Floating City Portfolio


Sets of wires I created for the teams use.


Simple Train Design i created for the teams use.Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.59.36

Low poly craneScreen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.34.50

Drawings and Concepts

IMAG0103IMAG0092IMAG0096IMAG0094IMAG0093IMAG0095Top left drawing above is not mine it is a rough drawing Takeshi Ogas piece.


Perspective Arnold Renders

Below image showcasing custom fog i added to the sceneScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 17.04.19

Below image showing glass balconies I placed on buildingsScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 16.39.43Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 16.14.51Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 15.58.06Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 15.46.34

Renders from Maya camera for final videoScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.19.50Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.20.27

Motion Graphics added by myselfScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.20.45

Final Video by Dermott Burns, Matthew Duddy, Ryan Loughran and James Goodwin


Motion Graphics – Displaying our Statistics

We were unsure of how to present our infographics and after researching various different approaches I came across this video which provided a simple method of presenting information. I thought that this was a really slick way to present our information as our scenes move quite fast and this is quick and simple way to display information and make it look good. It also suited our city as it was built extremely tall, this method of displaying our data shows a bar rising vertically which merges well with our scenes.

Ryan also provided me with Japanese symbols I could overlay into the scene with an added drop shadow effect which read ‘electricity, home and people.’

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Each Scene which I overlaid Graphics on;

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Creating my scene

Based off of my concept drawings I began modelling. I believed that the easiest method for the design I wanted would be to build with individual blocks, I took reference from the capsule tower in Tokyo which has detachable pods and also architecture by Herzog & DeMeuron.

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I built up the structure with various different shapes and sizes of blocks. I then added textures by using the aistandard shader and applying a clay texture preset which I got from the solid angle website.

I needed to clean up the presentation of the blocks as some were not placed properly, it took quite a long time to reach an aesthetic I liked. Once i did this I added some other features such as glass balconies. I wanted to show the building with lights, at first I added some extra edge loops so I could texture the faces to glass, I then added lights behind them as show in the picture below however I found out that it wasn’t a good idea to put loads of lights in a scene as it would drastically increase render time.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 18.16.34

I then found out I could texture faces as a Blinn and edit some attributes to give the impression of a light without greatly increasing the render time.

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I also made some circle windows inspired by the capsule tower

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 02.04.58.png


I added the trains to the scene which I had created earlier in the project. I originally used a locator to move the train but they caused be a small amount of trouble so I ended up applying the movement to the train itself as it was only moving along the y axis.

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I added different kinds of wires into my scene which I created at an earlier date.


I duplicated my original building and rotated it through grouping all the blocks and centering the pivot so that they were all show from different angles achieving an organised but messy feel. I played around with the composition of the buildings a lot to try and create a built up environment from my cameras perspective. From a birds eye view they form a sort of pentagon with a relatively equal distance between them.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 01.08.33

I added a couple of Dermott and James’ buildings in to create a background and composed them in a way to show the great scale that their buildings were compared to my lesser in size living quarters.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 01.09.22

Polygon plane

Once my buildings were lined up in a fashion I like I took a screen cap and applied it to a polygon plane to create background depth and to give the allusion of more buildings.


I placed a camera in my scene which I thought complemented the composition of the scene. The camera was set to move vertically and  rotate on it’s x axis slowly from the bottom to the top of the scene. I edited the graph to create a smooth transition for the camera. Here is the curve;

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 02.24.23.png


Here are some Arnold renders with different lighting, trying out cold and warm colours.

In the end I used four lights which I know is quite a lot, I experimented with lights and how adding additional planes around the scene to reflect light would affect it but for the aesthetic I wanted I added additional lights to ensure I was happy with how it looked. I used three area lights and a skydome light which resulted in these colours;

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.20.27

I also added fog which seemed to affect the lighting.


Rendering was new experience which definitely cased a few issues… I completed a render at a low quality and took my a long time to render in the optimum quality. I also didn’t realise if you render with tiffs anything not covered in the frame of the render will be white which led me to add a couple extra polygon planes int my scene. Eventually I figured it out and was able to render my scene in the highest of qualities and I have learned a lot about rendering in the process.

Concept Designs

The following work are sketches and concepts for my teams floating city.

Dermott thought of an idea based around a Japanese Bonsai tree which I added my own design to.

Photo on 15-03-2017 at 16.01 #2

This design is taken from James idea to use the crest of Tokyo as the base of our City.


Below is Takeshi Ogas design which I really liked followed by a couple concept studies by myself.


A very abstract design to explore different design options


Another design below with an abstract low poly idea with bright colours. Followed by thoughts on advertising.


Another abstract design below trying to represent a built up modern area in space.


The design below was in spired by architects Herzog & De Meuron, I will link an additional post with some of their work.


This is further adaptation of the last design with more abstract prospects.


Below is silhouette of how the city could look from afar based on the teams idea to have it very tall due to the images we see of Tokyo today and price of land which being very high causing people to build vertically.


Here is a design which I like and would like to take to my final designs based on living quarters. The idea of built up buildings as one like an abstract tower of apartments. I also like the idea of lots of wires hanging across these buildings.

IMAG0091 2IMAG0091IMAG0103

Based on our decision to do cut scenes of different parts of the city I created a few story board frames to explore the possibility of this.


Some train drawings below based on our idea to have vertical trains in our city.


Building Assets

I’m creating some assets which can be easily imported into our Tokyo City scenes, here are a few variations of wires with different thickness and groupings below.




I created a really simple design for a train which we decided would travel vertically in our city. I created a version with pods also which had the possibility of being detachable. For the final animation I applied a chrome texture as it looked quite futuristic and would reflect other buildings giving the city more depth a compact feel.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.59.36Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.00.15

I also added a version with pods

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.19.44

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.28.53

I created a very simple crane model using the aid of a reference image. I intended to use texture mapping to apply detail however I did not achieve this in the time limitations.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.34.50


We wanted to have a lot of adverts for our City so I decided to created to design some really simplistic adverts that could be possibly be used in the final animation.

The text above from top left to bottom right on each sign according to Google Translate reads, Toilet, Ryan, Dermott, James and Matthew.

Here they are added to some polygon planes in maya;Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 19.08.19


Inspiration and Extended Research

Here’s a long article about Japanese Culture http://www.everyculture.com/Ja-Ma/Japan.html

Some information Japanese monuments and tradition http://www.japanvisitor.com/about-japan/cultural-sites-1

Dermott and I were discussing more designs which directly link to Tokyo City which we could show in our floating city. I was researching statistics and realised that Tokyo was the city with the busiest trains in the world, here’s an example of rush hour …


a https://www.tsunagujapan.com/looking-at-tokyo-from-statistics/

Some Statistics from: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/transportation/railway-services/trains.html

I definitely think we should consider including trains in our city. Dermott had the idea of vertical trains;

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 12.22.56.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-02 at 12.23.05.png

These images were taken from http://www.evolo.us/competition/hyper-speed-vertical-train-hub/ they are some pretty cool concepts.

This website also included a link to some cool evolved skyscrapers which could come in useful when designing our city

This led me to this cool video on design;

Here’s a link to some pretty cool train concepts of the future; http://newatlas.com/future-transport/22959/

I like this idea of detachable carriages

These days we think of road and rail transport as completely different things, but this distinction is set to become a little muddy as technology marches towards 2050. One of the benefits of public transport in general is that it avoids the inherent chaos of personal transport where the decisions are made by individual drivers. “Follow-the-leader” systems are looking to solve this problem by using a lead vehicle that’s wirelessly linked to a series of other cars or “carriages” which follow its path autonomously. The system retains the flexibility of purely private transport (i.e. vehicles can leave the train so that you don’t all have to end up at the same destination), the only additional infrastructure required is the computers that link the vehicles and the benefits for road safety, decreasing congestion and reducing vehicle fuel consumption are obvious.


Tokyo advertising

Tokyo is renowned for it’s night time scenes with streets bombarded with bright advertisements, here are some pictures from Google images to show the extent of advertising there is in Tokyo and also inspiration for our Floating City.

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Population – 13.62Million

The highest populated metropolitan area in the world with a population of 37.8Million


Average Life span:

-Male 79.59

-Female 86.35


Homeless Population

According to http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/10/17/homelessness-in-tokyo-hits-record-low/ the homeless population in Tokyo is at an all time low.

According to the article written in 2014 ;

‘The number of homeless people in Tokyo dropped to a record low of 1,697 this August, down from 1,877 last year, according to the latest statistics released by the metropolitan government.’

These are fractions of the 6,731 homeless people when the survey began in 2002. These are the statistics of the city, not the greater Metropolitan area.

‘A similar survey by the health, labor and welfare ministry also showed that the number of homeless people has declined in recent years. In 2014, the ministry survey found a total of 7,508 homeless people across the country living in parks, riverbeds and public places, down from 12,253 in 2010.’

Herzog & De Meuron


When researching architecture in Tokyo I found some by this company, I thought the designs were very innovative and inspiration. I looked at their designs inside and outside of Tokyo.

Here they are showcased on Dezeen https://www.dezeen.com/tag/herzog-de-meuron/

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Tokyo Research

Tokyo’s Symbols

Symbol of the Metropolis

Tokyo Symbol and Logo
The symbol of the metropolis is made up of three arcs resembling a ginkgo leaf to represent the letter T for Tokyo. The metropolitan logo is normally rendered in a vivid green colour to symbolise Tokyo’s future growth, charm and tranquility. The symbol was officially adopted on June 1, 1989.
Tokyo Crest
The crest of Tokyo represents the sun radiating energy in six directions.

Ginkgo leaf

Tokyo Tree
Ginkgo biloba, a deciduous tree native to China reaching up to 30 meters in height, was designated the official metropolitan tree on November 8, 1996. Ginkgo trees are either male or female, and their distinctive fan-shaped leaves change from light green to bright yellow in autumn. The ginkgo tree is commonly found along Tokyo’s streets and avenues.

This information is provided by http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/ABOUT/APPENDIX/appendix07.htm


James brought to the groups attention the Tokyo crest with cool designs inspired by it. I decided to look into it also. In the text above I like the idea of  ‘the sun radiating energy in six directions,’ this could create lots of possible.

From this I have the thought the centre could be a harvested star however James suggested an energy source more along the lines of something from ‘cloudy with a chance of meatballs’ which got me to thinking that a harvested star is really boring and I like his idea much better.

James’ blog:  https://iamalsojames.wordpress.com

Tokyo Visuals

I decided to do some visual research for inspiration of how we should design our floating city. I looked up famous attractions in Tokyo and here are some of the images I found.

Cultural / Organic Tokyo

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City Scenes in Tokyo


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Tokyo Living

Here’s an interesting video on compact living in Tokyo city as a result of the price of land:


Tiny coffin apartments:


Here’s a picture of the article which shows


Along side these not so pleasant living conditions there are some really brilliantly designed houses which push the limits of design through creating a spacious environment in compact spaces.


Here’s an article about the Tiny apartments of Tokyo;


The Nakagin Capsule Tower 1972

This is a famous tower in Tokyo designed by Kisho Kurokawa. This Kickstarter provides really interesting information about the Capsule Tower.


Not all of the capsules are still in use, some are used as office space but some are still rented for living.

Here’s a page actually offering rental of the capsules https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1305889




I was browsing the ‘dezeen’ design website and found this article of Japan houses ; https://www.dezeen.com/tag/japanese-houses/ I really like the design on this house in central Tokyo.



Here’s an an Article on Japanese homes which ‘Redefine Micro Homes’


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