A drawing made by M. C. Escher at the Alhambra in Spain
For this piece, I was inspired by one of the drawings Maurits Cornelius Escher did at the Alhambra in Spain (above). I tried to remake this pattern in three dimensions, I didn’t fully succeed, but I made my own version (below). Once I got the pattern down I defined the lines as roads and I started to construct the buildings in the empty spaces.
It is surprising how this method influenced the final result. The whole city becomes much more harmonious. Everything seems to fit together. When I was looking for interesting camera positions, I was under the impression that much more was possible than with other complex scenes. An interesting composition seems to be possible wherever I place my camera. This could be interesting when I want to make an animation of some sort.
One word of caution: in the world of three dimensions, it is always important to design everything from the angle and height you want to finally position your camera(s). In this case, I designed everything from a fair distance above the ground. As a result, the camera at eye-level won’t deliver a very interesting picture. This is because the proportions won’t look as good any more.
After doing the coloured version of project Nueba I decided to make a white version by blending different render passes. Click on the image above for a much more detailed view.
Like the previous illustration, this one is also inspired by the work of Hugh Ferriss. The term chiaroscuro is used to describe the use of strong contrast between light and dark on important parts of the composition. It is a technique that finds its origin in the Renaissance. Ferriss uses this effect with great success on his buildings.
Chiaroscuro works so well because of several reasons. First it makes the image simpler for the eye to dissect because the author has already made some decisions about what is important and what is not. The important parts are highlighted and the things in the periphery are darkened and often merely visible.
Secondly our old human brain experiences a strongly reduced visibility as threatening, in a similar way you would be scared when you would be walking in a dark forest with only the help of a flash light. A dangerous predator could be looming in every corner. Times have changed and our society has become much safer, but our brain is roughly still the same brain as it was 100.000 years ago.
Drawings by Hugh Ferriss – “The Metropolis of Tomorrow”
Drawing by Hugh Ferris – The use of chiaruscuro on buildings.
I created a plane with holes in it to simulate a pack of clouds that are letting only a part of the sunlight to come through. It took me some experimenting to get the sunbeams I wanted. For this purpose I set the viewport in 3ds Max in “realistic” mode. Below you can also see the top view of one building.