Greeble a 3D City: Tutorial 2: The Cityscape

A city can be constructed using 3D Studio Max in under 5 minutes using the Greeble Plugin and a few simple steps. In the second part of our series on Greebling a City we take a look at creating the cityscape itself.

If your new to Greeble take a look at the first part of our tutorial: Greeble a 3D City: Tutorial 1: Greeble Skyscraper.

To build a Cityscape:

You will need:

1x Copy of 3D Studio Max (a 30 Day trial can be downloaded from here)
1x Greeble Plugin installed into your Plugins Folder

Time Required: 5 -10 Minutes
Level: Beginner

Step 1: Making a City Block

Create a new Plane object as pictured below, we used 100×100 units with 10×10 width and length segments (hint: press F4 to view the outline view if it is not visible):

This creates our basic outline, we now want to convert this plane to a Editable Poly, to do this simply right click and select ‘Convert to Editable Poly’, as pictured below:

Step 2: Greeble the City

Now we have an editable polygon we can click on our Modify list and select Greeble:

As soon as we click Greeble a basic cityscape will appear with small units on the roof and a low rise city block. There are a couple of tweaks we want to make to create a more city like view, firstly set ‘Taper’ to 0 and increase the height to say 35 units. This produces the city block illustrated below:

You now have the basics for building a city, if you clone the block and change the heights in each section you will begin to build a background cityscape in which to insert various more detailed buildings as seen in our first tutorial.
Road layouts can be included and more realism by including simple additions such as street lights and signage. Greeble can be an extremely useful tool for quick and easy city models, we hope this tutorial as provided an insight into how to quickly and easily build your own city.

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.


  1. Anonymous - March 21, 2008

    THANK YOU for posting these tutorials.

    I’d appreciate some detailing tips, too. Textures, ‘hero’ buildings with a lot of details, balconies, helicopter pads, etc.

  2. Anonymous - March 22, 2008

    This is great stuff! Yes, please more tutorials (textures, details, entourage, etc). Thanks!

  3. Jason Holtslander - March 30, 2008

    Any such method to randomly texture the buildings with a folder full of tons of different building textures?

  4. Anonymous - April 11, 2008

    To Jason:

    Yes there is, Search for Blurscript, they have a script called “Random Materials”. It does what it says

  5. Jason Holtslander - April 21, 2008

    I did the search. Google returned one result and it’s in Arabic or something. I was able to find a link though.
    Which led me to:

    …which is where the script is available for download.


  6. Wilson - August 6, 2008

    I’ve tried using this with my 3ds max 2008 64bit version but it refuses to work, saying something about it not being a proper 32bit application – anything i’m doing wrong?

    I basically copied the two files into the plugin folder for 3ds max.

  7. James - August 6, 2008

    Wilson i think the Greeble Plugin only works with the 32 bit version of Max…


  8. Wilson - August 6, 2008


    Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚

  9. Andrew - August 22, 2008

    I’ve been using greebles to create stencils for spray paintings. You can see the results on my blog about digital creative if you’re interested.

  10. Srotak - August 25, 2008

    thnx this is realy cool
    i have some problem(i am noob with 3d studio max) how i can render single building? and how i can rip it (for roads)
    thnx a lot

  11. warbo - December 21, 2008

    Wilson you can download the 64 bit.. I have 64 bit and it works fine πŸ˜‰

    GL =)

  12. Anonymous - December 22, 2008

    can’t get it to initalize error code 127
    any suggestions ?

  13. Wilson - December 22, 2008

    hehe works like a charm warbo πŸ™‚

    Thanks heaps πŸ™‚

  14. Jeevan - January 7, 2009

    Wow, now I just got to work on the detailing. Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. goanita - February 15, 2009

    Great! thank you very much!!!

  16. jel - March 2, 2009

    excellent tutorial. build a city in under 5 minutes kewl. be nice to have tutorial on applying roads. I’ll go at it on my own but if you make one kewl.

  17. Mark Poutanen - April 24, 2009

    Thank u very much. Is more of this coming in near future?

  18. Anonymous - November 26, 2009

    You are the best. God belss you! πŸ™‚

  19. Anonymous - April 15, 2010

    I am getting an error message saying that it can’t initialize the plugins? What might I be able to do? I appreciate the help.

  20. Anonymous - July 2, 2010

    I like this because it easily lets you create a city. i try this one

  21. Anonymous - July 11, 2010

    how would you texture the buildings?

  22. Anonymous - July 29, 2011

    Thank you For Your Technic.

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