Modelling Brighton City

Buildings are a special class of objects for 3D modelling content for Virtual Reality experiences – they normally have regular features, stylistic rhythm and elements of symmetry, combined with individualised detail, such as window, ornament, material variability, condition and structural variation. Much of the detailed variation between buildings of the “same” style is only noticed when the viewer is studying a building closely but passes unnoticed when the building is a backdrop for the experience of urban life. Depending upon the requirements of the model, more or less accuracy is needed in 3D urban modelling.
Purposes for a 3D environment of a city vary, for instance providing a backdrop, orientating some other activity (maybe as a backdrop to a restaurant locator) or visualising buildings in order to understand the implications of a planning development. Understanding the purpose is central to selecting the type of modelling required.
In this video we include examples of different modelling approaches:
- Documenting 3D from digital images. This approach seeks to document what is there when the model is built.
- Procedural modelling in which we use a language (or "shape grammar") to describe the way in which buildings of a particular style are composed of their various elements and to fit buildings of that style into the building 'footprints' of a city. Procedural modelling can be used to give an impression of a street scene so we can show streets of how buildings might have looked but are now long gone, and, where there may no longer be hard evidence of what was there, we can show buildings in keeping with a particular year and style.

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