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Old 01-10-2014, 04:46 AM   #1
ScottMichaelH
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Large Scale Sci Fi City WIP



Continuing my goal to revisit and finish old projects from years past I am now doing a large scale Sci Fi city environment. What I had before back in 2007 was so bad that I decided to start over. I was hesitant to post this hoping no one feels it premature but I did feel that both 1) I could use writing my thoughts down and 2) maybe some one would stop me if I was doing it all wrong! Here are a few of those thoughts:

1) It needs to be large scale to impress (as opposed to a close up piece which would be different)
2) contrast in size ... the main piece should be even bigger
3) shape ... I should probably decide on a motif shape as opposed to randomness to give the city a signature style
4) I'm really not sure about how to put together something with this many pieces carefully. My thinking was to just go with it and assess later. Should they all be individual pieces like this? Should they be texture mapped first? Will that even matter for most of these pieces in the back? Should I rather take a massive plane and extrude the blocks up and make the city in a few pieces that way?
5) I'm using Maya as opposed to my usual comfort of 3ds Max because I'm going through an RMA with my main PC video card at the moment. My Macbook can do basic modeling OK but texture layout will crash it. I need to decide to stick with blocks like this or spend the time learning the shape tools in Maya

Here are some of my inspirations:

This one is my favorite. Does anyone know the author?
http://thenewscifi.com/wp-content/u...ristic-city.jpg


This one has a very distinctive centerpiece which really helps focus and contrast wise
http://digital-art-gallery.com/oid/...digital_art.jpg


This one has a very particular style
http://images2.alphacoders.com/823/82370.jpg


Thanks and yes I know it looks bare so far. Any comments or thoughts are welcome
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:32 PM   #2
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Hey Scott,

the only thing i could say at this point is that in all the reference images, the cities are laid out in natural rings and curves around the water, while yours is laid out in a very square looking pattern with no visible signs of the landscape forcing your city to exist in certain areas.
Now, not all cities are like the one's in your concept art reference, so there's nothing wrong with it, to me it just gives it more of a 'DeathStar' city feel. This could be good or bad just depending on the result your going for

Can't wait to see more! Cheers
- Bergquist
 
Old 01-12-2014, 05:05 AM   #3
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Heres an update. I'm moving the plains around to create more visual interest. Still very simple. I suppose my biggest thought at this point is about just how far back I'm going to make this. It would create the idea of depth to have it going back a ways but then again I don't want to waste time (work or render wise) making things that won't be seen much.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:45 AM   #4
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Compositionally I believe I have finally found the idea. I'm thinking of placing something in the big waterway in the middle (boats or the like). How do you feel its working? Do you feel the back is too high? Should I place more city in the top-right corner (I feel the like extra water space there is more of a distraction than anything else). Is the waterway in the middle too big (I'm thinking that placing things in it will take care of the issue).

Thanks
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:53 AM   #5
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Mm I would recommand to try find a better composition. I don't see your focus point in that compo for now
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:35 AM   #6
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Here are a couple other ideas along with a slight highlighting on the old which may or may not give the impression of what I was going for. I'm not feeling the middle one. The top can work with some serious contrast in sizes. I'm still feeling the presence of the old one but I want to know what others feel. I'm hesitant to build up the details at the focal point in front until I dedicate myself to a basic idea. If I go with the old idea I would alter the highlighted areas quite a bit as this is only a stand in. Does that makes sense?
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:53 AM   #7
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Admitting that the concept is always my downfall, I usual only move forward well with a piece when I use an existing concept/idea/character/place etc. Some of the concepts I've been looking at are all over the internet as wallpapers and random art placed on blogs and so forth. The issue here is that I don't always know the artist to ask permission to use the reference (which always makes me feel better). My question here is simply should I go ahead and not worry about asking if the art is so commonly shared online anyway? My thinking is that I could use the composition if only that (maybe the building ideas). Thoughts? I've tried several concepts and the only decent ones are really just copies of other compos I've found. Here are some more ideas below:

http://www.scifihdwallpapers.com/wp...i-Wallpaper.jpg
http://literaryexcursion.com/wp-con...stic-ghetto.jpg
http://literaryexcursion.com/wp-con...11/downtown.jpg
http://literaryexcursion.com/wp-con.../11/la-2146.jpg
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:12 PM   #8
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http://www.pinterest.com/scote80/sci-fi-environments/

I can share with you my own Pinterest environment scifi for inspiration
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Old 01-17-2014, 02:09 PM   #9
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Great work. I'm in love with architecture too last time, and also want to redo my old works.

Ok, let me tell you my view how you could improve your approach to architectural planning of any piece. First, think about it could be real. So there may be logics in there.
1. Draw a flat plan of the landscape, and divide the districts into logical functions. For example, you may have poor and rich districts, also with skyscrapers and historical buildings. As well as industrial ones.
2. The flat plan can have the initial landscape. Be it river, the mountain, it all affects the planning, but makes it more alive. So plan it first in a flat plan manner.
3. Then add bridges and main buildings. Main I mean the biggest ones. And think about their function. What they are for? It immadiately makes them more interesting for you to make, and you can add details based on that concept. For example, communication tower. Building for aerial arrivment of spaceships. Buiding of CIA, Mcdonalds quarters. Come up with your own ideas.
4. Break down the city grid. Not necessary all lines should be parallel to each other. Some streets can cut diagonally for example, spirally or what ever other interesting manner. Then add small buildings aboud the streets and in near areas.
5. Aso, when you made the main gbuildings, draw the symmetry line and think the around roads should make sense and be beautirul in some way. I mean, plan some space around main buildings.


One thing is very evident you need to make roads to plan the architecture.

Last edited by mister3d : 01-17-2014 at 04:23 PM.
 
Old 01-19-2014, 04:50 AM   #10
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Thank you for the help. As ghastly as this render is I do believe I'm finally making progress (screenshot of blood, sweat and tears not available). The details of the models themselves will be the easy part once I can feel at home with a layout. It's progress anyway. After putting thought into it I don't believe its best to put hours of work into a realistic city layout as its only an artistic endeavor I'm after (and a sci fi one at that). As long as it looks believable ... eventually. I will place some sort of transportation idea into it at some point but I don't believe they use "cars" much in this world. Thanks

(If I haven't made it clear the issue here is simply concept. I usually am not capable of conceptualizing something of this magnitude though I often try to no avail. I really like this compo but don't know the artist to even ask for permission so I guess I decided to just start in this direction for now and maybe end up around 75% close to it in the end. We'll see)

Edit Update:
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Last edited by ScottMichaelH : 01-19-2014 at 07:21 AM.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 07:34 AM   #11
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Heres a rough layout. I might change it so that the back area is actually another important district and the middle area has the housing/smaller buildings scattered ... not sure.

It's becoming clear that the reference is so scattered with buildings here and there that I need to take some charge of the planning (like suggested) otherwise I will waste hours going back and forth between Maya and the reference (since I will be glued to it without any thought of my own). Make sense?
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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All by hand?

Do you use a script to place objects or do you place them all by hand?
BTW i like the idea of this project.
 
Old 01-22-2014, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack-Ferrera
Do you use a script to place objects or do you place them all by hand?
BTW i like the idea of this project.


All by hand
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:43 PM   #14
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Great progress! If you want to look for ideas for buildings, you can look into Francis Ching "Form space and order" book. It has many interesting ideas you can borrow right away.
 
Old 01-26-2014, 02:24 AM   #15
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Thanks. My PC is up and running again so I'm back in 3ds Max where I'm much faster. I'm thinking of removing the curved style objects from my scene for the most part and sticking with hard edges (thinking of the main reference I'm using posted earlier). Big circles have a tendency to have that (green aliens - black and white sci if movie) feel to me.
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