Floating City – Visual Inspiration

This blog will show some inspiration I found whilst researching into floating cities, looking at how other productions have gone about creating these environments. A typical one to start off with is Cloud City from Star Wars. It is suspended high among the clouds of Bespin- “a floating metropolis of sophisticated beauty and political freedom” – starwars.com

The design was agreed to hover by being suspended by an anti-gravity pod.



bespinImage Courtesy – starwars.com

The above designs of Bespin were produced by Star Wars original concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie. The colours work well with the warm greys against the vibrant sunset. Although you can see a large city at the very top of the platform, there is still a lot going on underneath the main area. Every part of the design has a function which I thought was interesting. It states on it’s description that “Cloud City exists not only as a mining colony, extracting valuable Tibanna gas from the depths of the giant planet, but also as a sanctuary for those trying to escape the turmoil gripping the galaxy.” – starters.com

T3Image Courtesy – studioghibli

Laputa, Castle in the Sky is a memorable movie by studio Ghibli and directed by my all time favourite, Hayao Miyazaki. A floating castle is depicted in this full length animation, having multiple tiers and some archways which resemble the arches which Erinn in my group is working on for the Victorian section of our floating Belfast.

 t2Image Courtesy – studioghibli

Above is another piece of concept art produced by the Studio Ghibli team. It depicts the castle with huge propellers at the bottom, again this is another idea which my group is currently working on. Jack is modelling cogs and propellers quite similar to the ones above. It is good to see that they have been used before to consider keeping a castle in this case, floating in mid-air. Below are some extra concept pieces a long with 3d works from the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo which show the floating castle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Disney’s John Carter depicts a floating city named Helium, consisting of two parts, separated by 75 miles. I found an image or two which shows the modelling stages of the city. I thought it was interesting how they are kind of suspended between rock, rather than floating mid-air.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Image Courtesy – creative cow

Below is a one of image I came across online by an amazing middle eastern artist Ярмарка Мастеров. The vines which are coming from the bottom of this floating city are connecting to another further off city, this is an idea we were playing with in relation to our model.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.51.35Image Courtesy – live master

Fallout 3

Fallout three’s ‘Rivot City’ is quite different and is a city which caught my attention. Instead of the city afloat of floating mid-air, this city is located inside a decaying aircraft carrier. It is depicted in the game as being “the largest, most developed and scientifically-advanced settlement in the Capital Wasteland” – fandomwiki


Group Members Blog Links

Erin Morrow – https://erinnmorrow.wordpress.com/

Jack Ellison – https://jackjellison.wordpress.com/

Michael Lilley – https://michaellilleyart.wordpress.com/


Ярмарка Мастеров. (2017). Магазин мастера Майя Шорохова (Air-brush): футболки, майки, люди, кофты и свитера, для мужчин, фантазийные сюжеты. [online] Available at: https://www.livemaster.ru/air-brush [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Colossal. (2017). A Giant Illuminated ‘Castle in the Sky’ Ship Built for the Studio Ghibli Exhibition in Tokyo. [online] Available at: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/07/studio-ghibli-castle-in-the-sky-ship/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Floating City Conceptual Research

There are many great ideas circulating the internet when it comes to floating cities. Below I have included some interesting pieces of concept art I have come across which I feel relate to our chosen city of Belfast. Since our group is focusing on the growth of the city from around the 1960’s up until the present day, with possibilities of including forecasted growth statistics, I thought it would be a good idea to focus on the grittier/industrial feel.


I felt the above image had a good representation of what the ‘underworld’ of Belfast could possible look like. Since it’s foundations grew enormously due to having the largest shipyard in the early 20th century-the ropes which are connecting this floating city to the ground seem notable. INCLUDE HERE REFERENCE TO SOMEHTING YOU READ OR WATCHED BRING IT IN AND DISCUSS.


The image above is another good example of industrial growth, with the heights that it is reaching.

Below is a slideshow of a few other images I have gathered which fall into how I would visual a 3D representation of what a floating city of Belfast could be likened to.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I really loved this image below. As soon as I seen it a great idea for a camera angles in Maya came into my mind. Although it may be difficult to do with the limited knowledge we may have as a team this far into our journey-it still might be worth a go (depending on our design). Even so, it’s always something to try in the future.



Bibliography /Sources

All images shown have been found on pinterest.com

Pinterest. (2017). [online] Pinterest. Available at: https://uk.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=floating%20cities&rs=typed&term_meta%5B%5D=floating%7Ctyped&term_meta%5B%5D=cities%7Ctyped [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017].

Belfast since the 1800’s

Belfast’s Role in the Industrial Revolution

In the 1800’s

As we were given a new project to create a floating city based on Belfast, research into its history is a must. After reading on Belfast’s past I was reminded of how the industrial revolution had made a major impact on the town, thus awarding it city status by Queen Victoria in 1888.

tabaoImage Courtesy – BelfastLive

“The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.” – wikipedia

I found it interesting to discover from my teammate Erin that a river runs beneath the city streets. I looked more into this and discovered that the Farset River primarily runs beneath High Street. It was the river that ships had once docked and today in its place, the Albert Clock stands.

q4Image Courtesy – KatieBrownDesigns

Linen production, tobacco processing, rope making, engineering and also ship building (one of the largest in the world at the time) – all helped with Belfast’s industrial and economic growth. As Belfast was once the world’s largest linen-producing areas it was nicknamed linenopolis. The heavy industrial company Harland and Wolff specialised in shipbuilding and offshore construction. They brought a lot of economic growth to the city and are famous for having built ships such as RMS Titanic, RMS Olympic, RMS Britannic, the Royal Navy’s HMS Belfast and P&O’s Canberra etc… Their ship building cranes are still situated at Queen’s Island, Belfast. These famous cranes are called Samson and Goliath and are still the biggest free-standing cranes anywhere in the world. Thus being classified as official historical monuments.

hw.jpgImage Courtesy – keywordsuggest

When looking at the industrial success Belfast had gained due to the revolution, how have things changed/developed since then? It is obvious that due to the civil unrest of the troubles in the 1960’s; Belfast’s success declined dramatically. More than 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since the 70’s. (Old postcard of the shipping docks, below)

q6Image Courtesy – titanicitems.com

Since the port was a major part of Belfast’s growth, I will look into other areas which can come into play in relation to the port, whether it be now or in the future. I came across a great PDF document which was written in 2016 and details plans for the growth of the harbour; it is named the ‘Port Master Plan: 20-30 Year Period’. Link for download included here. There are some interesting factors in the document and have opened up more possibilities as to where other statistical research can be done next.

Below is a screenshot of Belfast’s Harbour Annual report which shows the collected statistics of its trade in 2015.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 11.35.31

When thinking of our initial ideas for how to represent certain statistics, we have been thinking of building various tiers of time periods of Belfast. This industrial growth is important to show, whether it be in the 1800’s, 1970’s or 2000’s.

In the 1960’s

The troubles in Belfast had serious impacts on production and growth within the city. The infrastructure was affected as well as the population rate. I have done some research into statistics for this time period as it can’t be over-looked when looking into Belfast’s past.

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 12.06.00

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 12.06.09

As Belfast was in turmoil during this period we have decided to depict this part of the city being much smaller, less vibrant in colour with buildings that are falling apart. Michael will mainly be working on this part of the city. Whilst keeping a minimalistic look we still hope to portray the decaying nature of these times through the modelling/lighting.



Whilst researching into Belfasts past we found a few other interesting facts which were quite interesting. On Great Victoria Street, the cities smallest house can be found, measuring 3 meters wide, it is no longer occupied as it has been demolished to make way for new parking facilities. Belfast also contains 3,000 acres of parks, many of them forested. We are hoping to include a mini forested area in our model to represent this bio-diversity within the city.

Modern Belfast

Belfast has quite a lot of modern architecture so I choose some of the main attractions to model in low poly. Amongst these is the Victoria Square dome, the Boat Building, The Mac, the Titanic Quarter Museum and the City Hospital. Below are some photographs of the buildings I choose to model from the city.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When thinking of working on the modern part of Belfast we have decided to make it a little more colourful than the lower sections as to show growth and development within the city. Many of these modern buildings are good examples of fantastic artistic achievement and have brought more tourism and culture to Belfast. Height and connections should also be another factor when thinking of design.


Wesleyjohnston.com. (2017). Statistics of Deaths in the Troubles in Ireland. [online] Available at: http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/troubles/troubles_stats.html [Accessed 12 Mar. 2017]

Belfast-harbour.co.uk. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: https://www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/documents/download/997 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2017].

Culture Northern Ireland. (2017). Industry and Commerce in Belfast. [online] Available at: http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/features/heritage/industry-and-commerce-belfast [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Economy of Belfast. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Belfast [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Nisra.gov.uk. (2017). NISRA – Commerce Energy and Industry Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/default.asp2.htm [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Fallout 4 Environment/Character Art

This post is mainly just me posting screen shots from this beautiful art book for others to see… enjoy!  (Link to where it can be purchased here)

I invested in a couple of art books when the Black Friday sales where happening. The Art of  Fallout 4 is just amazing! The colours and compositions really are out of this world. I have taken some screenshots of some interesting environment and character pages so others can have a look and to remind me of where I want to be at some point in the future with my personal skills.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

VFX Artists

Visual effect artists create special effects, animation and fix up details for feature films/commercials etc. Compositing is another important job of the VFX artist at times, this is quite similar to digital matte painters who create realistic images for green screen backdrops.

Marc Simonetti produces top-quality artwork which has great visual appeal, colour harmony, light and composition. (See Simonetti’s work here)

Raphael Lacoste is another VFX artist who has worked on many major projects, the most interesting to me is that he was the art director for the first Assassins Creed game and as you can see below has produced very high quality artwork.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Below can be seen his concept art workflow.


(See Lacoste’s work here)

3D Environment Artists

In our first class in ‘Imaging and Data Visualisation’ we were given a brief overview of what work is expected this coming semester. Alec Parkin has assigned us some research homework in relation to 3d artists. Below I have included those artists whose work inspires me, in the field of 3D art.

 3D Environment/prop artist

Stefan Morrell creates beautiful futuristic sci-fi cityscapes. Morrell works as a professional  3D movie concept artist and matte painter. His work is fun of detail and atmosphere. Hard to know what else to say really other than its unbelievable. (See Morrell’s work here)


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Award winning 3D Artist, Peter Nowacki works in the industry focusing on texturing, shading, lighting and rendering. Nowacki’s work is very inspirational to me, the detail he expresses in his work is phenomenal. I aim to get this level of detail in my work someday. (See Nowacki’s work here)


Nowacki’s inspiration was taken from the concept art of Gary Tonge (shown above), whilst Nowacki’s model and final rendered piece is shown below.