When approaching a cityscape shot the main obstacle I saw was how to manage and distribute objects throughout the scene. The solution couldn’t involve manually placing them due to sheer numbers, and I also wanted to create a workflow for larger scenes in the process.
The initial idea came from working with houdini and MASH in maya, and evolved from there. I quickly realized that the MASH system didn’t have the features I needed, primarily referencing, randomizing and diving into the machine’s folder structure. In the end it was obvious that a scene like this isn’t even possible without a scripting solution, so it’s very fortunate that I took this approach from the beginning. I do have plans to release the scripts in the near future, however there are still a few bugs to work out before I would feel comfortable making it public. For now, here’s a short video that gives a peek into the process.
You’ll notice that I use polygon cubes in this example, however the script works by either selecting faces or vertices, depending on your preference. I ended up using Maya’s MASH system to distribute cubes on the meshes, then using that geometry as a starting point to distribute the buildings. This is basically a hack copy of houdini’s copy-to-points workflow, so nothing new here, nevertheless it was a very helpful application of that same idea.