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SCURK Artistic Procedures

If you're having some problems creating graphics from photos or from your head, here's some info that just might help you out. It's not very much, but it's a good place to start.

I used the general guidelines below when creating all the graphics you see in the Renew 95, Renew USA, and the Statue of Liberty tilesets.

A general plan for creating a new building consists of the following steps:

Sketch 3D model Detail Final touches
The sketch step only comes into play if you're designing something from your head. It's not really all that important, but it will at least keep you on the right track when you create your 3D model.

For the 3D model, I suggest using different shades of gray to represent different building faces. This way you can get an idea of depth, as opposed to an outline approach. However, drawing an outline first will give you a good idea of what the 3D model should look like. If drawing a building based on a photo, you should certainly try to get an outline of the building first and then work with that.

The detailing part usually consumes the most time. Usually, it's best to put in rough sketches of the building's main features (such as doors, large windows, trim, etc.) and then see how they look relative to each other. Next, you should put in the wall textures, and finally, the smaller windows.

Final touches consist of such things as shadowing and ground texture (grass, sidewalks, etc.). Remember that the default light source for all images comes from an upper-left hand corner perspective.

I wish there were more I could say, but really, artistic skills are gained only through practise. My biggest suggestion for creating new graphics is to study SimCity 2000's existing artwork as much as possible.

Some Tips

Don't take these too seriously; they're general guidelines based on my style.

  • Don't detail anything until you've created the complete 3D model.

  • Detail from the bottom of the building up, but save the ground for last.

  • If the building you're working on is symmetrical, detail one side of it first. Then copy it, flip it over, and past it to the other side. Remember to shade any sides not facing the light source.

  • Periodically sit back and look at your work. What looks good in a zoomed level might not look too great in the normal view.

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