Environment: Flooded Town Hall Square, Copenhagen


Hey all,

here’s my next WIP!

The project is to model Copenhagen Town Hall Square, in a flooded scenery.

Every now and then during a storm or bad rainfall, we’ll experience some bad flooding, particularly along the coast lines. We had one of these situations just two weeks ago. The scene I will make is greatly exaggerated, as something out of a Roland Emmerich movie.

What I have to show you first, is my first water test. Ideally, I would make some Gestner waves, but that is not within my power, so I’ll settle for a displacement solution.


I will have to work on whitewater and particle stuff.

The buildings in the scene will be 2½D, relying heavily on mapping of location photograhs.


  • Jonas


Hey Jussing!
Off to an already good start. My only complaint/crit is that the bump map looks a little too much. Also, maybe the water should oscillate and/or colide a little more. But I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste/opinion…

Just one question: What do you mean by “2.5D”? How does “two and a half dimensions” work, in other words.


Hi Rocky!

-I’m not sure what you mean by water oscliating and coliding… But I don’t have a lot of control over the animation, I am using Max’s procedural smoke map for displacement. I wish I could code some clever wave algorithm, but that’s not really my ballgame.

By 2½D, I mean the sides of the buildings will have very little geometry, and it will just be photographs mapped onto simple, flat models.

I've never tried that before, so that'll be exciting. :)

- Jonas


By “oscillating,” I meant the water (IMO) should spread out more from a source point. For an extreme example, when a drop of water (or any object for that matter) disturbs still water, you see rings spreading out from the drop point. And by colliding I simply meant, I thought the waves should crash into one another more.

About using MAX for water: yeah it’s understandable. I tried animating realistic water, too, and know it’s very difficult in achieving a believable shader to begin w/, let alone getting the movement right. Don’t know what else to tell you because it’s really not my field of expertise…except maybe check out the Finding Nemo DVD “Making Of” feature for insight and google/search for tutorials.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance :sad:


The really cool way to animate waves, if you have the skill, is to implement some kind of algorithm. I’ve seen one called “Gestner” or something, and that is really, really beautiful. One thing it does is, it’s not just a z-axis displacement, it also pinches the top points in x-y to make the wave peaks sharper, and provide higher-res geometry around the peaks, where a lo-res mesh normally will make the peak “bounce”, as the vertices slide over.

I’ve seen a real-time demo of those, that look better than most feature-film high-end CG water I’ve seen (no whitewater or anything fancy though, just the surface).

Most feature film oceans we see (Perfect Storm, Episode II) are too soft and sine-wave-ish on the tops. I’ve tried to overcome that by color correcting the smoke map used for displacement, to “pinch” the dark part of the color range. But it’s not perfect. :shrug: That just means I have to impress all the more in my whitewater & particle stuff. :smiley:

I think there is also a “make water surface” thingy in Reactor, but I haven’t seen it make waves. I think it’s mostly used for simulating objects falling into water, and I believe it was used in Final Destination 2, when the wooden logs fall in a lake.


  • Jonas


Heh, it really sounds like you’ve done a lot of thought and research prior to actually starting. And yep, I totally, 100% agree on the oceans seen in Perfect Storm and Ep 2: they look artificial and, yet, they show them off in the trailers and expect us to think “Whoa, that looks so awesome!” Ermmmm, no :scream: . /rant

How do you plan on doing the “whitewater”/particle stuff anyhow? Do you think it’ll come down to trying out an alternative 3rd party plug-in?


Hmm, the whitewater stuff…

My plan is: I’ll make a tileable hi-res map, that’ll look like the whitecaps. And then I’ll use the same smoke-map as I use for displacement (except a color corrected version of it), as a MASK MAP, to show the whitecap map on the top of the waves.

And then, I believe there is some “spawn from texture” feature in Particle Flow, that’ll let me spawn water spray particles from those whitecap areas…

I HOPE! :smiley:


  • Jonas


Okidoki, due to some freelance jobs I have not worked on this AT ALL until today.

So, I finally got some aerial photos of the square, and matched up some mockup buildings, and made a little animatic.

Click here to download, 3.2MB Quicktime


  • Jonas

EDIT: OMG, that new attachment limitation is killing me!


Hey Jonas!
I like the choice of music (from DAT). Camera movement is nice and smooth. Have you considered speeding the camera up near the end (slightly) to catch up w/ the tone/speed flow of the music? Just a thought…
Other than that, it’s hard to crit anything at this point b/c it’s very early.


Hey, you’re really going in the right direction here, cant wait to see it finished. Only one thing, the music seems to be anticipating a big suprise, but the big suprise seems to be the water around the townhall. After that, the music has lost its function, seeing no new suprises after the water is kind of an anticlimax. Maybe start the camera move closer to the little tower and slowly pull out and show the water at a later time.
Anyway, id experiment some more with the timing, good job and good luck!


Hey guys,

thanks for the fast input!

I might tweak music and/or camera move according to your advice.

The camera IS actually accelerating towards the end, but only to prevent it from looking like it’s slowing down, because in the end the camera is farther from geometry than the beginning, which makes the movement look slower.

And yea, the music prepares for some kind of surprise… it’s meant to emphasize the pullback, as if to say “oh my, the whole CITY is flooded”. I hope that’ll be more clear in the final shot. :slight_smile:

And funny you should mention it Rocky, I’ve been thinking the music sounds like D.A.T., too, but it’s from X-Men 2 (for the record tho, it’s not on the score CD, it’s the “White House Attack” re-vamp of Mozarts Requiem, which has been available for download on John Ottman’s website :slight_smile: )

Maybe I’ll replace the music for just that reason - the shot is ripping off D.A.T. enough as it is! :smiley:


  • Jonas


Yeah, that’s what I thought was happening. IOW, I didn’t think you animated the camera using the default smooth/bezier curve in the curve editor and knew you probably tweaked it and/or set it to “fast.” When I said make it faster, I meant just that, exaggerate how fast the camera pulls back towards the end. Again, just a thought :).

Wow! Funny how close they sound. Do you have the DAT soundtrack? The choice of music sounds exactly (well, not EXACTLY, but very close, indeed) like track 4 - Tidle Wave.



Actually, I am using the curve tools for animation… a royal pain in the arse, sometimes. If I wanna make a part faster or slower, I’ll edit one of the coordinate curves, and suddently the camera will move in an S-curve, because the other curves don’t follow… then I have to tweak the other curves, till I get the original trajectory path back. :rolleyes:

-Is there a better way I’m missing? I know you can set it to “follow spline” or something, but what if I later want to change the speed on various parts of the trajectory, without changing the actual path?

And yea, you’re right, it’s track 4 from D.A.T. it sounds like! Specifically, it’s the shot where the tidal wave engulfs the Statue of Liberty, right?


  • Jonas


If you mean setting the camera to follow the path of a spline, then, yes, that’s possible. But is it “better” or more efficient? It might be more precise, but in my experience, it’s very difficult to tweak. Otherwise, I’m not sure.

And yea, you’re right, it’s track 4 from D.A.T. it sounds like! Specifically, it’s the shot where the tidal wave engulfs the Statue of Liberty, right?


PM me or reply if you need more details about the spline path or anything else.


All right, after a lot of work (at work), I’m returning to this project once again…

Here’s a test of an almost finished Town Hall building with some lightning light effects.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD (2.8 mb quicktime, 16 seconds)
(once again you’ll have to excuse the sucky bandwidth, I really need to find a new host… the good news is the clip streams in the browser, so you don’t have to download the whole thing)

As usual, critique is welcome. Things you don’t have to mention:

[li]The texture on the right side of the tower is screwed up (I’m working on it)[/li][li]The texture on the back of the building (visible when the camera is high enough) is also still screwed up[/li][li]There are people and cars visible on the texture on the facade of the building. These will be below water level, so I’m not bothering with them right now.[/li][/ul]Cheers,

  • Jonas


Ehy jussing, good start, i’ll take a look to this thread, i’m curious to see the development.
see you :bounce:


Hey jussing, i’ve just been browsing in the WIP section and i’ve come across your work, just like to say well done, the lava bridge was totally awsome, and i really liked the pyramid. Waiting for the Demoreel to download now, ca’nt wait to see the layering.

Anything new happening on this WIP? It’s an awsome start, i will be folowing this thread for shure!
Hope all’s going well with the job you got.


omg you are at it again!
this is looking damn fine


Dammit, I haven’t updated since July! Embarrasing…

Thanks guys for the nice words, you’re too kind!

I think I need a break after the Ocean challenge, and then I’ll see if I can get back to work with this thing. :wink:


  • Jonas


i perfectly know this kind of situation :
A bunch of projects on the mind, but sometimes don’t want to finish them.:bowdown:
And all of yours works are just great! I’m not sure, I can tell the same about myself:D