New York fly-drive


(GavBain) #1

A large, low poly city.


I considered posting this in the animation section but one thing this project taught me is how much I have to learn about animation. I thought I had everything worked out before committing to the final render, but the timing issues and errors with cars passing through the camera are not that great. The other bad habit I am going to have to get over before I could call myself an animator, is shooting everything in one shot. I am much happier with this project as a collection of stills, so I am posting here instead.

The other thing exposed by this project is my lack of experience modelling hard surfaces. I have never posted a car model. I really need to practice on that for future. The exagerated glare on headlights at street level are hiding a lot of crimes in the car models.

I have a YouTube version here: http://youtu.be/-9kUmXwHco4

Having said that, this was a lot of fun creating the city. I am just back from a trip to New York and I tried to capture the general feel of the streets. The grid system in Manhattan creates this canyon effect where you have almost a clear view to open space along the rows of buildings.


I also built myself a new office in the middle of the city. Well, why not.


Textures from CGTextures.com. Sounds from FreeSound.org and I used the ResPower.com render farm for about 900 frames of the animation.


(GavBain) #2

Oops, posted in Animation section after-all. Don’t be too harsh on me, I am a complete newbie on animation.


(Stephen Cameron) #3

That was really cool. Yeah your car models are nothing to write home about but you really made this city feel huge and busy. Any chance you could release your model on blendswap.com?


(XeroShadow) #4

That reminds me. I need to get back to my own city. It looks good from the angles you rendered it from. But there’s something about the grainy look from the second picture that’s look odd.


(3dcineman513) #5

thanks to the great lighting the city does feel very atmospheric. I think it’s a great rendering.


(GavBain) #6

Thanks. I think I am restricted from putting this on Blendswap due to the CGTextures images. Most of the buildings are cubes with some modelling on the roof only, the textures give all the detail. I made masks for reflective materials and some displacement.

There are about 20 building models scattered over a vertex grid with a particle system. I got the basic technique from Andrew Price. There is also a lattice that is deforming the particle grid + the arrays of streetlights and traffic lights. Most of the cars are also particle systems. Having a moving car follow a path that is deformed by the same lattice as the groundplane works really well to keep cars on the ground and following a slope.

I will put the building models on Blendswap, minus the textures, but there is really nothing much to them.


(niverik2k) #7

It looks nice, great work. I like the animation. I don’t know if you plan on doing mre work to this or not, but I had some ideas that you might or might not find useful to take the animation to the next level.

  1. The skyscraper part of the city is too big. There are two main areas with tall buildings and the other areas are not so tall. (Wall street and MidTown). The rivers that surround Manhattan help give the city part of it’s feel.
  2. It would be cool if the streetlights animated with the traffic, because everyone is running a red light.
  3. You should show the reflections of sunlight off of building windows, that is a major element of NY lighting. I don’t know how you would do this, but if you did, it would be really cool.
  4. You could modify the streetlights to look like NY streetlights.
  5. You may want to turn the lights off for the parked cars,

(thatslifeee) #8

looks amazing


(Blu) #9

Adding to XeroShadow’s comment, perhaps adding a little grain to the vehicle taillights might help them blend into the gritty look of the scene better? Other than that, outstanding work!


(Atom) #10

Nice work, but it could use some DOF and motion blur. With that much camera movement, there should be some motion blur somewhere.


(GavBain) #11

Thanks for the comments. There are some great suggestions here, sincere thanks for the input. I think I will take those ideas forward to future projects rather than rework this one.

Good learning experience for me is to do a rough render of the whole thing to test timing, I did do this for my first pass, but I reworked the camera path afterwards and did not repeat the rough render to retest timing.

I also learned to spend more time getting the scene right, ref the comments on headlights for parked cars, adding grain to tail-lights and trying to get the overall Manhattan context right with the rivers and building heights.

I’m visiting Holland this week, I’ll just render a flat plane, how hard can that be? (only jokng).


(Star Ranger4) #12

My big thought is that adding more refection to the cab surfaces should help, as might a slightly more contrasting texture. Right now they just look like a flat color material; variations in color should help improve the feel of the shot