Floating City · Imaging and Data Visualisation

Floating City – Process 1

I was very nervous about delving into the 3D software programme Maya due to my inexperience, I wasn’t too sure what I was and wasn’t capable of making when putting our ideas for the floating city into motion. The first obstacle I wanted to tackle was creating the initial dome for our civilisation and figuring out how to make a glass texture, but I wanted to go a little further than just a glass dome. We spoke about possibly making cracks into the dome due to our planet’s dystopian nature, although I never quite figured out how to create such a feature and would like to try in future.

I decided the best way to learn how to build on Maya was to follow tutorials and build up my knowledge on the subject, as well as the lessons we had learned from our lectures with Alec Parkin and Conaan Fitzpatrick. One tutorial that helped me in particular was this, it helped me figure out how to make buildings out of planes for creating detail, more so than relying on just the cube polygon.

Following this tutorial step by step left a lot of information stuck in my head, it took lots of attempts and trial and error, but I do feel a little more comfortable when creating buildings. I was even able to take what I have learned and apply it to other buildings I have created for this project.


Image – My first attempt at a building

One of the biggest challenges I found in this project when modelling, was trying to figure out how to go about making a dome that resembled Victoria Square, a significant landmark within Belfast. It was a little more complicated in transferring what I had learned previously into making the dome, given the chance I might revisit this model and try to improve on it again.

Victoria Square.jpeg

Image – My Victoria Square model

I had more fun in trying to create buildings that resembled architecture in Belfast, it was essential in helping me practice how to model and although it doesn’t seem like much, I was proud of my progress from the start of this project. This was when the research I did of the buildings and structure I had curated came into practice. I tried gathering references of buildings such as the SSE arena and Ulster University Belfast that I thought would be an achievable model. Next I started to make the models, they aren’t exact replicas of the initial buildings, but more of a homage to the architecture to incorporate into our floating city.


Image – My model of Ulster University Belfast

SSE Arena.jpeg

Image – My model of the SSE Arena

When experimenting with the dome, Bradley Lyness had shown me a technique to create a gradient like effect on the glass. This was done by assigning the material AI standard, going to the checkered box next to the refraction settings, clicking ramp and then playing around with the gradient setting provided.

Blog Credit – https://bradsbadart.wordpress.com/

dome 1.jpg

Image – My initial dome design

I was happy with how the dome initially looked, but I decided to play around with the different settings to try and see what I could come up with. Then I accidentally stumbled upon the noise settings for the sky dome, when changing it’s scale it created a liquid type effect on the surface. I was even more excited when I found out you could key select not only the model itself, but the materials you add to the model, meaning there was a chance to animate this cool effect.

Video – New Dome design animation

The rest of the group also set about learning how to model famous landmarks in Belfast to add to our city design.



Image and Video – Molly’s Beacon of Hope model and Animation


Image – Charlotte’s Model – Waterfront hall

Image – Charlotte’s Model – Harland and Wolff

Image – Charlotte’s Model – City Hall

Image – Charlotte’s Model – Albert Clock


Image – Viola’s Model – Broken down building

Image – Viola’s Model – Building

Image – Viola’s Model – Building

Image – Viola’s Model – Broken down building

Image – Viola’s Model – Titanic Quarter

Group Credit

Molly – http://shepaintedher.weebly.com/

Charlotte – https://charlottebryansart.wordpress.com/

Viola -https://blog.schantalls.net/


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