Fish eye lens experiment
I wanted to try something like what you see in those photographs taken from the top of a skyscraper, pointing straight down. Not the greatest thing ever, but a neat thing to experiment with.
Starting with the bison grass I added some squares (scattered and size jitterred) then a chisel soft inner bevel and some color to make some rough thatched roofs. Copy this layer and put it under the roofs.
For the walls, at first I tried the spin blur (set to zoom 25%) but that blurs in two directions like a motion blur. So what I did was to copy that layer and reduce the scale by 1%, copy then reduce 2%, then 3%, then 4% and 5%. Merge those layers together and then give it a color. Blur 2 pixels (to remove jaggies) then noise - median to sharpen up the shape.
Next a layer of 100% noise then did the spin blur (set to zoom 100%) and set to overlay 50% opacity to create the wood planks.
Then added shadows; copy the walls layer move up and left 1 pixel, repeat 19 times, merge the layers and set it to 50 opacity. Then some erasing on walls facing the sun (lower right).
Lastly, I added some edge lines for defining the edges of walls and some roads.
The only thing that I can't figure out is how to get the roofs to have the same tilt/distortion as the walls (so this would be good for flat topped walls and buildings) but otherwise I think this turned out pretty good for a quickie experiment on something that might not ever be used but could probably be developed into something. Oh well, time to make some dinner.
That's looking really good. One small fix - the length of the shadow for each building should be the same from the base of that building to the farthest point of the shadow (assuming all the building are the same height). Currently the shadows are the same distance from the top of the building. Basically what I'm saying is that you'll see less shadow for the buildings to the top left as the buildings themselves are blocking your line of sight to the shadows. Not sure how to incorporate that into your method, but it should give you something to think about over dinner :)
Good point, hadn't thought about that but I know exactly what you mean. I put almost no effort into this, total of about 15 minutes, so I'm sure it looks off and wonky and rather crap. I was just interested in finding the basic method for a modern city that I'm planning. I was so happy at finding an answer that I just blew through the shadowing. I think I've got a fix though (distort - spherize for use on the upper left and reverse it for the lower right). Now to figure out how to get the shadows onto the sides of skyscrapers with some sort of displacement map.
Not to rain on the parade, but wouldn't it just be easier to render out a heightfield in one of the free 3d programs ?? :P
If I was any good at using those...you bet. If I could do it as fast as I did this then certainly.