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Thread: Side project. Waterfall city, unsure how to proceed.

  1. #1

    Default Side project. Waterfall city, unsure how to proceed.

    Heya all. So this is an old drawing that I did showing a top down view of a waterfall. I decided to place a city there and this is what I have so far. However I don't really like the city, mostly due to style and it's flatness.

    What I mean by flatness is the city layout has no depth that follows the terrain. I am unsure how to proceed in a way that will show the depth of the streets (differences in hight of the streets and buildings). What I want is some way to show which streets and buildings are lowest and those highest. I some areas I really want it to look like buildings are almost on top of one another.

    What are your thoughts?

    Last edited by ascanius; 05-22-2014 at 10:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Guild Adept Francissimo's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Saint Jean d'Angely France


    Hello there, what you're looking to realise seems quite challenging Maybe you can try to represent difference of altitude in buildings by painting shadows, lower is the building and stronger the shadow will be. You can also try to duplicate your base topography layer, blur it a bit and put it on top of your building layer with a low opacity.

  3. #3


    I don't know how helpful this will be, but perhaps check out what I have done in my Birdseye thread. I have tried to do exactly as you are doing, and I know it is very hard. An easy way to do it is to have long streets that follow the curve of the terrain, and then small alleys that link them (often with steps; typical of Italian hill towns like Montepulciano, Perugia, and Siena).

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  4. #4
    Guild Artisan Domino44's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    First of all I would like to say this already looks wonderful! I think adding shade and steps are both great idea's. My mother just got back from the Italy and I know that a lot of the cities there are on cliffs like what you are trying to do, she said there are a lot of steps...everywhere. Here are some pictures that I found that I think could help you and if not at least they look pretty

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    Last edited by Domino44; 05-22-2014 at 12:57 PM. Reason: did't get all the pictures

  5. #5


    Thanks for all the advice everyone. I've gone through and tried various bits. Love the Pics of Italy, kinda funny that people are recommending such photos and ideas seeing as I am currently in Italy, Regione Veneto. Salve.

    So I tried painting in the shadows and did a small mock up of the castle. When zoomed out in relation to everything else I think this turned out ok, not great but ok. The big problem as I see it is there is no color harmony leaving it flat. It did manage to portray depth. All in all I think this is going to be the road I'm going to take but I think instead of trying to make this an exact clean edge map I'm going to shift towards more of a painting. Well see how this works out. The green is transparent, forgot to add a color to the background transparency layer.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    In keeping with the painting shadows I've started redoing the entire landmass and this is what I have so far.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    @TheHorseWhisperer. I tried the SketchUp and it's a really neat program. And I also really like what you have with the Birds Eye city. I do have one question are you going to flatten the 3D project later to create a flat 2D map or are you going to choose a viewpoint and keep the 3D aspect. I really like the 3D idea you are working from but what is your idea for the final image?

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