Trying to create railing archway design from photo ref, best approach?

Hey all, I’m trying to create this design that I photographed in Cornwall last year.
In the past , I’m a typical hard surface modeller, using sketchup. I would’ve used push/pull to create the depth of the railing (z axis).

I’m just looking for tips on how to go about creating the shape.

Any tips appreciated. Thanks.

Photo ref:

Quick YouTube explaiination:

My approach will be:


  1. Add a box and scale to fit the archway
  2. With many subdivisions and mirror paint a mask following the shape
  3. Extract the mask and trim it from the box
  4. With the extracted mesh scale to obtain deep


  1. With Procreate or a similar desktop app trace your image with mirror activate and create 3 layers, the steelwork, the letters and the years
  2. Export each one as black and white image to be used on Nomad as alpha
  3. Import each alpha in Nomad and add to a box and trim it from the box like in step 3 above
  4. With extracted and trimmed meshes scale for deep and put in position.

@Holger_Schoenischka had a lot of video tutorials on their channel that can help.

You can convert the photo to STL online.


Very clever :grinning: I know you had a more faster way

Thanks, I’ll have to read this a bit later, just at work at the mo.

Hi Holger, this is interesting.
Is this similar to the method you used in your recent video (where you projected the shield graphic PNG and created geometry from it? (your tutorial vid)

The results are quite good here, looking a little thicker/volumous than the ref but still good. Would be a good file just to be able practice to paint.

My photo ref was never pefectly ‘head-on’ (slightly leaning back, i took the photo standing in front of it, looking up at it) (12ft high) but this still looks pretty good to be honest.

I was playing with the tube tool last night, trying to create decent swirls but i must admit i was failing to create perfect curves.

Sketchup for example that Im used to, has 2D tools for creating lines, you can create perfect arcs in a sequence, pair them to each other to create a swirl.


In Nomad, here;s what I did to try and achieve the same:

  • Use tube to click point ot point , create a ‘general/rough’ quarter circle / half circle line.
  • validate
  • rotate around it a bit, use Gizmo to stretch into the Z axis.

Teh result was basically a ‘squashed’ / flattened type shape, not ideal.
So then i thought, ok, if i pan round to LEFT view, i can use trim to cut the back and front areas of the tubing to create a flate plane across both.

This looked… ok but was a bit involved to be honest.
The geometry looked marred/imperfect after the TRIM process (had flaky edges here and there).

  • i went back a few steps and upped the geometry detail (voxel increase), in the hope the end result may look better, but even at 300 detail, the mesh still looked a bit messy.

I’m used to using measurements to create objects to an extent.

I will try with the method @Josepmy suggested, but my method was quite flawed really.

  • the circles are still imperfect using my tube method.

I guess this comes down to the fact that nomad doesn’t have native 2D tools (and i guess… why would it?) but it would be great to know if I can achieve what I’m trying to do.

I come from Sketchup where I was making buildings…:

But I got tired of SU and found the portability of the iPad very appealing for modeling.
Also, my SU license expired, and I found it less malleable for texturing. (another plus for Nomad).

I was inspired by Red Dead Redemption 2 and wanted to eventually model this:

There is a bug in 1.68 if the object has uniform scale.
Make sure to bake the transform (gizmo menu → bake).

Nomad isn’t made for architectural design.

Gate.glb.lz4 (268.7 KB)