For the environment to be able to suitably host a collection of 2D art objects, I looked at real life examples of city environments where street advertising is common, however it is difficult to avoid the New York City and Tokyo street cliche that dominates this kind of environment art. For this project I would like to step away from using these cities as reference and try and take a fresh approach.
I decided to draw inspiration from old buildings in Copenhagen and York as a starting point for the environment art. There are a number of benefits to using the above styles.
- The building sections can be modular, with small details and variety being added easily via textures, allowing the environment to grow quickly with minimal repetition.
- Flexibility of assets means I can experiment with different layouts in-engine, and allow the 2D art to drive the environment and not the other way around.
- The environments could suit either a very small, enclosed area or a diorama/cutaway of a city without the need for many background details.
- Provides an unsuaual backdrop that could truly test the effect that 2D art could have on the environment.
So I began breaking down, from the reference, the building pieces.
The above image consists of actual selections from photographs, flattened and simplified, keeping as faithful as possible to the reference images. I also tried experimenting with some colour palettes.
I then took the above reference work and began making simple 2D breakdowns of potential modular building pieces, adding in the wooden beam elements from the York street reference.
This gave me a launch pad from which I could start creating some 3D assets. In the end, these building pieces became the starting plans for the first buildings I would make.
As a quick experiment, I tried using the above building parts and tested how much variety I could get from these by constructing a small 2D environment test. There will need to be a few other building types in order to fully realise the environment, but this is an effective start point for now.