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# Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 2 - Basic Scene Setup

By
-
-
Industry
• Design Visualization
Subject
• Animation
• Modeling
• 2014
Products
• 3ds Max
Skill Level
• Intermediate
Duration
8 min

# Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 2 - Basic Scene Setup

#### In this tutorial, you lay the foundation for the first city block. This includes working with reference images, deciding on the project scale and setting up 3ds Max accordingly.

Notes

• Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
• This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.

Transcript

`100:00:06,550 --> 00:00:11,200Before you start working on your project, you first need to decide on some basic facts:200:00:11,401 --> 00:00:17,079You need to address the general scale of the project, and the sizes of the individual city blocks.300:00:17,464 --> 00:00:24,707If you are planning to make the city blocks tileable as is the case here, you also need to consider their general design.400:00:25,127 --> 00:00:28,136Take a look and consider these three variations:500:00:28,464 --> 00:00:36,186They are different as far as the smaller inner roads are concerned but the main arteries are generally similar.600:00:37,905 --> 00:00:47,573This was done on purpose so that when you start tiling the city blocks, the perimeters and the center crossroads line up perfectly.700:00:51,724 --> 00:01:00,754Also the symmetrical nature of the perimeters and central axes work equally well if the city blocks are rotated in increments of 90 degrees.800:01:01,177 --> 00:01:09,775In fact, this would create even more variation as the inner roads and the building lots would look even more random this way.900:01:11,005 --> 00:01:16,184Of course, you still need to learn to build these city blocks, and you'll be starting from scratch.1000:01:16,574 --> 00:01:23,734Each one of these city block squares are 300m x 300m, and you will use these dimensions in your project.1100:01:24,203 --> 00:01:27,431Open or Reset 3ds Max to start a new project.1200:01:27,930 --> 00:01:34,420Typically, the first thing you'd want to do is set up your scene units under Customize > Units Setup1300:01:35,010 --> 00:01:41,010For this project, set your System Units Setup to Feet instead of the default Inches.1400:01:41,206 --> 00:01:47,493There are a couple of reasons for that: First, this is a large scale scene that will span to hundreds or even thousands of feet.1500:01:48,070 --> 00:01:50,920You probably won't need accuracy down to an inch.1600:01:51,350 --> 00:01:57,885More importantly, we may be using the scene at a later time for some Autodesk Revit Interoperability.1700:01:58,198 --> 00:02:04,766Interoperability between Revit and 3ds Max works best when 3ds Max's System Units are set in Feet.1800:02:05,141 --> 00:02:11,165This will be discussed more in detail in due time but for now, choose Feet as a System Unit.1900:02:11,860 --> 00:02:16,460For the Display Units, you can set them to metric or imperial to suit your needs.2000:02:16,782 --> 00:02:20,679Personally, I like to use Meters for Architectural projects.2100:02:21,040 --> 00:02:24,130Click OK to accept the changes and exit the dialog.2200:02:24,516 --> 00:02:28,867While you're at it, you may want to make a few additional changes before moving on.2300:02:29,242 --> 00:02:34,936Typically, in architectural environments such as this, it is rather common to use the Mental Ray renderer.2400:02:35,388 --> 00:02:40,661From the Render Setup dialog, switch the Production Renderer to mental ray.2500:02:43,251 --> 00:02:47,759You also may want to use a different render resolution than the default 640x480.2600:02:48,244 --> 00:02:59,448Use the HDTV (video) preset instead. For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll set it to 960x540 but you can opt for a larger resolution if you want.2700:03:00,038 --> 00:03:02,283Close the dialog and save your file.2800:03:02,705 --> 00:03:08,742Before you start building the city blocks, you may want to sketch some reference images in a paint program.2900:03:09,179 --> 00:03:16,385These images seen here represent three plausible variations and were easily created in Adobe Photoshop.3000:03:16,823 --> 00:03:20,565You can use other paint programs or even a hand sketch might do.3100:03:21,331 --> 00:03:29,324In Photoshop, create a 300x300 pixel image. This is by no means a high-end resolution but it will do for learning purposes.3200:03:29,789 --> 00:03:37,118The 300x300 pixels represent the 300x300 meters,which are the dimensions of the city block.3300:03:37,853 --> 00:03:43,654Choose a color to fill the background. I'll use beige or tan color for this.3400:03:50,346 --> 00:03:56,260Set guidelines at the center of the image by dragging the horizontal and vertical rulers.3500:03:58,725 --> 00:04:03,451Create a new layer and switch the color to black or dark gray.3600:04:04,078 --> 00:04:10,566Using the Selection tool, select the whole drawing. You are about to draw the perimeter roads.3700:04:11,001 --> 00:04:19,612The perimeter roads are three-lane wide on each traffic side. A lane is typically about 3.5m wide (or 12 feet).3800:04:20,174 --> 00:04:25,993Three lanes are therefore about 10.5m wide represented by 10.5 pixels.3900:04:26,371 --> 00:04:30,469Since you can't really draw half a pixel, you'll round it up to 11 pixels.4000:04:31,079 --> 00:04:34,604From the Edit menu, choose Stroke.4100:04:36,227 --> 00:04:45,244Specify a width of 11 pixels and a location to the Inside of the selection and then click OK.4200:04:46,074 --> 00:04:52,029Click outside the image to cancel the selection. Next, you'll work the center axis roads.4300:04:52,590 --> 00:04:56,110Create a new layer between the perimeter and the background.4400:04:56,655 --> 00:05:00,080Change the main color to a medium to dark blue.4500:05:03,901 --> 00:05:08,616Select the Brush tool and change the palette to Square brushes.4600:05:09,694 --> 00:05:15,195The central roads are two-lane wide in each direction, so that's four lanes in total.4700:05:15,542 --> 00:05:19,923A total of four lanes translate in a 14m wide artery.4800:05:20,317 --> 00:05:23,373Set the brush to 14 pixels and then choose the Pen tool.4900:05:23,936 --> 00:05:26,464Set the brush to 14 pixels,5000:05:28,050 --> 00:05:30,315and then choose the Pen tool.5100:05:30,784 --> 00:05:34,524Click a point to the left of the image, on the horizontal guideline.5200:05:35,044 --> 00:05:39,516Hold shift to draw a straight line and click a point to the right of the image.5300:05:39,937 --> 00:05:45,072Next, right-click inside the image and choose Stroke Path.5400:05:45,585 --> 00:05:51,906Ensure it is set to Brush mode so it can read the brush adjustment you made and click OK.5500:05:52,666 --> 00:05:56,519Right-click again and choose Delete Path.5600:05:59,067 --> 00:06:03,592Repeat the procedure for the vertical main central road.5700:06:07,985 --> 00:06:16,489Once that is done, you can create yet another layer for the inner, smaller roads. Place it between the background and central roads layers.5800:06:17,097 --> 00:06:23,758These are only two lanes wide, so set your brush to 7 pixels (representing 7 meters).5900:06:25,883 --> 00:06:28,891You can also choose a different color for them.6000:06:32,493 --> 00:06:37,119With that in place, use the Pen tool to create the inner roads.6100:06:41,729 --> 00:06:48,500Make sure you delete a path after you're done with it, otherwise, you're just extending an existing path.6200:07:15,882 --> 00:07:24,216When you are done with one layout, hide the layer, create a new one and built a new, different layout.6300:07:34,259 --> 00:07:41,590The more layouts you create, the more variation your cityscape will have but for this project, we will stick with three.6400:07:42,775 --> 00:07:46,380If you'd rather do more, by all means feel free.6500:08:01,762 --> 00:08:07,488Once you've saved these out as separate files, you are ready to use them as reference in 3ds Max.6600:08:07,893 --> 00:08:10,170This is what you do in the next movie.`
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Tags
• 3ds Max
• Animation
• Modeling
• 2014

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