Art Project: Glebe, Sydney in 3D

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a hobby project to recreate, loosely speaking, the suburb of Glebe in Sydney in 3D. The original idea was to capture the essence of the suburb without necessarily making a one-to-one replica of each and every building or object.

My chosen medium was 3D and the project was built using Blender (a free 3D modelling software) and Unreal Engine 4.0 (A free / licensed video game engine).

The original inspiration for the project came from a photograph of Surry Hills (see below). Surry Hills is a similar Sydney suburb filled with terrace houses, aligned in neat little rows on every street.

What is fascinating about these houses are the colours. Each house has a different colour, which, alongside its neighbour, creates a very visually impressive vista on every street.

After stumbling upon the photograph, I began to take an interest in colour theory. A lot has been written about colour theory and what attracts the human eye. The subject is quite complicated but the basics are things that everyone knows at an intuitive level. We might say that blue makes us calm and red makes us alert, for example.

What I had not been exposed to before was the ways in which colours can be combined together to make a sense of place. Yes, colours can be contrasted for a bold visual display (think the red and green of Christmas). But colour can also be complimentary. When the two ideas are combined together, you can create something that is visually engaging.

Taking these ideas on board, I began to explore the design of 3D terrace houses, using a variety of bold, complimentary and contrasting colours in my recreation of Glebe:

Glebe is one of my favorite suburbs in Sydney. It is one of the few suburbs in the city that has maintained a sense of culture and place, even as the city has been modernized. The streets are filled with a bustling community of students and lecturers from the local university, alongside artists, musicians and other creative types, and the occasional aging hippie or trendy hipster.

The side streets are really beautiful too, with the purple hue of jacaranda trees at the end of spring or the green leafy evergreens that dot the suburb and make it come alive even in the depths of winter.

As a student, I spent long days perusing the bookstores and coffee shops, overhearing conversations on politics and economics, art, music and philosophy. To a certain extent, whatever I created would embody this sense of nostalgia, this sense of a place and time that is, of course, brighter and more vibrant than reality.

You can buy some of these images as prints on my Redbubble page:

Stay tuned for further updates as I may turn this into either a video game piece or simply keep working on it as a standalone 3D art piece.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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