Floating City Project

Starting Floating City Project


So for our first assignment in Imaging and Data Visualisation we have been set the task of modelling a floating city in Maya. In groups we have to gather statistical and cultural data on Belfast. Based on our statistics and research we have to design a 3D representation with motion graphics with annotations.

So far we have decided to base our research on Belfast as we thought it would to easier to gather relevant information as we could gather information from physical sources as well as online ones.


As a group we have started to discuss different ideas on what our city will look like.We wanted to keep it quite simple but be interesting to look at with bright colours etc. Our first idea was to make a city made up from revolving cogs with different kinds of buildings placed around them. It also would have chains etc hanging from the cogs going for a slight steam punk style. We also had ideas of having the city ride on the back of some biological creature but due to time this idea wasn’t feasible. Our final idea was to create a city with recognisable buildings from Belfast like the Albert clock, Queens and the City Hall. We also were going to add in buildings such as The Bot Pub and Boojum as students may visit these ones more frequently. These buildings would all be low poly and would be arranged to fit around each other. We also wanted to still include the cog idea and chains. We though the buildings could be linked by chains and then the buildings would still sit on a base of revolving cogs.

So far we completed some statistical and cultural research on Belfast. We have been collecting data from different sources such as Census data, Police Data and Tourism statistics. Some serious statistical Data :





Statistical Maps:


As we were developing our ideas we also were discussing collecting slightly more humorous data about students and other buildings such as Boojums, best pokestops, best place for a night out etc. We thought as well as the serious statistical data that this would be funny and more engaging.



Inspiration/ Influences. 

We looked at good examples such as the Avengers age of Ultron and District 9 which have floating structures. We also looked at low poly work and ideas using cogs and different structures.




Images taken from google images.

Developing Ideas / Maya

I started  to complete some concept ideas for the cogs etc using photo mashing and painting. I also started to build some low poly buildings/ structures from around Belfast. Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 12.22.29.png

Cog Concept.jpg


After seeing our results with the cogs we didn’t think it suited the colourful style we had imagined. We also found out that other groups in the class were also looking at cogs so we decided to scrap the cog idea and just focus on our colourful student themed city.


Student city concepts. We imagined that all the buildings that we were planning on building would be stacked up on top of each other forming a tower of iconic buildings from around Belfast.

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Reference photos for some of the buildings we have decided to model

We decided to model iconic buildings as well as others such as clubs bars and fast food outlets once again focusing on students.

Maya Construction Deciding on Modelling Style

So for our floating city we have started to build recognisable buildings/ structures from Belfast. I’ve been working on the Harland and Wolff Cranes. Heres some images of my progress. We decided that we wanted our buildings to have a unique and colourful look that would attract the eye but after building the crane I decided to focus slightly more on a lower poly style as time was an issue.

What is low Poly ? : Low poly is a polygon mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons. Low poly meshes occur in real-time applications (e.g. games) and contrast with high poly meshes in animated movies and special effects of the same era.


Buildings on Maya

These are some images during construction of the the individual buildings. They range from City Hospital, Victoria Square Dome, The Obel Tower, Harland and Wolff Cranes, Stormont and Finally Divis Flats.


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Construction Of City In Maya and Animation

After we had built and textured each building we imported them onto one file and started to stack them on top of each other creating our stacked city. We had built some buildings with animation in mind. Glenn took clock faces, crane and flag from the Kremlin and animated them. This made our city slightly more interactive and active.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 20.06.09

We moved the buildings around until we felt happy with the way it looked then added in more buildings gradually building up the stack. We also then decided on making a low poly grass and mud base instead of using the cogs. This worked well as it suited the city and overall style better than the cogs.

Final City Completed 

These are rendered images of our city. After completing the main Maya model we each took copies of the final file and started placing cameras and key framing camera shots. We worked together as a group to figure out how to render a sequence correctly. We then planned where our statistics would pop up during our final video leaving areas of sky for information to appear.


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Rendering and Data Visualisation

After we placed and keyframes our cameras we rendered out the shots.

What is rendering. I thought this was and interesting addition to the post as it is a question which I have been asked before.


We also have briefly looked into Data Visualisation and how you can display complex data to make it easier to understand.  This video explains the concept well. We are going place pop up text during our final video displaying some serious and humours statistics.

What is rendering. I thought this was and interesting addition to the post as it is a question which I have been asked before.


We also have briefly looked into Data Visualisation and how you can display complex data to make it easier to understand.  This video explains the concept well.