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Digital Urban: Top Five Favourites

Summer seems to be a good time of year to dig out those movies that we have liked over our time on digital urban so far. First off we are going to look at our own movies (its slightly indulgent) that in the 1500 odd posts often get lost, we will run through why they were made, the software involved and their place in the bigger picture.

Full post with movies after the break below:

No. 5: Growing the Tube Network

The clip was produced in 3D Max, purely as a way to explore the rapid creation of transport networks for visualisation. It was easy to make - simply import a PDF of a transport network into a package such as illustrator and save as .dwg. This allows you to import into 3D Max and then the lines can be converted to 'tubes' - the network can be built up in under an hours work. Making the stations and naming the lines took a little more time but the result is interesting. The render has been used on the cover of a couple of books, been hung on the walls in the London Transport Museum and is the subject of future development with real network flows.

No. 4: Reactor and Particles in the City

Number 4 is a slight cheat as it contains two movies, firstly Reactor:

Secondly, Particles:

The movies were produced as part of exploring how 3D Max can be used for agent based modelling, we wrote a Complete tutorial on Reactor and Bouncing Balls in the City. The work is currently being imported into the Unity engine as part of our work on NeISS. Talking of which:

No. 3: Unity

Unity is our current engine of choice, simply for its ease of use for importing models and producing quality output that can run either online, via iPhones or on an iPad. As part of our work on Agent Based Models we are working on an exhibition space, below is the room layout:

Second up is an early prototype:

We are heading back to Unity in the next few months with an aim to create a complete exhibition space.

No. 2: Geography and Cities in Second Life

We used to have some land in Second Life as part of the Nature Publishing Groups presence. It allowed us to develop various urban, geographic and agent based models within the virtual environment.

The long term aim is to develop the techniques and move them into OpenSim, sadly all the above work is now lost in the ether....

No. 1: Step Inside Worlds

Number one is a look back at work before the days of Google Street View when the creation of panoramas was a work of art. Created from 36 photographs we took our panoramic images and put them into 3D space, allowing the camera to pan around the nodal point, our first example shows its age a bit but its still one of our favourites:

We developed the concept further with 'step inside worlds', allowing a series of panoramas to be embedded within a 'holding' scene and presents a looping movie suitable for large displays. The movie is just a concept but perhaps one that would work in a marketing suite or on display:

The clip was developed in 3D Max, but any 3D package would do, its simply a case of moving the camera around inside of spheres.

There are of course others, we have over 150 movies produced covering all aspects of our work. We hope a few of them have provided some inspiration over the years or via our tutorials we have managed to show some useful tips and techniques.

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