View Full Version : How do I make a destructed city. Mainly destructed buildings

so sincere
03 March 2006, 01:15 AM
How do I model AND texture a destructed city. City buildings, debris. Please help me I need to hand in my assignment. Thanks for your attention.

Crazzy Legs
03 March 2006, 03:41 AM
how far along are you in school, what classes have you taken?

so sincere
03 March 2006, 11:10 AM
in my 2nd year second semester. digital animation student. I have to hand in my assignment soon. Do you know how?

Crazzy Legs
03 March 2006, 08:42 PM
First let me explain something. Notice how nobody else has really responded. The reason is you are asking a question that could be answered with an entire book. You aren't giving much information or specifics; what software you're using, what time era the this takes place in, what resources you have at hand. Those are important things. So you're probobly coming across as very unproffessional. I'm not trying to sound like a know it all. I'm trying to help you out for the future. Try to be as precise as possible when asking questions on here when it comes to seeking information on the construction of something.

You also have to let people know where you are as far as ability. With a question as broad as the one you asked, I'm set to ask myself if you have ever used a 3D program before. If you haven't, that would mean, I'd end up having to explain to you the very basics of 3D modeling. Something that isn't going to happen on here, yet web links could be given to you, so you could teach yourself.

So, you need to do this:

Tell me what software your using.
How long you've used it
What your familiar with in the program. Example, "I know the poly modeling in Maya really well along with Dynamics and Paint FX. Charactor modeling isn't a problem for me"
Find visual examples to show us what your talking about. is a great place to start. Its a stock photography website with a fantastic search engine. I use it before starting most of my work. You can change the settings on the site to show you up to 100 images per page! Its a good place.

Something like that. If you lack understanding in an area, tell us, right away. So we can give you a link to a place that can show you how to do what you need to learn.

If I don't respond to your next reply, you'll at least have more info for a next possible person to work off of.

Crazzy Legs
03 March 2006, 08:53 PM
You really do need to make sure you have plenty of visual references for something like this. You don't need to show us all of them. Just point us to enough that we get the idea and feeling of the scene you're trying to create. Perhaps listing a scene from a movie.

Do you have to create just the city? no natural enviroment elements, clouds, fog, sun, birds flying, those kinds of things?

Are you strictly talking about creating a few buidings with rubble around them? You could save yourself a lot of modeling time by compositing in background buildings with a rendered shot in a compositing program; Shake, Combustion or Photoshop.

If the entire scene has to be created from 3D elements then you will be taking a different route. Which is feasible, but we just have to know what your going for. All 3D, or 3D with Compositing.

Also if there is a purpose to this assignment, let us know what it is (example: learning to use the "Shatter" tool inside of Maya.) Thanks.

03 March 2006, 12:27 AM
I agree with Crazzy Legs, and highly suggest using the shatter tool, to give you a nice starting point at least...

Post some more info and we'l try and be more helpful :thumbsup:

so sincere
03 March 2006, 02:59 AM
You know what, when I wrote this question I was at work. so I was kinda ina rush. Sorry bout the confusion. But I really appreciate the fact that you have taken time to show me my fault. Thankyou. theres nuff love out there.

Now, I am using maya at the moment. I used to use max, but I have been baptized in I normally jus make character heads. Been doing 3d for quite a bit now, but its been on and off. Now i have taken up a course and decided to get serious.

What i am trying to make is a well destructed, bomb ridden city. i want it to consist of loads of debris, destructed modern day buildings. (World trade centre/ empire state/ statue of liberty etc) basicall i want to know how to model and texture a broken down city. A perfect example of exactly what Im trying to make is seen on the 3dtotal gallery.

I wanna make it all in 3d, i wana create loads, maybe an overflow of water. basically i am trynig to create a short cut scene trailer on a film i hope to create in the future based on the revolt of Satans angels. Angels being cast down on earth and causing corrupton and famine on the earth. I mean the image on the 3dtotal scene gallery. Is the image closest to what i wana produce.

Thanks alot Crazy doe.

so sincere
03 March 2006, 03:12 AM
heres the 3dtotal city picture ( fantastic) Maybe more realsim doe, lighting.

Crazzy Legs
03 March 2006, 05:48 AM
Most important...concept drawings. I won't say much about them, but you need to know what your making first, before you can just start to build a city. At least with the way my mind works. The more preproduction you have, the more you can be spontanious in the 3D package, because you know what you want your overall image to look like. Like an actor getting his lines down, once they know them, then they can have fun with them.
Do some concept drawings to get the basic idea down. Doing a top down view might be helpful to map it out as well.

Think of the lighting. The example you gave was pretty dark, but it still have light sources. make notes of where they will be at in your scene.

The concept will also help to show the style your going for and how much detail you want to put into it.

This might sound ridiculous but something this big will require you to make a cookbook basicly of everything you want to have in it after you have drawn out your final concept drawing.


1. ten large buildings on horizon, eight stories tall, spread out.
A. Doorways.
B. Windows.
C. Fire escapes
D. Vents

2. twelve small buildings in area of focus
A. Doorways.
B. Windows.
C. Fire escapes
D. Vents

3. two fountains, one broken, one completely destroyed.
A. Water
B. Contrete chunks, large, small, and debrie

4. telephone poles lining the street
A. Standard wires
B. Dangling wires
C. Bolts

5. sidewalk...competely tore up- Large chunks, little chunks, and debrie

6. street- two lanes each way.

street signs....


...get it? Don't skip anything. It would be better too have to long of a list and cutting stuff out of it after you have completed most of the scene, realizing that the scene might not require it. The key is to make sure you have everything writen up before starting. This way you can tell what you will need to make, and it could save you time by showing you that you might only need to model something once, duplicate it, then change it a little. It will also make you relize what you will need to model and what you can get away with by just texturing....(camera work will be more important for this though)

Then go through the list and write down all the textures you'll need for each object.
Think about the water, you'll need sewage water and drinking water leaking.

Ultimately, I think a 2D backdrop is going to be useful unless you plan on creating buidings into the horizon on the 3D space. But thats my idea, if don't feel pushed. Its your project

So this is the preproduction. I'll get back to you on the production side.

so sincere
03 March 2006, 01:51 PM
you know wat crazy. im gna create some sort of 2d background to give the city some depth. but my 2d background wont be any referenced material. but the 3d building that i will create manipulated in photoshops. but i want create a dramtic scene of crushed buildings, towers. loads of debrie and buildings like this. just cant understand how to model destruction. dnt know where to start. i have inserted some examples.
thanks crazy i am jotting down everything your sayin.

Crazzy Legs
03 March 2006, 06:37 PM
I can understand why a project like this might be a bit overwhelming. You not only have to build part of a city, you also have build the underlying support for some of the structure.

At the same time though here is what you need to remember, you're not going to model the entire city unless you plan on using some extensive construction algorithms to create a city. Your an artist. You only have to make what the eye is going to see. So thats where the preproduction comes into play, to help you understand what the eye is going to see.

I should of mentioned this to you earliear, when creating the sketch of the city, it could be very helpful to create one of what the city would look like before it was attacked. Then go from there. Or you can do the more free-flow, less linear method, and create the aftermath version forgoing the "before" image. You could find yourself in hot water later on if you get stuck with creative inpulse or the pressure of needing it done gets to you and you can't think to well. The key is to have the best idea of what you need to do, before you start anything.

So the city is going to be ravished where do I begin?:

If you were going to just jump into Maya and start creating the waste-land of a city then it would be worse then putting together a million piece jig-saw-puzzle without seeing a picture of the final image. With some prepro, you'll have a 100x easier time getting this figured out. So after you have created a sketch of the city I would then:

1: create a set of events of what happened to the city, focusing mainly on the part of the city you're making.
This way, you know what type of damage was done to the place, where it was done on buildings (telling allowing you to know what type of destruction was created and what to show), what shapes it will create and how things moved (think bomb blasts or horrible weather). Example: An atomic bomb creates an incrediblly strong shockwave that will push a lot of stuff away from the center of the explosion, leaving a less dense debrie area near the center of the explosion.
Example: 1. Building A, Building C, and Building E where hit from above with bombs. Causing rubble and massive fire outbreaks
2. Buildings A, B, C and D where heavily effected by other near-bye bomb explosions. (you know need to plot where these bombs landed). Again causing much rubble and fire outbreaks.
3. A large brigade of men entered the city from the east side (you'd plan the path) shooting everything they saw of value. They were using combat shotguns and high powered automatic firearms.
4. After brigade of men went through, they flooded the city by backing up the sewer-system and blowing up a levee.
5. a few days have passed, water levels have gone down in most areas. (you would plot the areas that have flooding or puddles still.)

This way you know where rubble will be, what shape it will be, and what condition the textures will be in.

Here is a question for you: Are you saying you are having a tough time figuring out how to model a building that has its I-beams and other support showing? Or are you saying your having trouble creating the debrie piles? Or both? I don't think worse if you say both, trust me. many of us have been there.

Things to do to speed up workflow:

use Google Earth or another one of those fancy resources to get a satalite based map of a city, so you can see how buildings are placed. This will really help realism. You don't need to copy it, but use it to get an idea. It will speed up time too.

Build about 7 different buildings, Use textures for detail. If you're not going to be close, Bump-map, normal maps are going to be a great way to go. If your renderer computes Discplacement maps and bump-maps at the same speed. Go for Discplacement maps.
A. Duplicate and place these buildings around the city. Rotate them on their Y-axis them so you don't notice the duplication. For duplicate buildings that are exactly the same, only rotated, scaled, or translated you can make their duplicates "instanced" to save memory. If you're not used to working with instanced geometry. I wouldn't recommend starting now, when your in a rush.
B. Duplicate and place more of the buildings, this time adding a few noticable alterations to them. So they don't stick out. Combining two buildings into one could help.

Do you have an email address I can send some example too?

03 March 2006, 09:18 AM
on the technical side, if you want to do it the quick way first block in how the house/building is going to look like with few verts, than make seperate objects that make up the structure of the building (eg, floor, walls, computer wires etc.) , make it nice and straight.

Than subdivide your objects to get the modifiers to work, apply bend modifiers and use the soft modification tool to walls etc.
All of the effects should correspond to eachother ofcourse :)

Model some detailed rocks with lots of verts and apply booleans operations on your weird shaped house! :D

that's how i would do it anyway ;)

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