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Vellu Jan 18, 2009 11:05 AM

Rocane - a sketchup city
Hello, everybody!

This is my first post on this forum. I've been a skyscraper fan as long as I can remember and last spring when I found Sketchup, I finally had a tool to realize my dreams of modeling imagenary cities.

The city I'm going to introduce here is called Rocane. It is my second sketchup city. Rocane is a fictional city somewhere in the Midwestern United States. It lies on the banks of Rocane River - a imagenary tributary of the Mississippi River. My idea for Rocane was to make different models of the city to follow its development from late 19th century to near future. When modeling buildings for each era I've tried to use architectural styles common for that era - for example art deco in 1930's and modernism for 50's to 70's. For each era-model I modeled a few unique buildings and a bunch of generic era-style buildings to fill the rest of the city.

About modeling principles: I wanted Rocane to be quite a large city, but still small enough sizewise for 3d Warehouse. Therefore I decided to use texturing instead of geography. I know there are fans of both techniques on this forum. For performance reasons the city lacks non-building detail. Trees, streets and sidewalks were the only detail I added in addition to buildings.

The textures are handmade using Sketchup and Photoshop. I chose this technique to get a unified yet still unique look for the city. The texture modeling was very time consuming. Luckily I had a very long vacation last summer!

The city is actually already finished and all the models from 1880 to 2020 can be found on 3d warehouse. The purpose for these posts is to introduce the buildings.

The images are Sketchup renders, because I think Rocanes textures look better rendered with Sketchup than with Kerkythea.

Well, enough with the backround, let's see some pictures.

This first picture shows couple of Rocanes oldest buildings: St.Matthews Church (built in 1854) on the left and the City Courthouse (built in 1872) on the right. St.Matthews Church, designed in Gothic Revival style, was for a long time the tallest structure in Rocane. With its central location at the corner of Main Street and Market Street, it still remains one of the favorite buildings of Rocane residents.

The main thoroughfares in downtown Rocane are Main Street (running parallel to the river) and Market street (running east from the riverfront). This view shows Market Street in 1880 looking down to the river (westwards). The back of St.Matthews church is on the left. The western bank of Rocane river can be seen on the horizon.

Here is Rocanes skyline in 1880 seen from across the river. The bell tower of St.Matthews church can be seen rising above other buildings.

doncarnage Jan 18, 2009 2:19 PM

way better than my first city!

the only thing is the tree on the first picture.

photoLith Jan 18, 2009 5:23 PM

wow, thats way better than I could have done when I first started using sketchup. I think the textures on the streets and trees are a little repetitive and dont look all that good. Other than that though the buildings look great. It seems as though you have a very good understanding of historic architecture.

Vellu Jan 18, 2009 6:09 PM

Thank you for your comments! I really appreciate them. I admit the trees don't stand up to a closer inspection. Their purpose was to add some color to the city when looked from a distance and not make the model much heavier. They do look ugly close up.

Here's more pictures.

This picture shows the 11-story Adler Building on Market Street in 1900. In 1889 agricultural machines manufacturing company Adler Farm Mechanics purchased a lot on the Market Street for their new company headquarters. Business being succesful they wanted their headquarters to be "something Rocane had never seen" and hired a Chicago-based architectural firm to design the building. The result was a steel-framed building rising to 138 feet (42 m). The building was finished in 1892. Although being the first steel-framed building in Rocane, it isn't commonly referred to as Rocane's first skyscraper.

Here is the 14-story Burnham building on Main Street as it was in 1900. At 167 feet (51 m) it became the tallest building in Rocane when constructed in 1896. It took that title from the Adler Building and is usually acknowledged as the first skyscraper in Rocane. It was built as headquarters for the retail company Burnham & Co., but today it house offices for a bunch of small firms. The Burnham Building and the Adler Building are both designed in the Chicago School or Commercial style.

Here's a view of Main Street looking north in 1900. The Burnham Building can be seen a few blocks away.

And this is Rocane's skyline in 1900. The Burnham and Adler buildings rise at the center.

FREKI Jan 18, 2009 7:08 PM

Very nice :)

Dac150 Jan 18, 2009 7:17 PM

I really love where this is going. Great city, great stories, please keep it coming!

Austin55 Jan 18, 2009 9:14 PM

I love your city, I think I sent you an email via 3d Warehouse the other day. I love your cities, and the way there built from old to new.

Id really like to see more street level detail, even if it wont fit onto the whorehouse(is what we call it around here)you could do it in parts. More trees for sure.

doncarnage Jan 18, 2009 10:49 PM

it's the best historic city for a while^^

HOLABETO Jan 19, 2009 3:23 AM

nice, i like the wide street between the buildings :okay:

Patrick Jan 19, 2009 6:34 AM

I'm looking forward to this thread, I saw your city in the warehouse, I spent quite a while exploring it!

Mocholate Jan 19, 2009 7:49 AM

Nice :cool:

Search 'smart tree' in SU 3D warehouse. Each one is 100kb average, Probably smaller than your 2D ones there.

Aleks Jan 19, 2009 8:51 AM

WOW! Awesome work. This is truly an awesome SU model. Some people would make this look amazingly real. And the town looks good from the waterfront.

Will you be showing your city in a timeline? It seems like you started one with the 1880's picture and the 1900's one. It'd be a different but good way of presenting Rocane!

Vellu Jan 19, 2009 3:15 PM

I really enjoy viewing threads of detailed cities like Austin's Trinity City or Patrick's Staunton. Compared to them Rocane looks void. However, I will present Rocane "as is", and won't add more detail to it. Reason for that is that I got a bit bored modeling Rocane when it was almost like my "day job" last summer on my long vacation. You can say I overdosed on Rocane :) However, I really enjoy presenting Rocane here and making up stories for its buildings. It is fun! I think my next city will be modeled more SSP Forum in mind than 3d "whorehouse". Unfortunately my computer is old and crappy, so I still have to compromise for modeling to be fun.

And Mocholate, thanks for the tree tip. I will check those out.

Vellu Jan 19, 2009 3:17 PM


Originally Posted by Aleks0o01 (Post 4034521)
WOW! Awesome work. This is truly an awesome SU model. Some people would make this look amazingly real. And the town looks good from the waterfront.

Will you be showing your city in a timeline? It seems like you started one with the 1880's picture and the 1900's one. It'd be a different but good way of presenting Rocane!

I really love watching how cities have developed over time, so at least to my amusement I will introduce Rocane's buildings in chronological order and show the development of the skyline and major streets from time to time.

Vellu Jan 19, 2009 3:49 PM

It was in 1868 when young Peter McKim's family moved to Rocane from Wilmington, Delaware, where Peter was born. Peter's family was poor, so he soon started working on construction sites in the fast growing city to help his father feed the family. With his wits and keen business sense Peter swiftly climbed the ladder and by the turn of the century he was the number one real estate tycoon in Rocane. The 15-story Delaware Building on Main Street was completed in 1903 to serve as headquarters for Peter's Delaware Construction Company. It is 184 feet (56 m) high and was Rocane's tallest building from 1903 to 1907.

The first floor of the Delaware Building is occupied by the Rocane Restaurant and Bar (known as the Rocane Restaurant during the Prohibition). It was opened in 1917 (this picture is taken in 1920) and is still operating, making it the oldest restaurant in Rocane.

The Chicago Apartments (at the corner of 2nd North Street and 8th Avenue), constructed by Delaware Construction Company and completed 1905, is still one of the most expensive apartment buildings in Rocane. Peter McKim, the owner of Delaware Construction Company, kept the top three floors to himself as a residence for him and his family. He lived in the building until 1925, when his declining health and the worsening street pollution forced him to move to the suburbs.

The building took its name from the park it faces. In 1891 Chicago-born multi-industrialist Augustus Gilbert moved west to Rocane and donated a park bearing the name of his old home town to the city of Rocane.

Chicago Apartments is 161 feet (49 m) tall and has 13 stories.

Austin55 Jan 20, 2009 1:18 AM

Wow! I love this City, it reminds me of the ggod times we had on here in the summer of 07". The Textures are so clear and its very well laid out, i like it tons.

Vellu Jan 22, 2009 3:54 PM


Originally Posted by Austin55 (Post 4035797)
it reminds me of the ggod times we had on here in the summer of 07".

I can only imagine how those days were. :) Maybe threads like that Staunton thread give me some idea, though.

Vellu Jan 22, 2009 4:00 PM

Shipping was an important industry in 19th and early 20th century Rocane. Cargo was shipped up the Missisippi and Rocane rivers to Rocane, from where it continued its journey westward on wagons and later on rail. The leading shipping company was Emery & Company, which was founded by John Emery in 1824. Emery & Co. Building was completed in 1907 as company headquarters. It's located at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Market Street, right next to the warehouses lining the riverfront. Real estate agents advised against this location, because they thought Emery & Co. would have difficulties attracting tenants to a building next to an industrial area. Emery & Co. proved them wrong, as the top floors they decided to rent out turned out to be popular because of the great views on the river.

Rocane's shipping industry was hit hard by the Great Depression and Emery & Company went bankrupt in 1932. Emery & Co. Building was mostly vacant up until 1955, when it was converted to a hotel as a part of the Riverfront Renewal project. It still functions as a hotel and goes by the name Riverside Hotel. Emery & Co. Building / Riverside Hotel has 21 stories, is 256 feet (78 m) high and was Rocane's tallest building from 1907 to 1916.

Hotel entrepreneur George Freemont opened Rocane's Freemont hotel in 1913 at the corner of 3rd South Street and Main Street. With its 18 stories and height of 217 feet (66 m) it was the largest hotel west of Chicago at that time. In the 20's its Great Ballroom was famous all over the country for its monthly balls.

Freemont Hotel lived through rough times from the 30's to the 80's and was abandoned from time to time. It was totally renovated in 1985 and again in 2003 and today it is the most expensive as well as the largest all-hotel building in Rocane. Hotel's Ballroom Club is the number one nightclub in Rocane.

Austin55 Jan 22, 2009 9:52 PM

OMG thats beautiful! I hope to do this to Trinity city one day.

AnthonyHarding Jan 23, 2009 6:46 AM


That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.


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