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In this tutorial I'll take you through the process of quickly creating a textured city in 3ds Max 2009 and how you, through a few extra render passes, can go from a quite crappy render to something half-way decent using After Effects CS3. If all goes well, we'll end up with a finished shot not too far from the clip above. In Part 1 I'll cover the creation of the city in 3ds Max and in Part 2 we'll jump over to After Effects for the compositing.

Click here to go to Part 2

Step 1: Creating Buildings

Create a few buildings in 3ds Max or use the Max file provided above (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

The more buildings you create, the more diversity you'll get in your cityscape. (Shocking, isn't it?) Make sure the pivot points of all buildings are placed at ground level (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Lastly, you'll end up with a total building count of around 3000, so low poly is probably a good idea if you don't have a very fast system.

Step 2: Particle Flow

Create a plane and name it "CityEmitter". The buildings you created in the previous step will be distributed across this plane (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Next, go to the Create tab, choose Particle Systems from the drop-down menu and choose PF Source (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Place the PF Source anywhere in your scene. The position is not important (Fig.05).

Fig. 05

Under Emission, set Viewport Quantity Multiplier to 100% so you'll be able to see all buildings in the viewport (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

continued on next page >

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