Jim Crafton

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More updates: Tron City

Some work done shortly after the holidays...

This is initial work for the Tron City set, gradually working out how to build the city using procedural techniques. Individual buildings are modeled in Modo then incorporated into a larger set in Houdini.

The technique I'm using is something as follows:

A rough map of building elements and road ways is laid out using Moi 3d - you can get really precise curve control. I'm using some images of circuit boards to get ideas for where to put the roads. The map is imported into PS as an AI file, and then I layer on colored shaped for where the buildings would be placed. This color file is then brought into Houdini where it's imported into the Compositor (COPs) module. This is used to generate a series of B&W image maps for each "layer"/color of buildings so I can control things a little better. The colors are masked out separated using a Rotoscope node. The idea is borrowed from David Gary's CMIvfx tutorial on city building.

Then I reference each of these different layer nodes in a geometry context and build up a series of points (placed at the center of each primitive that is traced out from the B&W image). These points get pumped into a Copy SOP. Buildings are loaded by ID (which in turn get glommed into a file name that is then loaded up) and the ids can vary by adjusting a ramp control. The ramp control get's fed the current item being copied, and you can vary it visually. All of this is done inside a custom SOP VOP. Right now I have 23 different building types that can be loaded up. Some of them aren't so hot though and probably need to be redone. In addithttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifion the density is nowhere near high enough, but at least the system is in place to tinker with.

The road is also procedurally generated. The road map generated from Moi is exported as an IGS file, imported into Houdini, cleaned up a bit, and then each curve is used as a path to generate a road based on some road profile. This also automatically generates the UVs using techniques from Kim Goossens' CMI Vfx tutorial on road creation.

From 3D 2012

From 3D 2012

From 3D 2012

From 3D 2012

From 3D 2012

From 3D 2012

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More Stories By Jim Crafton

Jim Crafton is software developer currently doing a variety of work in C++, C#, and Java. He is the author of the Visual Component Framework (more at http://vcf-online.org/), an advanced C++ application framework. He's also interested in graphics, particularly 3D graphics using tools like Houdini and ZBrush.