Question on City Design

Hello, everyone! I’m new to these forums. As per the instructions in the Wiki book…I went through Noob to Pro before coming out here to ask questions. So here goes…hope someone can help.

I’ve looked around the web (various 3d forums and the like) for a tutorial on how to build a city in Blender. I’ve found a lot of information about textures and mapping and the like, but nothing on how to get started in the first place.

What I’d like to do is replicate my home town (Indianapolis) in 3D as an ongoing project for practice. I don’t know where to begin. Is it best to import a google map or satellite image and work up from there? Is it better to build the individual buildings then drop them in to one blend from many others? Do I start with streets? Sidewalks? Parks?

If anyone knows of a good tutorial on this sort of thing, please let me know. I appreciate the help!


Hmmm that is quite the undertaking. I’m not sure of any tutorials out there for this but heres how I would do it:

First try to track down a layout of your city. Before you start laying down any sort of roads or buildings it would probably be a good idea to get the landscape made first (just the shape, no need to worry about textures atm). There are several landscape tutorials lying around if you need one. Then I would lay just the road (and sidewalks). I would put the road and landscape into a single blend. After that I would create each building by itself and then import them into the blender project where you have your landscape and road. After you have done all the buildings you can go back and start detailing it, like adding street signs and texturing everything. As for the parks, I would probably do those last since that is mainly just landscape, go back and add the paths that run through it and stuff.Obviously these are just broad brush stroke ideas, but that’s how I would probably go about doing it.

Thanks for the advice, Peasley!

As for terrain, I planned on making it relatively flat (Indy is a flat place). However, this gives me a great starting point. I think I’ll look up a topographical map online so I can get some heights above sea level.

You mentioned doing the detailing after the buildings are imported. Is there any particular reason for this? It seems to me that once my skyscrapers are all imported it would be difficult to get my views up close for details. Would you import each building on a different layer to avoid this problem? Or just use the “hide” function? With a city, I can forsee organization as the primary problem.

Also, will it matter much if I work in different scales before importing, or should I make sure that I stick to the same scale?

Thanks for the help!


Yea do the detailing on the building before they are imported, sry about that. I don’t think it would matter much if you make them in different scales, though It wouldn’t hurt if you did.

wow this is such a coincidence. im trying to do a city design for a neighborhood (not actually an entire city) and im kind of new too)
you can use google earth to get satellite images for parts of the city and use them as references to where to place the buildings and place the roads. thats what i did and i basically have the roads and everything lain out. then you just have to model the buildings which i am doing right now. after that i plan to add in trees, lamps, and signs.

Don’t forget “Local”!

You can select one or more objects in a scene and press <L> to flag them as “Local”, then in your 3D window press <Numpad />, everything will disappear from view except the objects you flagged as “Local”.

Note that if you use more than 1 3D window at the same time the “Local” view only affects the window you called it in, in any other windows you will still see all objects, this can get confusing if you find yourself missing some objects, make sure you are not in “Local” viewing mode in one of the windows.

Local is handy. You may also want to make use of layers… I.E. Having the land on 1 layer, buildings on another, raods/sidewalks on another.

You’ve given me some ideas, so I think I’ll model my town! Wee fun.

For some reason i feel the urg to make Liberty City from GTA3. That might not be too hard, I can look at the map that comes with the game, and just drive around to see what everything looks like in detail.

Here’s a link to an article about architect Yorik van Havre’s work in city building in Blender. If you have problems accessing the site, give it a day or two, he’s just been “Blendernationed” and his site has bandwidth problems.