Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tutorial: How to make simple 3D city

Save image from Google maps

Photoshop.Using Replace color tool, or better Color range tool - select red roofs and make a layer from them.

Using this technique change color of roads to dark.

Try to simplify image during the process for better performance in 3D. Use blur+lighten layer style to fill small details. Also Color range+expand edge for 1piexel - for removing dust from image.

Use Cutout tool for more simplify

Illustrator CS2+. Open the image and trace it.

Silplify, remove, check and also an oportunity to make a details in places that we want.

Save as Illustrator file with Illustrator 3 verison.
3D max. Import curves

Start to attach curves, but don`t make it whole at once - it will crack down. Don`t know why limmit is 1000 curves to attach at once.

After attach all groups of curves together. Make spline Interpolation from 6 to 0 - for better performance.


Create a plane with exact size of your Google image. Apply texture map from Google. Than scale the buildings to plane. Aplly UVW Mapping and make texture size same as size of texture to buildings and plane. Paint all building bottoms to white colour.

Ready. Also you could make reflection maps with this texture. Make simple window maps for buildings- with opacity map and reflective map. Adjust heights of building. Make bevel on saddle roofs. Add more traced layers like trees, cars.

This technique is more faster than to make it manualy. Work won`t take you more than an hour. Looks good for fly acros animations. :) English...


GeoAir said...

I just came across your tutorial (referenced in Blenderartists forum)and, besides thanking you for your tutorial, wanted to tell you that you choose a great city for it :)
Great Job!

TEApod said...

HI ! Glad to hear someone found it ! :D

Gekke Pop said...

I found it too, it's in my favorites:D

Anonymous said...

Great! Thanks you

TEApod said...

Wa! Cool :D

Anonymous said...

quick and dirty

Craig said...

Hey Teapod,

Great tutorial. I have no experience with 3DS Max (a little with Maya). I have the height map done as well as the poly model. I know its a long shot but would I be able to send you the height map and model? Can't seem to figure out how to texture and scale appropriately.

Thanks, Teapod.

Anonymous said...

Hi TeaPod,
if I were to pay you, would you be able to do this for me?
contact me at

thank you

Paulo Ricardo said...

Great tutorial, but here is not working, I've tried several times and I can´t do it, you have another tutorial with more detail?
Best Regards
Paulo R 2008-09-24 weekly 0.8