the castle.

Dispatching the lanterns with Mograph

Dispatching the lanterns with Mograph

As a final step, I baked my models in two separate meshes (one for the castle, with ambient occlusion, the other for the lanterns) and imported the .FBX file in Sketchfab. Just added some glow and transparency for the lanterns, a few more lights and of course a black background.

Emission and transparency in Sketchfab

Emission and transparency in Sketchfab

Et voilà!


Putting the scene on sketchfab was my final and most important move… I thought that my daughter may like to be taken inside her movie, and decide where to put the camera on her own. I’m really glad to have caught other people’s eyes in the process 🙂

You can find more of my voxel creations on Sketchfab or on my blog.

About the author

Seori Sachs

Community Person!


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