Creating Big City Scenes in DAZ Studio

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited June 2017

    Dreamland Single Homes - Make a Street

     

    One option for each of the three single homes that are part of Single Homes Bundle One is Make a Street. This preset quickly creates a long street with 26 randomized copies of Home 01 or Home 03, or 50 randomized copies of Home 02 (the lots are narrower for Home 02, which is why more houses are created for roughly the same length street). Here is an Iray render showing a street full of Home 02's:

     

    Although Home 01 and 03 have similar lot sizes, which might make you think the houses are interchangeable, the size and location of the house, garage, and entryways differ, so the driveways and walkways are in the wrong spot making it hard to intermingle even these two homes on the same street. I'm thinking with some geometry editing, you could hide portions of each street in such a way that you can have different style house together, but that would take some work. (EDIT: In my next post, I descirbe how to mix the houses. it only requires deleting lots/houses, no geometry editing.) In the meantime, for this next render, I just put the three streets parallel to each other which gives you a mix of houses in the camera view. 

     

    One thing missing in these lots is trees and bushes. Most all the Dreamand sets I have come with plenty of those but they aren't present in these products. Ultrascatter or another scatter script would be a good way to add some much needed vegetation to these streets.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited June 2017

    Make a Street - Mixed Houses

     

    In my last post I mentioned the difficulty mixing the three single houses together on the same street. It turns out it's not as hard as I thought it might be. Here's what I did:

    1. Click on all three Make a Street presets. After clicking each preset, gather all the lots for that particular house (e.g., home 01) into a group (e.g., Group 1).

    2. Set the X, Y, and Z translate to 0 for all three groups. This puts them on top of each other.

    3. Next change X Translate for Group 2 to 1600. This adjusts for the different lot size for Home 02.

    4. Here's the house layout I got. I expect the same pattern will occur for you.

        Home 01: 
          26 24 22 20 18 16  2  4  6  8 10 12 14
          25 23 21 19 17 15  1  3  5  7  9  11 13

       Home 02:
          50 48 46 44 42 40 38 36 34 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16  2  4  6  8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26
          49 47 45 43 41 39 37 35 33 31 29 27 25 23 21 19 17 15  1  3  5  7  9  11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25

       Home 03:
          25 23 21 19 17 15  1  3  5  7  9  11 13
          24 22 20 18 16 26  2  4  6  8 10 12 14

       A few notes on the above:

    • The bold marks the center homes.
    • Home 01 and 03 have the same lot size
    • Home 02 has a lot size about 1/2 Home 01/03
    • Note that Home 01 and Home 03 patterns differ in two regards: the odd numbers are on opposite sides of the street, and house #26 appears in the middle of the street for Home 03. Keep this in mind when selecting which houses to hide.

    5. In the Scene pane, expand the hierarchy for each group. For Group 2 and 3, select all the objects in the scene (lots, houses, poles, fence, fire hydrant, etc.). Go to the Parameters pane, select one of the items in the list, type Ctrl+A to select all, then find the Visible parameter and turn it off. This will hide everything from these two groups. Do not turn off the eye for the group, otherwise none of the houses will show when you turn selected ones back on.

    6. In Group 1, identify a lot/house to turn off (e.g., 16). Expand everything in Group 1, find lot 16, then select all the children of lot 16. Go to the Parameters pane, select one of the items in the list, type Ctrl+A to select all, then find the Visible parameter and turn it off. This will hide everything from that lot.

    7. In Group 3, identify a lot/house to turn on (e.g., 15). Expand everything in Group 3, find lot 15, then select all the children of lot 15. Go to the Parameters pane, select one of the items in the list, type Ctrl+A to select all, then find the Visible parameter and turn it on. This will show everything from that lot. You now have Home 01 and Home 03 next to each other.

    8. Turn off another lot in Group 1 (e.g., 3). Then turn on two lots in Group 2 (e.g., 5 and 7).

    9. Repeat steps 6-8 as many times as you want.

    Hint: The three Make a Street presets add 100 houses to your scene. They are not instances.as they differ in materials and design elements. That can make your computer slow to respond. If that's an issue for you, delete half of each group, as a street of 25 houses is plenty long for mosts scenes.

    Here's a render with the three houses sitting side by side on the same street.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited June 2017

    Front Drive Houses

     

    I purchased 1stBastions Neighbours: Front Drive some time ago but never rendered it. It's a cluster of nine suburban houses with the adjoining streets. Here's a 3DL render showing the basic layout:

     

    As you can see, at this angle you would need to add some surrounding landscape. The set can do some of that, as it has some buildingboxes, parkette, and panoramas. Here's a render of the buildings and parkette turned back on:

     

    And here's with the panoramas turned on:

     

    From a high view, the panoramas don't blend in that well, but from a street level view, they make for a believable background:

     

    And here's the same camera view with the background elements turned back off. The set comes with 24 cameras, so it's easy to find a good viewpoint just by cycling through the cameras. 

     

    In addition to using the panoramas that come with the set, you can use other background elements. Here is an Iray render using a forest row  prop from EM - Aspen Billboards And Forests:

     

    And here's a combination of sets - houses from Single Homes Bundle One in the background and the houses from 1stBastions Neighbours: Front Drive in the foreground: 

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited June 2017

    More Trees

     

    Just wanted to show one of the scenes from the last post with a different tree product. The foregorund bushes and background trees come from Ecomantics - Efficient Ecosystems. It's in Fast Grab today for less than $4. Made for 3DL (this render) but also renders beautifully in Iray.

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  • Worlds_EdgeWorlds_Edge Posts: 1,838

    You are rendering extremely believable residential neighborhoods. Enjoying your thread. 

  • KnittingmommyKnittingmommy Posts: 7,947

    I love the car and plane animations.  Nice work!  

    I love following this thread.  One thing that seems to stand out is the lack of parking lots for all of those buildings.  Have you found anything premade yet for parking lots?  I've looked but have come to the conclusion I might have to do my own texture for one.  Doing a plane with a blacktop surface wouldn't be too difficult but I'm not sure about doing all of the parking lines.  I'll have to play with it.  It would be nice if there was already a basic parking lot somewhere.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited June 2017

    Thanks @Worlds_Edge and @Knittingmommy. Glad you like what I've been showing.

     

    One thing that seems to stand out is the lack of parking lots for all of those buildings.  Have you found anything premade yet for parking lots?  I've looked but have come to the conclusion I might have to do my own texture for one.  Doing a plane with a blacktop surface wouldn't be too difficult but I'm not sure about doing all of the parking lines.  I'll have to play with it.  It would be nice if there was already a basic parking lot somewhere.

    That's a very good observation. Almost all the sets seem to have just street side parallel parking or private parking in a driveway. City Neighborhood has a small lot (7 spaces including a handicap spot) that is perpendicular to the road. The texture map for the ground shows the asphalt, stripes and sidewalk so it could be used as a starting point. Movie Sets: Low Poly Block 08 has a parking lot with lined parking spots (perpendicular, not slanted). The texture can be grabbed and reapplied. Other than that, I haven't spotted any sets with slanted parking spots like you would find in a suburban shopping center or mall. If anyone knows of any, please post.

    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 5,136

    Offering this purely for information purposes,  the motel has atleast 40 space parking lot.  and its easy enough to toss the buildings and move the pavement to another location. 

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507

    Offering this purely for information purposes,  the motel has atleast 40 space parking lot.  and its easy enough to toss the buildings and move the pavement to another location. 

    Great! Thanks for posting FirstBastion. I was thinking one of your sets might have a striped parking lot (I have your 50's motel but the lot is gravel). BTW, the image is of the 1970's Era Motels

  • KnittingmommyKnittingmommy Posts: 7,947

    Oh, I didn't even think of that, @FirstBastion.  It's one of the few sets of yours that I don't have, FB.  I think I'm gonna have to move that up on the list of must buys next time your store is on sale which will be soon, I hope.  Thanks!  :)

    I have City Neighborhood so I'll have to play with that one, too.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    On the Beach

     

    During the hot summer, many city folks head to the beach for relief. Here's a beach town made using houses from Dreamland City Blocks, the Old Beach Pavilion, and a sea wall made with a prop from City Roads (in between the houses and pavilion). The beach itself is a primitive plane transformed with a push modifier and uses a sand texture from Mec4d PBS Shaders vol.2 for Iray. Water is iREAL Animated Ocean Water System with a push modifier added to soften the waves on the beach.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Shops and Stores

     

    There's all kind of shopping in big cities. Here I call out some stores contained in a couple of sets. These first ones are from Mountain Valley.

    • Travel agent, jewelry, stationary, and barber shop:

    • Paint store and bar:

    • Bike shop and gas station:

     

    These next ones are from Dreamland Models city blocks (available at rendo, his low poly blocks are available at Daz).

    • Another gas station in city block 15:

    • A grocery store in city block 14 and another one in city block 8:

    • A tire shop in city block 7:

    • A theatre, fashio stores and hardware store in city block 7:

    • Butcher and dentist shops from city block 7:

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Police Protection

     

    Police provide an important service in city and towns large and small. This first image is of 1stBastion Buildings: Police Station with police SUV from 1stBastion's Oncoming Traffic: Lo-Poly SUV and police car from Urban Sprawl 3.

     

    Here is an old-fashion police station from Dreamland city block 8: 

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Restaurants

     

    A few places to grab a bite to eat. This first one is from Harpsburg for Daz Studio:

    And here it is again with the addition of Harpsburg Night Lights for Iray:

     

    Here's another restaurant, Esprit d'Autrefois:

     

    And a cafe from Mountain Valley:

     

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Convenience Store

     

    A common feature in modern cities are convenience stores. Here's a freebie from sharecg: Aemi's Mini Shop. It's setup for Poser and doesn't appear top have the right file structure for DS, so you'll need to find the textures when you import it. Unzip it to your Runtime folder, locate it in Content Library using Poser Formats/My Daz3D Library/Props/aemi1970/aemi-shop. Double click on each icon, make note of the image file it can't find, then browse to that location. After you find that image, all the others for that section of the shop will be loaded. There's about 16 icons to work through, then save it all as a scene subset for future use. Not only do you get hte mini-mart, but you also get some other city buildings and a street.

    One thing you'll quickly notice as you find the missing images is this is a Japanese shop. For distant views, it can work as a stand-in for a US store but not for close ups. I quickly tested adding a prop from Maclean's Everyday Toiletries and Every day Groceries and you could swap out the existing products to US ones with a bit of work. There's also Widdershins Grocery Pack. None of these had beer, soft drinks or chips however.

    Here's some sample renders, starting with a street view:

    Here's just outside the shop. The products are indistinct, so this would work for a non-Japanese location.

    Here's the inside. I did not work on the lighting. For Iray I would use Ghost Lights extension pack 2 as it has florescent fixtures you could swap out. Door rigging does work in Daz Studio.

     

     

    EDIT: 3 days after posting this, a new convenience shop product was released: Corner Store and Poses for Genesis 3 Male and Female. This has items you would commonly find in a US store. I don't have it yet so I can't say anymore than what you see in the promos.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Department Store

     

    This is another freebie and it has both an exterior and interior. It reminds me more of a big box store than a traditional department store and would fit any modern US suburban area. It loads easily into Daz Studio, no need to hunt up images as you have to do for the convenience store above.

    • The interior shelving is nicely done but is empty - you'll have to fill it up yourself.

     

    • The exterior textures are flat and there's these tiny palm trees scattered across the parking lot.

     

    • Here's with the palm trees replaced with aspen trees and some alternate shaders (from Architectural Iray Shaders) added to the building.

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  • nonesuch00nonesuch00 Posts: 14,384

    Great renders & thanks for the link to the freebie.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Great renders & thanks for the link to the freebie.

    Thanks. Quite some nice stuff that is free.

    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Street Construction

     

    If you want to create your own street network, you could use primitives and the geometry editor to start from scratch or you could use street construction products such as Streets or City Roads. In this post, I'll be covering a free product available at sharecg, Street Construction Set. Later I'll take a look at Streets and City Roads.

    One problem I find with construction sets is it can take some time to load, position, and if needed re-texture the parts. That's true with this set. You get the pieces and it's up to you to assemble them. The result, though, is a good looking street.

    Some tips:

    1. When you get the product from sharecg, there's a multitude of items to download. Be sure to get them all.
    2. The product as loaded is too small for Daz-size houses and cars. I found setting the scale to 160% makes the two-lane street about 25 feet wide (measured with Measure Metrics) which is better.
    3. I grouped all the elements together and made the group 160%. That way, as you add new elements to the group, they'll go to the right size.
    4. Most of the products I have with pre-made streets have square city blocks. I wanted a rectangular city block similar to what my grandparents had. I also wanted to be able to tile the block so I could fill out a scene.  So I used 1 4-way intersection and added 3 of the straight sections to the vertical arms and 5 of the curb-cut sections to the horizontal arms. I filled the space between one set of  arms with a primitive cube then made 3 instances to fill the other 3 spaces. This grouped together makes 1/4 of a block. Four copies fitted together gives a complete block about 372 feet by 744 feet.
    5. I didn't care for the grass texture that comes with the set, so I replaced it with a grass shader from Ground Shaders for DAZ Studio. I tiled it 10 x 10 on the large cubes and 0.5 x 0.5 on the grass in between the street and sidewalk.
    6. The set comes with telephone poles and street signs. They seem a little too big at 160%, but if scaled smaller, they don't fit the intersections. 

    Here's a render of the 1/4 city block with a Collective 3D home and a 1950 car. I did not duplicate all the wires and poles but you'll  get an idea of what they look like.

     

    Here's a render of the full city block. For many scenes, you would not need this much real estate and instead would use want to put some sections of streets in the background. 

     

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  • nonesuch00nonesuch00 Posts: 14,384

    Looks great

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Street Construction - 2

     

    Streets is another road construction product. In addition to the road sections themselves, it also has downtown city building facades (separate or already attached to road sections), various street signs, mailboxes, street grates and manhole covers, bus shelters, traffic lights, and more. There is a variety of material options to apply different US and UK street and street sign markings as needed. There are also poses that help move the parts into position. Because of the pose controls, it's pretty quick to put a road network together. This one took less than six minutes to assemble:

     

    The blue areas between the streets in the image above are areas you'll need to fill in, either with a flat plane to represent grass or a parking lot, or buildings from another product. The set comes with building facades that can be positioned quickly with the pose controls, but the facades are just that, there are no roofs, so you won't be able to do birds-eye views unless you add in a roof with a primitive or by some other means. This image shows what I mean:

     

    Here's a street level view of the image above. The facades are more than just billboards, as they all have some geometry extensions behind them allowing entry-ways to have some depth. The shop windows have images that give the impression the stores are fully stocked. All in all, it makes for a very usable downtown street scene.

     

    In the image above, you can see some of the 56 props in use. The street lamp, stop and speed signs, walk light, bus shelter, bus stop, trash can, gutter grate, manhole cover, and mail box are all props from the set. Streets is an older product that goes on sale fairly often, so be on the lookout if you want city props and a quick way to put a city street scene together.

     

     

     

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Let It Rain!

     

    Some time back I showed use of River Front's weather props. I have two Iray rain products to show. This first one is Heavy Rain for 3Delight and Iray. I took a previous scene I had made  and added in the rain planes. After positioning and a test render, I found the figure and building too obscured, so I turned off planes 2 and 3. I also slanted the planes group to show rain coming more angled as it frequently does. I added two of the ground drop planes, one at street level, and the second at sidewalk level. A sunny sky was too bright, so I used a night time sky of irradiance dome with tone mapping adjusted so it was brighter. I also found it helpful to add a 100k ghost light at the top of the rain planes to provide better distinction in the drops. Here's two Iray renders: the first with the ground drops and slanted rain,  the second without.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    More Rain

     

    I also tried out Iray Rain. It comes with three rain settings: light, heavy rain lower intensity (I call it mid), and heavy rain. It also has puddles and splashes like the prior product. For both Iray Rain and Heavy Rain, the instructions in the readme are lacking and I'm finding lighting to be hit or miss at least for this particular scene. That showed up in this product were there's a much lighter portion of rain near the upper edge (it gets more intense as the rain gets more intense). I finally tracked it down to reflections from the bright areas of the skydome which are just above the tree line and hills. Turning off draw dome doesn't help as you still get that light variation. I did a brief test with sun-sky but was getting too sharp of shadows, not what you'd have on an overcast, cloudy day.  I do like the different density options in this product.

    Low Intensity:

     

    Mid Intensity:

     

    Heavy Intensity:

     

    Here's a different viewing angle showing the clouds. Bright patches like these are what's reflecting off the rain.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited July 2017

    Painted Rain

     

    I also own Ron's Rain photoshop brushes. I use them in GIMP, a free photoshop-like program. All in all, this was the most satisfactory way to add rain to this scene. It was quick and I had a lot more control without needing to manipulate the lights and sky. There are 120 brushes included, with many forms of dropping rain to various types of splashes to rain drops on windows. The way I applied it was to render the scene without rain props, then in Gimp I darkened the image using the Brightness-Contrast tool. I added a transparent layer to paint on with the brushes (easier to start over if you do't like it, plus you can adjust the opacity of the overall layer if it gets too intense. I set the opacity of the brushes to 35%, white color, and size depending upon the brush. The slanting rain was brush 061 sized to 1000 so one click filled the screen. I added 3 clicks for this image. The water splashes caused by the rain flowing off the side of the background building was made using two clicks of brush 042. The small circular splashes on the sidewalk and street were multiple clicks of brush 038. 

    Here's the starting render:

     

    Here's the postworked image.

     

    I'm still intrigued by the possibilities of the rain prop products I discussed in the previous two posts but I have to do a lot more work with them to master the lighting.

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited August 2017

    Fighting Fire

     

    Fire is a constant danger in cities large or small. In these renders I'm featuring two products: Fire Truck and Firefighter Uniform for Genesis 3 Male(s) and Genesis 2 Male(s)

    The fire truck is a nicely detailed model. You can load it as a ladder truck as I have here or you can load it without the ladder. Various pose controls allow you to open doors and cabinets, turn lights, mirrors, windshield wipers and tires, and move and adjust the ladder. The ladder has a good reach (about 10 stories!) which is helpful if your scene is located in a high-rise district. There's also crutches which can be extended which stabilize the truck from tipping over when the ladder is extended. The cabin has a handful of props in it. Although you can open the cabinet doors along the side of the fire truck, you'll find they are empty, so you'll have to use other props to populate the cabinets. 

    The uniform product is a modern set of firefighter clothing. Materials come in Iray and 3DL. Overall color when it loads is tan with yellow trim. There's materials for 4 different fire departments, so you can make it look like several departments are cooperating to fight a fire. You can also add an oxygen tank and mask to the figure. The clothing seemed to move well with the couple of poses I tried. 

    I found the ladder narrowed as you went up and a 3GM figure became a tight fit. I had to swing legs in to avoid intersecting with the ladder sides.

    The one big thing missing from either product is some form of fire hose. No fire truck in action is complete without hoses. I'll have to look around and see if any are available or if there's some rigged prop (like a rope) that can be re-textured to serve as a hose.  

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  • NovicaNovica Posts: 22,513
    edited August 2017

    Looks really good! I picked that up when it was really cheap a few weeks ago. (and pointed it out to everyone. Hope they got it then!) 

    Post edited by Novica on
  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    Novica said:

    Looks really good! I picked that up when it was really cheap a few weeks ago. (and pointed it out to everyone. Hope they got it then!) 

    That's when I got it. Glad I did.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited August 2017

    Natural Disaster - Flood

     

    Big cities can be hit by all types of natural disasters. My brother-in-law lives in Houston and his home got flooded this morning. He and his family were able to wade out to a fire van for transport to a shelter. I hope all those affected stay safe and can return home soon. 

    The rescue boat is a free obj model from ShareCG. It imported with specular and ambient strength set to 100%, so tone those down. It also came in with 0% opacity, so turn that up to 100%. Rain is from RiverFront weather prop and the water drops are from Heavy Rain for 3Delight and Iray. Uniforms are from Law Enforcement Outfits for Genesis 2 and 3 Male(s)

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  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,507
    edited September 2017

    The Mediterranean Look

     

    There's a number of products in the Daz store that can give you a quick big city. I've featured some already (Dreamland models, Urban Sprawl 3, Medina Cityscape Generator, etc.) and have several more to show. This post is about La Piazza Realistic Mediterranean Town. It's an older 3DL product but looks really good and renders fast (on the order of a couple of minutes). It comes with lights and skydome and that's all I used in these renders. There's 50 cameras scattered about the city (the easiest way to find them is to use a default camera up high then you can spot where they are located). As with any older products, DS loads the materials with specular set to 100%, so select all the building and props in the Scene pane, select all of them again in the Surfaces pane, and set specular strength to 0-5%. The Mediterranean region covers a broad geographic area - I would say this most reminds me of Italy. No matter where it is, this city would be a great setting for an evening time stroll around the central plaza.

    By the way, it's in Mega Fast Grab today.

    Click on the images to see them full size.

    La Piazza cam 7.jpg
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    La Piazza cam 3.jpg
    1600 x 1200 - 2M
    La Piazza cam 20.jpg
    1600 x 1200 - 2M
    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • Those look very nice.  I love the closeup flood render.  You know I have that Piazza and I don't think I've ever rendered it yet.  Your renders look really great.  I think I'll have to get that out sometime and do some background images.  I'm always needing city backgrounds. 

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