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Making Of 'Airbase (2200 City Without a Name)'

By Tiong-seah YAP
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
Photoshop, Maya
465_tid_final.jpg

Introduction

This is an overview on how my work, "Airbase" was created, from the draft idea through to the final 3D image.
I have split this 'Making Of' into 4 parts; you will find some of references, my sketches and technical snapshots of Maya throughout this article.  I will be focusing more on the inspiration of my work and less on the technical side, and I intend this article for those people with a basic understanding of Maya and Photoshop, and who are interested in the process of my work.  OK so let's start!

Part I - Overview: Draft Idea of Design

The work "Airbase" is part of my "2200 City without a Name" project; it is the airbase of a city existing in the future.  South-east Asian cultures were my references for this design (Bali's grave stones, some Thai influences, Minangkabau's peaked roofs, Hindu colours, etc.), but I did not want to duplicate all of these cultures; rather, I selectively chose elements and re-designed them with a mixture of technology and with my own interpretation (maybe the future is not as prosperous as we expected?).(Fig.001)

465_tid_fig001.jpg
Fig. 01

At the beginning, I spent some time imagining how everything should look; what was going on; what was happening, etc.  I then started making some draft sketches in 2D - most of time falling inside my imagination and putting myself in the position of an architect in the city, or perhaps a guy who had arrived in the city.  With this, some virtual pictures started to pop into my mind: the atmosphere, colours, weather and so on. (Fig.002)

465_tid_fig002.jpg
Fig. 02

After getting a concrete idea down, and with my draft sketches complete, I then went on and made a detailed sketch and colour version of the drawing. (Fig.003)

465_tid_fig003.jpg
Fig. 03

I could then start building my airbase in 3D.  Sometimes I prefer to work like a sculptor, with the added possibility of turning an object around and shaping it.  At this point I created some more fragmented sketches for some of the details and added elements that I hadn't included in the sketching stage.  This was a lot of fun, and after the basic construction was built, I could then start searching for the right camera position and considering the camera movement before going any further with more detailed works.  This is very important for a large scene such as this.

Part II - Production: Modelling/Texturing/Rendering

Modelling Process

I didn't import any drawings when working on this piece, because the structure of the building was clear cut and I was using some simple figures as references for scale during the modelling.
Everything was started with a basic polygon cylinder for the top of the building, and a polygon box for the bottom.  I usually keep the face as low as possible and use the "Add Edge tool" to add more faces if necessary.  I also use the "Extract" tool to separate some faces and the "Booleans" tool to cut out the shape I need. (Fig.004)

465_tid_fig004.jpg
Fig. 04


With regards to the creation of the dynamic form, I created a "Polygon box" and a "CP curve", selected the face and shift-selected the curve, extruded them with the "Extrude" tool and adjusted with the "Division" and "Taper" sections to get the shape I needed.  At the end, I duplicated and grouped them together and used the "Lattice" reformation tools to reshape the form to what I needed. (Fig.005)

465_tid_fig005.jpg
Fig. 05



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