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Author Topic: True Earth  (Read 186862 times)

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Offline korver

Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-31
« Reply #140 on: December 31, 2016, 11:40:07 PM »

- UPDATE 11: South America & Bonus Pictures -

After visiting the world's tallest waterfall and largest rain forest, our small Cessna finally lands at our next destination. We've got a big trip planned, so enjoy :)

Our first stop in our journey is the capital and largest city of Suriname, Paramaribo. It's truly a one of a kind city, with its mixture of beautiful colonial Dutch architecture on the edge of the rain forest. The Dutch architecture serves as a reminder to the past - the country was under Dutch rule for nearly 150 years as Dutch Guiana until it gained its independence back in 1975. Our time in Paramaribo is brief - and unfortunately, the rain never seems to stop during our stay, as is common in much of the country.

We board our plane once again and head back out. Cloaked in heavy rain clouds, Mount Roraima on the Brazil/Venezuela/Guyana border is truly breathtaking with its imposing sheer cliffs. Countless waterfalls plunge off of its tiered slopes - yet another sign that we're in the middle of rainy season.

We land our plane just inside the Amazonas state of Eastern Venezuela for a quick excursion. We're up for a challenge, and the imposing Autana Tepui provides just that. After a couple of days of nerve wracking climbing, we finally reach the top and put up our tents for the night, taking in the view.

We get back on our plane and land a couple hundred miles north in Valencia. We'll be traveling by car for now on, and the first stop is the small town of Puerto Colombia on the southern coast of the Caribbean Sea. It's a charming little village, with its small river filled with brightly colored riverboats. No trip here would be complete without taking one for a cruise through the village, and we do just that.

After driving along the Caribbean coast for a couple hundred more miles, we finally make our way to the Pan-American highway. Taking that south, we travel high through the Andes mountains of Colombia for quite some time until we finally reach Colombia's Cocora Valley. This place seems almost unreal, with it's famed wax palm trees climbing to heights of up to 200 feet tall. The surrounding landscape is equally impressive, with quaint farming villages surrounded by rolling hillsides and steep, rocky slopes. The locals are quite hospitable, letting us stay the night.

Not too far from the Cocora Valley is another one of Colombia's famous attractions, the Las Lajas Sanctuary. Built between 1916 and 1949, this church is one of the most impressive sights in all of South America, standing high above the steep Guáitara River canyon. Between the location, waterfalls, and reports to this day of "mysterious healing" - it's truly a magical place.

After driving for seemingly an eternity through nothing but the barren deserts of Central and Southern Peru, we eventually reach a sight worth looking for. There's one landmark here that you'll want to keep your eye out for - they're easy to miss. Eventually we find one of the legendary Nazca lines - the condor. Created between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500, the Nazca culture created these lines by removing the rocks from the desert floor, revealing the lighter colored ground beneath. The best way to view these lines is by air however, so we catch a quick ride and do just that.

After checking out the famed Nazca lines, we start to head our way inland towards Cuzco and finally make our way towards the legendary Machu Picchu. There's no more roads from this point forward - the only way to the top is by foot. After stopping at a local village, we get out our backpacking gear and get ready for the adventure ahead of us. It's quite the climb up the mountain, but after numerous days and nights traversing through dense rain forest, finally seeing these majestic ruins makes it all worth it.

We get back on the highway and start heading south once more. The landscape initially is barren - but eventually it turns into something much more beautiful. The steep slopes of the Andes mountains have been terraced by local farmers for thousands of years, and there's no better example of their work than the Colca Canyon. Through advanced irrigation strategies they transformed these steep mountainsides into workable farmland, and to this day the locals make their living off them.

Our trip through the Andes slowly gets higher and higher in elevation as we start heading eastwards. Eventually it becomes hard to just catch out breath, but we soon adapt to the massive height difference. Perched in the middle of these mountains is the world's highest lake, Lake Titicaca, a sight that we wouldn't want to miss. One of the most remarkable sights here is the floating islands of the local Uros people. By taking the tough reeds that surround the lake (totora) - they've managed to build floating islands that entire families can live on. They allow us to have a glimpse into their daily lives, allowing us onto one of their island and to observe some of their ancient traditions.

We're finally out of the mountains, but the adventure as just begun for us. This swampy, densely forested area of Brazil is known as The Pantanal - and there's only one way through it, the transpantaneira. The road acts as the only safe route through the wetlands, and we run into numerous herds of cattle on the road along the way. It doesn't take long for us to get into our first standoff - as a couple of crocodile-resembling caimans need to make their way across the road.

We finally reach the capital of Brazil, Brasília. Seeking a more centrally located capital, in 1960 the capital was changed from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília and an entire city was planned and built from the ground up. Architect Oscar Niemeyer designed many of the important buildings here, giving them a distinctive flair. There's no better example than the Palácio do Planalto - the official workplace of the President of Brazil truly comes alive at night.

From Brasília, we start traveling eastwards towards the Brazilian coastline. Every Brazilian beach side city is magnificent, but Rio stands out from the rest. Standing atop of Corcovado Mountain is the famous Cristo Redentor statue - a must visit for any tourist, especially at sunrise. Completed in 1931, its arms were placed in an open stance, symbolizing peace.

A couple hundred miles west is another Brazilian beach side city that you don't want to miss, Santos - one of the most beautiful cities that we encounter during our journey. It's gardens (the world's longest) and beaches are truly magnificent, stretching for as far as the eye can see. After all the traveling we've done thus far - some time spent relaxing on the beach is more than overdue.

When traveling through Brazil, you're bound to run into a number of favelas (slums) on the outskirts of many of the larger cities. We saw a number of them in Rio de Janeiro - and as we travel through São Paulo, we see quite a few more. The people here make the most of their situation, gathering whatever they can find in order to create a house for their families.

We begin the final leg of our journey with the mighty Itaipu Dam, located on the Paraná River on the Paraguay/Brazil border. You truly can't underestimate the size of this massive structure - it's the largest hydroelectric scheme in the world. This dam alone provides nearly 80% of Paraguay's electricity, as well as much of the power to many important cities in Brazil - but it did come at a steep $20 billion cost. It's the rainy season - so we get to see an up close view of the spillway in action, which drains out any excess water from the Itaipu reservoir.

Our next stop is some 20 miles south - the world famous Iguazu Falls. From miles around you can hear them rumbling - you can just sense the power of these falls. There's a seemingly infinite amount of waterfalls here, and the best way to experience them is to get up close. One way is to board one of the many boats that travel along the lower river - and we do just that, getting as close to the falls as possible. But no trip is complete without visiting the "Devil's Throat" (seen in the top left corner of the picture) - an elevated walkway takes us as close as we can possibly get to it, witnessing a one of a kind wonder.

- Full size link here -

Finally, our journey wraps up when we reach one of the premier destinations in South America - Buenos Aires. Once you see the avenues and architecture, it's not hard to see why it's called the "Paris of South America". 9 de Julio isn't just wide - it's the world's largest avenue - and right in the middle of it is the famous Obelisco de Buenos Aires. Built to commemorate the founding of the city in 1536, it's truly amazing at night.

- Bonus Pictures -

Everything else that didn't make it into an update this year, so here's their final destination. Enjoy!

Yaounde, Cameroon

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Agbokim Waterfalls, Nigeria

Ancient City of Djado (1000 A.D.), Niger

Rubber Farm, Liberia

Mother and Child Balancing Rocks, Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

Great Blue Hole, Belize

Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

Great Wall of China

Prague's Christmas Market

New Year's Eve in Prague

- Tutorials -

Itaipu Dam

Itaipu Dam was one of the most ambitious projects of the year for me, and after many trials and tribulations I was able to successfully get it into the game. To make it, I first downloaded the pieces from here, here, and here. After I brought it into 3dsmax, the next objective was to break it up into small pieces so it would render properly. This picture illustrated what exactly I ended up doing. Next, the pieces had to be edited with the Reader to make their occupant sizes 1x1x1, so other things such as MMPs could be plopped around them, and most importantly so they would fit onto 1x1 tiles. Then, all the pieces were put onto 1x1 tiles, and moved around countless times to ensure they would line up as close as the game would possibly allow. Finally, it was a matter of placing everything in the game and plopping water and MMPs around the entire dam structure. Some minor editing was done after the fact, such as to add extra steam on the spillway in addition to the plopped JENX small + medium waterfall lots, to add power lines between the plopped power poles, and to clean up any small imperfections between pieces.

Machu Picchu

Now, I'll probably get some questions on my Machu Picchu so I'll try my best to explain my method here as well. I've struggled with terraces in the past (that's why you haven't seen any so far :P), but now with this method, you'll probably see things like terraced rice paddies in the future as well. So pretty much what I did was firstly download a couple of Machu Picchu models I found off of 3d warehouse. They're actually pretty easy to make though, so I'd recommend that if you can do it. I took the good elements of each, moved things around, rescaled, rotated etc and combined them to make a really nice model. Retextured it, then converted it to an editable poly, selected faces, and carefully selected and removed all the flat grass faces on the model. Cut out a section of it, rendered it, made the LODs 1x1x1 in reader, and placed it on a 1x1 lot. Opened up Model tweaker, then offset it something like 500 ft so now it's hanging way off the lot and the 1x1 lot won't interfere when I'm terraforming. Once in game, I plop it, terraform hills to the contour of the terraces, and put down lots of MMP grass where the grass used to be on the model. This picture should help illustrate that a bit (taken right at the beginning, so terraforming/MMPing wasn't done, but hopefully you should get the idea). Finally, the last adjustments were made in PS, the biggest of which included adding shadows (which is important here because models won't cast shadows on MMPs)

- - -

Special thanks once again to all the various creators on 3d warehouse for providing invaluable models for this update.

Attribution for the pictures:

Waterkant Paramaribo, CCSA3, Forrestjunky | View from Mt. Roraima "Window", CCSA2, Paulo Fassina | Tepuy Autana (Kuaymayojo), CCSA3, Fernando Flores | puerto colombia (choroní, venezuela), CC2, Olga Berrios | Ceroxylon Quindiuense Cocora, CC3, Diegotorquemada | Santuario Nacional de Las Lajas 02, CCSA3, GameOfLight | Colca Canton Puno, CCSA2, | Machu Picchu, Peru, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike2.0, Pedro Szekely | Nazca Lines - Condor, CCSA2, Paul Williams | Uros Islands in Lake Titicaca - panoramio, CC3, Frans-Banja Mulder | Por do Sol Pantanal em Mato Grosso Brasil, CCSA3, Filipefrazao | Yellow Jesus, CCSA3, dabldy | Panoramica Santos, CC2, Diego Silvestre | Sao Paulo, Brasil, CC2, Francisco Autunes | Usina Hidroelétrica Itaipu Binacional / Itaipu Dam, CC2, Deni Williams | Iguazu National Park Falls, CC3, Tomfriedel | Obelisk Buenos Aires, CC2, Nestor Galina. Notes: Various edits were made to each picture, including color, slight blurring, and sharpening. All these banners have the same license as the original pictures.




manga rivotra: Thank you for the comment, glad you enjoyed it.

Girafe: Thanks, glad you enjoyed the update and the park.

Vizoria: Thanks for the kind words!

Kitsune: Thanks for the compliment, glad you liked it.

APSMS: Thanks! Yeah, I use some of those effects to make up for some of SC4's shortcomings like you mentioned. I'm not 100% sure though if I'll keep on doing the extra shadows in city scenes.. I liked the effect it gave on sunset pics like Ronda + Rome, but not too sure on the daytime pics. I do plan to keep doing it though in more nature oriented scenes with heavy MMPing, if only for the fact that trees and other objects won't cast shadows on MMPed grass, so it looks a bit strange without it.

reddonquixote: Thanks for the comment and the good feedback :) I'm still trying to get the hang of reflections, so I've been looking at a lot of RL pics to get the most accurate result. You're definitely right about the Opera house though, it's a bit recessed from the shoreline so there probably shouldn't be much of a reflection there anyways so I removed it.

Themistokles: You can call it what you please :P Thanks for the comment :)

tomvsotis: Thanks for the kind words :) Unfortunately, probably no beach pics for a while, after doing Myrtos beach + South Pacific update + now Santos.. I'm a little "beached out" right now... I hope you understand :P

kbieniu7: Thanks, glad you liked the MMPs :)

« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 01:55:57 PM by korver »

Offline reddonquixote

Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-30
« Reply #141 on: January 01, 2017, 02:08:24 AM »
 :shocked2: :shocked2: :shocked2:

Too much amazingness for one update.. it shouldn't be allowed!  $%Grinno$%

That sanctuary is quite something... I've never heard of it before. Nicely done!

I'm also very pleased to see the Cristo Redentor bat being used... and I can't think of a better MD'er to use it  ;D

I could keep going, these are all stunning!
Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know.

Offline vester

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Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-30
« Reply #142 on: January 01, 2017, 07:59:35 AM »
:shocked2: :shocked2: :shocked2:

Too much amazingness for one update.. it shouldn't be allowed!  $%Grinno$%
I could keep going, these are all stunning!

I can only add to that: Is that really SimCity4   :o :shocked2:

Offline Kitsune

Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-30
« Reply #143 on: January 01, 2017, 11:03:01 AM »
wow amazing ! As someone whos been to both Buenos Aires and Paris... I enjoyed the Argentinean capital a bit more.

Offline brick_mortimer

Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-30
« Reply #144 on: January 02, 2017, 09:18:47 AM »
What a way to finish 2016  &apls

I can only echo what all other comments on this MD say: amazing, wonderful, etc.

Thanks for showing beautiful unknown parts of the world.
It usually goes like this: new post in True Earth => wikipedia to find out more  :satisfied:
Busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest
Me no coffee function without so good

Offline dyoungyn

Re: South America + Bonus Pictures / True Earth / Updated 12-30
« Reply #145 on: January 02, 2017, 09:22:57 AM »
Truly amazing work as always; you are truly gifted.

Offline compdude787

Re: True Earth / South America + Bonus Pictures / Updated 12-30
« Reply #146 on: January 03, 2017, 10:26:52 PM »
Awesome work!! &apls
Check out my MD, United States of Simerica!
Last updated: March 5, 2017

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Offline vortext

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Re: True Earth / South America + Bonus Pictures / Updated 12-30
« Reply #147 on: January 04, 2017, 11:16:09 AM »
:shocked2: This is beyond words, what an amazing update!  &apls &apls
time flies like a bird
fruit flies like a banana

Offline kbieniu7

Re: True Earth / South America + Bonus Pictures / Updated 12-30
« Reply #148 on: January 04, 2017, 12:55:49 PM »
Well... for me is a truly amazing example of a simcity artistical perfection, true edges of possibilities given by this game and photoshop.

I looked at every image closely, one might look at every one and admire every tiny detail spending hours. You have not only presented outstanding screenshots from the game, you have also shown us true places, what makes all of your entries a great excursion. Several of those spots I have checked in the internet and Google Maps, learning something new... it all shows how big and magnificient place the Earth is... and your thread makes avaible to, at least virtually, travel to some of those places.

My favourite? Few ones:
- Mount Roraima. Probably the most incredible place from all of those ones, a true wonder... again - both in real world as well as in the game.
- City of Djado - a quiet and mysterical place...
- and the top of the tops, for myself: Prague Market in Winter. I've been there, in fact, Prague is my favourite European city, I love it. And I see it in SimCity now... With Tyn church, City Hall tower with the astronomical clock and St. Nicholas' church in front of which I was sitting a year ago and writing a postcards to my friends... All of this makes that the in-game reality mixes with the true reality.

No more words.  &apls Just might hope that you one day "visit" Poland... and make my mind blows even more ;)
Thank you for visiting Kolbrów, and for being for last ten years!

Offline korver

Re: True Earth / Year in Review: 2016 / Updated 3-7
« Reply #149 on: March 07, 2017, 11:59:56 PM »

- UPDATE 12: Year in Review: 2016 -


So give or take a couple of days, it's now been exactly one year since I decided to seriously get involved with SC4. To celebrate the occasion, I've decided to do a retrospective entry on some of mine and the community's favorite pictures from this MD in 2016, with some commentary as well. Additionally, I'll be expanding upon various tips and techniques I discussed in 2016 along with adding some more as well.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone once again for your supportive comments and likes in 2016 - they really kept me going, even when motivation was running low at times.

Additionally, I apologize for the lack of updates recently. As you might expect, the last two updates of 2016 (Sydney and South America) were extraordinarily time consuming and draining - so some time off was in order. I'm still slightly burnt out.. but I am finally starting to finish up a couple of updates, so I will be unveiling those shortly.

Lake Bogoria

For my first entry in True Earth, I wanted to make a big entrance - so what better way to do that than a 10,000 pixel tall mosaic? Key pieces in Lake Bogoria included SE Asian slummy houses from nihonkaranws + Heblem tiki huts in the villages, various trees by SimFox, Heblem, girafe, and CP, Flamingo generators from SC4Devotion, and geysers from Craig-Abcvs.


Journey Through The Sahara

I've always loved the idea of an ultra crowded market, so Djenne, Mali was one of the first urban scenes that I created for this MD. Generally, my rule is simple when it comes to these scenes - keep on adding more and more props in LE until I hit the prop limit (1,200 or so). nbvc's bazaar and Asian street market was vital here - but perhaps most important was Uki's stalls. It's amazing what you can find after doing a little digging around on various Japanese SC4 sites. For anyone interested in this lot, it's available on the STEX here (slightly trimmed to cut down on a massive dependency list).



The sweltering small oasis town of Bardai, Chad. Given the small amount of desert-looking buildings readily available on the STEX and other sites, I had to get creative, utilizing a a little bit of everything that I could find. This included a mixture of kevinman houses, frogface slums, Wallibuk slums, Heblem tiki huts, and others. But perhaps the most interesting was the SimMars buildings that I used that fit surprisingly well. To finish off the scene, careful usage of the Poseidon terrain brushes was instrumental.



Conquering Mount Fitz Roy


Patagonia's mountains are impressive, but just as impressive is its fall colors. The Rio Fitz Roy dramatically cuts through the landscape - a mixture of brown Murimk MMP rocks and the brown boulders included in nbvc's rocks 'n' stones (just don't drag them - click over and over until you get the big ones) did a great job of achieving that mountainous feel.



Now we come face to face with the majestic Mount Fitz Roy. Mountainous terrain mods are difficult to perfect in SC4, but I felt the one I made for this update did a pretty nice job of bringing out the imposing nature of this mountain.



Myrtos Beach


One of my favorite updates I made during 2016, Myrtos Beach was originally planned as the final piece to a massive Greece update. However, it quickly became apparent that it deserved an update of it's own. I got things started off with this simple yet beautiful sunset picture - it's amazing how small details such as photoshopped lights on the boat, house, and cars can make a big difference, making the picture feel much more alive.



We move on to the overview of the beach. For this scene, it was vital having the right portion of various MMPs working together - which included Girafe Parasols + Cypresses and Heblem plop rocks + Chihuahuan flora.



Greece - Part II


I've always liked ruin scenes - there's always seems to be something magical about them. Bringing the Tholos of Delphi to life in the SC4 world meant lots of Aubrac walls, nbvc stone paths, and an assortment of random rocks and plop sands. After getting the hang of this technique quickly, I further explored the idea of SC4 MMP ruins with my Great Zimbabwe pic in my "Scenes From Africa" update. Also, for anyone attempting something like this in the future - I would *highly* recommend checking out Simmer2's SM2 Stones Vol1 - perfect for these sort of scenes.



Athens - my first true city scene. Once I saw some of swi21's great Athenian buildings I knew I wanted to make an Athens recreation - but the lack of Greek urban buildings was an issue. I ended up finding some pretty close replacements on SimCity Polska - check the "After 1920" section.



Meteora, Greece. The trickiest part to this picture was definitely the mountains and how to make sure they didn't look stretched. Vortext gave me a great tip - make sure you check the 'TerrainTexTilingFactor" property in your Terrain controller (If you're using a terrain mod - just search "controller" and you *should* find it in your plugins. Some are named differently though - so you might need to do a little looking around.) The terrain tiling factor is set at 0.2 by default - which generally produces stretched rock faces. Increasing this number to say, 0.25, 0.3, or higher will give a more realistic look on steep surfaces, but it will look a bit more tiled as a slight trade off. It's still a big improvement though over the default.



South Pacific


Anakena Beach, Easter Island. Here, I experimented heavily with MMPed grass - my technique was to work in layers. I got started off placing a base of PEG grass/moss for a lush, tropical look. After that, a random assortment of girafe seasonal flowers were plopped down, acting as areas of tall grass. Finally, I sprinkled in some of ChrisAdams' green rye grass to make certain areas thicker than others. One last thing I did was also sprinkle in some brown rye grass, light straw, and regular straw from ChrisAdams - these acted as areas of dead grass, and provided some much needed color variation. Small girafe bushes, berries, and feather grass were added too, to break up the landscape a bit. Also, an important note for anyone ever planning on using Moai in SC4 - make sure they have their backs facing the ocean. The locals believed that this signified the Moai were watching over them from intruders. I had to re-do the pic because of that :P



Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands. For scenes like these, I wanted to place MMPs right around the buildings - which meant shrinking the occupant size down to 1x1x1. Additionally, I wanted them to blend in perfectly with the landscape - which meant deleting any existing base/overlay textures. (note: before making any edits, please note that plopping lots stripped of textures on steep surfaces may result in a visual glitch where the texture turns black instead. If you are considering placing these lots onto steep surfaces, one workaround is to place the already shrunken to 1x1x1 prop/building (if it's the latter, you'll need to convert it into a prop via Plugin Manager/PIMX) onto the the default Pz1x1 Grass lot in Lot Editor and delete the textures on that lot instead - small filler lots like these do not seem to suffer from the same issue.) Your lot will of course now function as a park, but it will allow you to plop it where you want without base texture issues.

(One additional note - sometimes the .sc4lot and .sc4desc files will be bundled into a .dat file. In that case (and if you're able to track down the .dat file), you'll need to do some searching around for the right files - clicking the "entry" tab at the top will sort them, so that should make your job easier).

The first thing you need to do is shrink the occupant size so you can place MMPs around the perimeter - open a lot's associated .sc4desc file in Reader, choose exemplar file on the left, click the Occupant size category, and shrink it down to 1,1,1 (pic). Click "set", "apply", save the file and you're done.

As deleting all base textures is not possible in the Lot Editor, you'll need to instead find the .sc4lot file associated with a lot and open it up with Ilive's reader (make sure this is set up with the correct options/property files first) From there, navigate to the "Exemplar file" category on the left (there might be multiple "exemplar files" - the one you need for will say "LotConfigurations" at the top") and scroll down the list of "LotConfigPropertyLotObjectData" entries. Any entry beginning with 0x00000002 will be a base/overlay texture - deleting all of these (pic) will clear the lot of any and all textures (make sure you right click again after doing any deleting and choose "Reindex LotConfig" too)



Scenes From Africa


The chaotic African capital of Lagos. Continuing on with the trend of crowded cities, I don't think I'll ever make another one as packed as this. A mixture of Motokloss cars and cars from the massive LBT prop pack 1 fit the mood nicely - especially the yellow vans from the Motokloss pack which matched the infamous yellow Danfos buses that crowd the streets. As for building selection, you can't go wrong with Wallibuk's South American buildings + his African slums too. Some of Glenni's buildings + the Hong Kong themed buildings in the Dong He Night market pack fit surprisingly well too.



Majestic Victoria Falls. I once saw a pic a long time ago in _marsh_'s legendary MD "Royal Gansbaai Kingdoms" featuring an awesome photoshopped waterfall and it blew my mind. I knew it was something that I just had to try out.



The Amazon


Deep in the heart of the jungle lies Manaus. I really wanted to portray a city that truly felt like it was in the jungle - so I went a little heavier than usual with the editing. Mist/cloud brushes, a levels adjustment to really bring out some of the yellows/oranges, and a soft white diffuse glow all gave the the feeling of a hot Amazonian city.



Now we move into the jungle itself with one of the Amazon's many stunning tributaries. My favorite part to this picture has to be the sand bars. To get them perfectly razor sharp, a technique that I employed (both in this picture and others) was to combine a water mod with an MMP such as JRJ dirty ploppable water or PEG grass/clover on the edges. Make sure the two are of matching colors - and you will be able to use the MMP to sculpt razor sharp lines along the borders. It generally should blend together perfectly (but you might need to tweak your water opacity, look here for a guide on how to do that).



Scenes From Europe


Pisa was the first time that I experimented with creating a completely customized texture for a city scene. It was tricky though, because the footprint of the buildings I used in this picture didn't match real life, so a perfect 1:1 scale recreation would look off. So I had to do a different technique for this picture. What I did was plop the important buildings in the game first, closely aligned to real life. I then turned the grid on in game and created a checkerboard pattern in Photoshop like this, outlining the placement of the buildings in the game. I'd then overlay the checkerboard from time to time while constructing the texture, with the final result turning out like this. From there, it was a matter of simply creating a flat plane in 3dsmax (I believe it was 10x13), placing the texture on it, and rendering it for use in game. The simple scene that I initially made in the game was then reconstructed in the Lot Editor, placing the main buildings on top of the big flat texture prop I made, along with lots and lots of detail work.



Ronda was one of my absolute favorite pics I made. The lotting was especially tricky for this picture however, with the jagged cliffs causing issues. Because you can only make square lots in Lot Editor, this meant that some of the base textures would be overhanging over the edge of the cliffs. To remedy this, something you can do is place the base textures (I recommend choosing different textures - and also noting their texture ID) you want deleted as the very last thing you do before saving. You can then open up the .sc4lot file in Ilive's reader, and the textures/props placed last will be the very last "LotConfigPropertyLotObjectData" entries. To confirm you're deleting the right ones - any textures start off with 0x00000002 and their texture ID will be visible as the last value in the 13 rep entry. Delete the textures you want gone and you can now have a lot in pretty much shape you want (although, it will still "technically" be a square. This is more of a visual trick.)



Heblem's dam set is one of the more underlooked BATs out there. The first time I saw it I knew I had to put it to good use - so I recreated one of the most impressive dams in the world, Switzerland's Contra Dam.





The day overview of the Harbour city. Laying out the roads wasn't too horribly difficult - just remember that each SC4 tile is 52.5 x 52.5 feet when measuring in Google Earth while doing a recreation. The diagonal sections were tricky if only for the fact that there's not a lot of buildings to choose from. Glenni's buildings are usually my go-to here. The most challenging aspect to this picture was the highway system. As there's no elevated FARHW, it would been impossible to construct it using NAM components. I ended up getting creative, cutting off pieces of this Habour Bridge model and rendering them for use in game as modular pieces, as highlighted in this picture. It ended up working surprisingly well, though the long rendering times were a pain.



My first venture into MMPing an entire urban park, Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens. ChrisAdams' paths were crucial here - I discovered that simply creating paths using the asphalt or concrete ones and surrounding it with a line of the dirt ones (or light dirt) creates a very nice layered effect. You can even use some of the smaller nbvc Rocks 'n' Stones to create the illusion of slightly terraced grass along the edges of the paths. The grass selection was pretty much a bunch of girafe seasonal flowers, but with some spots left barren to expose the terrain mod underneath. This had the effect of not only making the scene look less "busy" - a positive in my book, but also gave a little extra color variation. My usual strategy of using ChrisAdams brown rye/straw/light straw in various places was employed as well, for more color variation and to make it look like there was the occasional patch of dead grass.



We now move on to Sydney at night. One of my favorite pictures of the year, I love how it turned out - full of energy, just like the city itself.



South America


Buenos Aires and it's world famous 9 de Julio Avenue + Obelisco. The textures made for the streets turned out really nice and it ended up being a gorgeous scene. Simple, small details such as illumination added to the street lights in Photoshop (inspired by the style of MilitantRadical) can add a lot to a scene.



Santos, Brazil. Whenever it's December, I always seem to visit Bastet69008's and elavery's great MDs/CJs to take my mind off the fact that it's 5 degrees outside and snowing.  So I think it's pretty clear where the inspiration for this picture came from :P



One last photoshopped waterfall. For a waterfall as truly epic as Iguazu Falls, I felt it certainly deserved it.



Itaipu Dam was one of my bigger projects, and demonstrates the possibilities of importing sketchup models into the game - bringing to scenes to life that you thought would never be possible. I already did an extensive tutorial on the process of getting this behemoth into the game - you can check it out in the tutorials section of my last entry here. I'd also recommend getting acquainted with some of the basics of 3dsmax - a good guide on that can be found here.



I normally don't like using Sketchup models to entirely create a scene (generally low quality) - but the Paramaribo house set I stumbled upon had some really excellent modeling. The building textures though weren't the best in-game, so some rain and a touch of extra grime added in after the fact really helped out.



Bonus Pictures


The cradle of life - Ngorongoro crater. As a whole, the spawnable flora from Xannepan's animal generators found on SC4Devotion are greatly underused. Outside of obvious choices like the African safari type scenes shown below - there's plenty of uses. Even just a couple plops of the buzzard generator over a natural habitat can help bring a scene to life. Even after making a number of wildlife related pictures in 2016, there's still many possibilities left over - something I intend to explore more this year.



While I was pleased with how the Lagos scene turned out, I really wanted to make a nice grid buster scene. For Yaounde, a variety of techniques were used. For starters, I did the entire scene backwards then flipped it horizontally once I was done to give it a fresh perspective while remaining true to real life. As for the actual scene itself, the FA 22.5 and 67.5 cars included in Orange's prop pack were vital. Additional techniques were used such as slightly offsetting orthogonal buildings along the edges of FA roads and hiding the rough corners with flora. Custom content creation was extensive for this scene - not only did it require custom textures for the roads but it also marked my first serious venture into BAT, as I created the Yaounde Cathedral from scratch (although it's still very much a WIP).



My first snowy city scene, Prague, required me getting creative. Essentially, my strategy was the following: since a number of the buildings in this picture were custom imported BATs, I had control in 3dsmax to give them snow textures on the roofs. Since all the other buildings didn't have snow - I pretty much copied and pasted the snow from the models that had the snow on them to the ones that didn't have any. The base textures didn't need any photoshop work as I designed the texture to be snowy from the very beginning. At the time, that strategy worked decently, but it was incredibly tedious. Since then, I've done a little experimenting and I think the best way forward would be a method such as the one used by pingpong. I would only suggest playing around with the "Selective colors" adjustment to make the whites a little more whiter.



NOTE: All images on True Earth are hosted from dropbox, which seems to have more issues than other image hosts unfortunately. If you are unable to view any of the pictures in this journal thus far, I have dumped everything from 2016 into an imgur album here.




reddonquixote: Thanks so much for the nice words. Ever since I saw that great Cristo Redentor BAT you released, I've been itching to put it to good use. Finally got the opportunity to, and I'm glad you liked it :)

vester: Thanks ;D

Kitsune: Thanks for the comment :) I wish I'd been to half the places as you have! Maybe one day...

brick_mortimer: Thanks for the kind words and that comparison ;D

dyoungyn: Thanks, I appreciate it!

compdude787: Thank you! :)

vortext: Thanks for the kind words!

kbieniu7: Thanks for the comment! It's always nice to hear about the small details that I put into my scenes - sometimes, it's the smallest details that can have the biggest effect, bringing a scene to life and making it seem truly real. I'd probably have to agree with you there on Prague, it certainly ended up being one of my favorite pics of the year. And as for Poland - it's something that I have given some thought about before. I really love Krakow and its square, but of course both you and Jeckyll/Mankowsky already made some really nice recreations of it. So I don't know if I'm gonna make a third :P But there might be other places I could consider.

« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 06:47:24 AM by korver »

Offline Badsim

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Re: True Earth / Year in Review: 2016 / Updated 3-7
« Reply #150 on: March 08, 2017, 03:17:15 PM »
Well … It seems you’re stuck in the « Of Special Interest this Year »  section  ;D , finally the most proper place for your pictures : simply the greatest SC4 show I’ve ever seen … hats off to you . &apls &apls &apls &apls

... I'm still slightly burnt out.. but I am finally starting to finish up a couple of updates, so I will be unveiling those shortly.

Indeed , I understood ( thanks for the amount of informations ) how all these mirages are technically possible … but physically ? ? ?  When I see the time I spend for a single mono scene update with an area not even close in sizes to any of yours , I seriously wonder if korver isn’t the name of a secret  team of 12 dangerous SC4 fanatics !  ???  $%Grinno$% What esle to say …

Take care and take your time to keep on to stagger us so systematically and irremediably. There's so many striking places on earth I would like to see SC4-ified by you ... but no need to dress a list , I'm confident on your choices and surprises are a significant part of the pleasure you give us here . Thank you .  ;)


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Offline korver

Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #151 on: March 10, 2017, 02:24:24 PM »

- UPDATE 13: Moscow -


For anyone going to Moscow, a trip down the heart of the city is a must. We begin our journey with a drive down Tverskaya Street - the most well-known road in all of Moscow. This crowded shopping district has existed since the 12th century, and the streets are lined with historic architecture wherever you look. Even with some light rain, its Russian charm is still undeniable.



As we make our way around the city, the rain begins to pick up considerably. Endless rows of commie blocks dominate the surrounding landscape - their bleak repetitiveness serves as a fitting backdrop to the elements.



October brings the first snow of the year - creating a beautiful atmosphere around many of Moscow's most famous landmarks such as the Lomonossov Moscow State University. Completed in 1953, its imposing facade has served as the perfect symbol of Moscow - a powerful city that serves as the financial, political, and economic capital of Russia.



Once the calendar crosses over into December, temperatures plunge into the negatives as the entire city turns into a winter wonderland. Moscow is one of the coldest major cities in the world - with temperatures as low as -44F being recorded, it takes a lot to brave these months. While it may be cold outside, it's not cold enough to stop us from visiting one of Moscow's most famous tourist attractions, Red Square. Few places on earth can boast such a collection of historic buildings in one location - with the Kremlin, State Museum, St. Basil's Cathedral, and many more within walking distance.

Once the seasons change and the elements begin to clear up, a beautiful, sleek city emerges. Despite still being in construction, the Moscow International Business Center (Moscow City) boasts one of the most impressive skylines in all of Europe (and in the world). Its one of a kind collection of skyscrapers on the banks of the Moskva River include the Federation Tower, City of Capitals, and Naberezhnaya Tower - all of which are equally stunning. While Moscow may be known for it's past historic architecture, Moscow City makes it clear that this is also a city with an eye on the future.



NOTE: Two of these scenes (Moscow City & Red Square) feature a handful of sketchup models from sites like 3d warehouse, as there were no close replacements for certain buildings I needed. These are real models imported into the game, they are like any other BAT you would use. Some editing was done though to add effects like extra nightlights and snow.




Badsim: Thank you very much for the kind words and high praise :) Your work on AntigOne has had a huge influence on how I play the game and there's been countless ideas that I've gotten from it, so thank you (and that Grand Prismatic.. one of the coolest things I've ever seen made for this game!) Anyways, I've learned to work extremely fast in SC4 over the years (probably due to me realizing that if I spend too much time on one scene, I get bored and quit).. so that's part of how I get so many scenes done. I just need to hope I don't get too burnt out though :P as I do want to keep this going for a while.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 03:12:29 AM by korver »

Offline kbieniu7

Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #152 on: March 10, 2017, 02:44:03 PM »
Oh dear... According to your summary - it's been a great year! A lot of amazing shots. The advices of "behind-the-scenes" for sure will be helpful for somebody. And they are prove that you're going to surprise us more times!
And you know... if you decided to take Kraków one day, we will definetely cheer you up, especially at SimCityPolska ;)

Regarding Moscow - briliant... as always  &apls I think our Russian colleagues could say (and judge ;) ) about the degree of reality you've put in those photos, but for me it's exaclty what I image about Russia's capital - snowy Red Square, giant pre-fab block quarters and horribly wide roads (often without median between directions - you could have build more of such there ) ;)

So, let's look into the English dictionary for a new word of appreciation... resplendent... that sounds good for all this crafstmanlike-prepared scenes  &apls
Thank you for visiting Kolbrów, and for being for last ten years!

Offline Silur

Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #153 on: March 10, 2017, 03:05:39 PM »
Yes, I am from Moscow. Amazing accuracy Red Square and other places. Very accurately convey the spirit of the city. Tverskaya street transferred not exactly, but very similar. I think a great artist KORVER not running with the SC4 models, but with the help of Photoshop using Google Earth . Excellent and very truthful picture. I like it a lot!  :thumbsup: &apls &apls &apls
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 03:09:16 PM by Silur »

Offline art128

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Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #154 on: March 11, 2017, 03:02:21 AM »
Being a fan of Moscow, I must say this update was spectacular. It's safe to say this is now my favorite. :)
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Offline compdude787

Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #155 on: March 11, 2017, 09:24:56 PM »
Wow, that looks awesome!!! I like how even the freeway looks like a custom model. That huge university in the third picture looks like quite an imposing building.

Offline dyoungyn

Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #156 on: March 11, 2017, 11:25:01 PM »
Indeed it truly does look totally awesome.  It is so hard to believe that this was done in SC4.  Understand a lot of it was photoshoped, still I can see remembrance of SC4 in most of them.   &apls &apls &apls &apls &apls &apls &apls &apls

Offline Bipin

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Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #157 on: March 12, 2017, 12:18:52 AM »
This dropped my jaw like few other things have.  :o

Offline Alan_Waters

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Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #158 on: March 12, 2017, 12:11:52 PM »
I'm also a Muscovite. Fantastically transmitted mood of the city. Even small inaccuracies do not notice, and if you take into account the possibilities of SC4 - brilliant work!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: &apls &apls &apls

Offline FrankU

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Re: True Earth / Moscow / Updated 3-10
« Reply #159 on: March 13, 2017, 08:29:20 AM »
This is all way too impressive for a simple guy like me!
Wow...  &apls