Creating your first city

Find the general city options panel

A new panel has been added in the Scene properties if you installed and enabled SceneCity correctly.

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In this panel you have the general city options and can import the included library of roads and buildings. From here you generate the road network, then mass-place the buildings.

At the bottom of this panel are listed the roads and buildings models you have in your .blend file. You need at least one model of each to generate a city. Later you’ll learn how to make your own and mark them so that SceneCity detects and uses them in your cities, but for now, we’ll simply use the included library of models.

Open the Blender console

Before you generate anything you should open Blender’s console to see SceneCity’s output, where it reports its progress. Blender will not respond to any user input while SceneCity is working. For large cities that can take a while, up to several minutes. So it’s important to see the console to check if Blender is still working in the background and not just frozen.

Open it now by going to the Window menu -> Toggle System Console, because you won’t be able to open the console when the generation is in progress.

Generate the road network

_images/create_default_roads.gif

Have layer 1 the only active layer. Importing the library and generating the network put objects in the active layer(s), so you should keep track of that to make the next steps easier.

From the roads options, import the library. You should see the road models appear in the 3d scene and detected in the listing under the options. The models are on the layers active at the time you import them, so in this case on layer 1.

Warning: do not move the road models because they’re groups of objetcs, their position in the scene matters. If you do, then you should change the group’s origin offset accordingly.

Click on the Place roads button. You can leave the options on their default values. The generation starts, you can look in Blender’s console for progress reports.

After a while, you will have your road network ready on layers 1 and 3 as well as on all the active layers at the time it was created.

Each road portion making the network is an object, instance of a group from the library you imported before. There are other ways to place the roads, you’ll see how in the rest of the documentation.

Mass-place the buildings

Tip

This step is almost identical to the previous one.

_images/create_default_buildings.gif

As for the roads, importing the library of buildings and mass-placing them put objects in the active layer(s), so you should keep track of that to make the next steps easier.

From the buildings options, import the library. You should see the buildings models appear in the 3d scene and detected in the listing under the options. The models are on the layers active at the time you import them, so in this case on layer 1.

Warning: do not move the building models because they’re groups of objetcs, their position in the scene matters. If you do, then you should change the group’s origin offset accordingly.

Click on the Place buildings along roads button. You can leave the options on their default values. The generation starts, you can look in Blender’s console for progress reports.

After a while, you will have your buildings placed on layers 1 and 4 as well as on all the active layers at the time you mass-placed them.

Each building in your city is an object, instance of a group from the library you imported before. There are other ways to place the buildings, you’ll see how in the rest of the documentation.

Test render

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Switch to Cycles first. SceneCity’s included materials are for the Cycles render engine only. Set your 3d viewport to Rendered display mode for a realtime preview.

You should use SceneSkies (included with SceneCity) for easy realistic outdoor lighting.

You can now place the camera anywhere you want and start rendering.

Optional: hand-edit your city

Making a city doesn’t stop here. You are free to use Blender’s powerful editing capabilities to work on your newly generated city: add pedestrians, cars, animate them, place your own buildings and focus points...

To change something in all the instances of a road or building model, edit the model (they all are on layer 1 if you followed the steps above), and all the instances placed in the city will reflect your changes immediately.

To change one particular instance of a road or building in your city is a bit more involved. By default in Blender you cannot just select an instance and edit it. To do that, first select the road or building instance, then go to the Object menu -> Apply -> Make Duplicates Real. This will turn the group instance into individual objects, but their datablocks (meshes) will still be the same as all the other instances. So select the object you want to edit, and make its datablock (mesh) unique. Now you can edit that particular road or building freely.