Review: City Kit
City Kit is a new city building software- 3D World takes a look at the newest kid on the block
Price: £93 / $149 / €110 | Developer: GSG | Platform: Windows / Mac
With City Kit installed in Cinema 4D, huge cityscapes are just a few clicks away
- Automatic building modelling and texturing
- Simple day and night lighting rigs
The ability to click a button and fill your 3D scene with a realistic cityscape is one that has been sought after for a long time.
In recent years, several products have been developed with this in mind, including plug-ins that add this kind of functionality to existing host software.
Cinema 4D had one such plug-in in the form of Citygen, but unfortunately the developer ceased to write updates.
This is where GSG’s City Kit comes in. Written by motion artist Nick Campbell and XPresso expert Chris Schmidt, it’s a streamlined, efficient and intuitive plug-in built predominantly using Cinema 4D’s XPresso system, with all the controls accessible through the Attribute Manager.
Power users can access inner workings directly in XPresso’s node-based editor.
City Kit includes three presets you can load from the Content Browser. All look good, even if their style is a little clichéd, and are easy to adjust for adding your own creative input.
The kit comes as a .lib4d fi le, enabling easy access to presets via Cinema 4D’s Content Browser window
There are two features of the kit that stand out. First off is the ability to choose day or night-time. If you wanted to create city set extensions that would be composited for different times of the day, this feature alone makes the purchase worthwhile.
City Kit comes with a pair of lighting rigs for night and day, and the developers have even thought to provide
rigs for linear or non-linear workflow.
The second noteworthy feature is control over Downtown, the developers’ term for the area with the heaviest density of skyscrapers.
There are a few methods for doing this, with the ability to randomly or controllably create more developed areas of the city, with nice falloff into the high-rise areas.
You can also easily choose to leave a section of the city bare, for adding in your own hero objects.
Rendering is a breeze and texturing is all handled for you, leaving you to set the scene and click Render. The whole city is built with efficiency in mind and renders quickly, even with high GI settings.
The main downside to City Kit is that it may well lead to a surge of rather similar-looking cities.
Simple sliders control all the aspects of your city, with a switch to show a preview for dense meshes
The selection of buildings could be larger and, as yet, there’s no option to generate your city on a mesh, meaning all cities are flat.
But this is the first release, and the creator has said that future releases will see this feature added.
Matte painters may find it useful for distant shots, although the textures and models start to fall down at mid-range.
• Intuitive interface
• Good-looking results
• Low price point
• Can’t populate cities across a mesh
• Small variety of buildings and textures
This will be a surefi re hit for Cinema 4D users looking for a quick and easy way to create good-looking cities or add backdrops to MoGraph projects
on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 at 3:31 pm under Plug-ins, Reviews.
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Tags: Cinema 4D, City Kit, MoGraph, plug-in, review