Infinite Mexico City
Building an infinite city.
For this piece I searched all over the world for interesting patterns viewable from a birds-eye perspective. Below, you can find some of my other tests of locations, but for the final piece I decided to go with a subsection of Mexico City.
You can view the original project documentation on the class website.
Final high-resolution, full-scale render
Picking a Source Location
I chose this neighborhood in Mexico City because it was geometrically compatible when duplicated, and there were plenty of nearby locations in Mexico City with appropriate “filler textures” that could help reduce the replicated/patterned look of the final composition, and allow for some randomness and uniqueness. I also found the octagonal shape to be quite pleasant to look at.
High resolution, tileable image compiled from multiple screenshots.
Creating the Tile
In order to create this piece, I first used photo stitching (using tools similar to AutoPano to stitch multiple photos together to create one large hi-res image) to create a high resolution rendering of the “square”. I scanned it top-down block-by-block to gather the screenshots to be stitched.
Expanding the City
Once I created the stitched image, I started duplicating it and rotating it (to break up patterning) manually, in an ever-expanding state. I filled gaps in with other parts of the city and blended any seams manually in Photoshop as best I could. Here is a close-up of the block duplicated 4 times.
Removing Repeating Landmarks
After creating the tiled composition, I started going in and finding obviously repetitive locations and clearing them up to be more unique. Unfortunately I did not have time to finish this process, and I didn’t have the chance to change the center of each octagon (the most obvious repetition at this state), as well as other small locations. Here, I compare the before/after of the “cleaning” I did.
Lastly, after giving the entire image a overlaid texture to simulate different lighting conditions (from clouds/atmosphere) and scale, I animated a short video using Premiere. The zoom effect demonstrates the detail that you can zoom in to, while also giving the feeling of infinite zoom, like a fractal.
The final form of my project is a 2D image (over 35,000 pixels wide and half a Gigabyte in size). Preferably, I would want to present it as a printed image on a very large scale, so the audience can look at it from afar or walk closer to it to see detail. The video above was meant to replace that for digital purposes.
If I were to revisit this project, I would do more locations using automation (write a computer script) to generate infinitely expanding versions of those areas. One such city I think would be most suitable for a computer-generated infinite city would be Barcelona, becasue of it's simple, square building designs.
These are some other locataions I saw that could have worked for this project as well, in the form of some quick mockups I created. Click on each image to see where it is in the world.
These are some cool locations I found during my searching that wouldn't work as well for this project, but ones that I thought were quite interesting in pattern and form.
The circle/Pac-Man shaped patterns turned out to be farmland using center pivot irrigation systems, which spin around to water a field in a circular motion. The desert-like areas with spots of baldness, like a pattern of synapses in the brain, are oil pumpjacks.