“Floating City” Visual Research

Alec has set the class a task of creating a “floating city”with a real life city in mind.

Working with Yazz Herron and Darcy Burrows, we are contemplating creating our floating city based on Venice, Italy. It’s an extremely visually dynamic place with lots of character so it would definitely be a challenge!

This blog post is simply going to be an exploration of visual ideas and inspiration.

Visual Inspiration



I quite like the idea of having washing lines hanging from building to building like in the image above! It adds a sense of character and charm plus it’s an easy way of making the buildings look inhabited.


Something about the lighting in this image really inspired me – it made me reminiscent of the almost blindingly white sunlight you come across in hot countries. I feel like our lighting will make or break our Maya scene as it has to reflect our city’s temperature and weather appropriately.


I thought this scene was helpful for simplifying the buildings and general shapes we are going to be looking at in our Maya piece. Handy for modelling purposes!


Although I don’t like the lighting of this piece, I really liked the little touches added which gave it that romantic quality associated with Venice: the red and white striped poles in the water, the old roof tiles, the lamp posts, the wooden shutters, the flower pots, the fresh fruit shop etc.

These are all little things which we could add to our scene to make it really come alive.


I added this video into our research to get a little snapshot of the everyday life of gondola drivers in Venice. I like how it breaks down the lighting and shading of the city. This piece will be of great value to us if we decided to create our own gondolas.

Tobias Koepp

Tobias Koepp’s take on Venice is a lot different visually to the art work I have looked at above. There is a slightly darker, moodier feel to these images. In addition, it’s a less realistic depiction of the city which is interesting to compare and contrast with previous images.


I thought these close ups of the bridges and other architecture would be really helpful if we come to designing our own version of the city.



Some other visual inspiration from Pinterest:

All these images can be found on my Pinterest board: https://uk.pinterest.com/boundtodream17/floating-city-visual-inspiration/



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Another option we discussed as a group would be to design a floating city based on the slums in somewhere like Brazil or India.

I found these art works down below really inspirational for this possible idea.


















I was inspired to do a few roof tests in Maya after looking at the images above:

I rotated around some of the separate roof tiles and added a different texture here and there to re-create a more realistic depiction of the slums tin rooves.


Lighting tests

I decided to light and render the rooves under different lighting to see what kind of mood could be created:

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Some basic house tests:

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And trying to create a palm tree of some kind on Maya:

Originally I tried using the cloth tool for the leaves but I felt they were too flat looking:


This time round, I used a more structured Polygon to create the leaves and shaped them individually to make them more interesting visually. I ended up with a low poly look but I kind of like it:

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