Finally posting up this blog post after arriving back in Leicester. Over the weekend I visited Chinatown in London not actually expecting all that much (in all honesty it was just to show that I went that extra mile in getting first-hand reference for myself) but it actually turned out far more useful than I had hoped. Most people I spoke to about it said it was literally just a street, but it was around 5 or 6 streets and alleys, all housing a large number of Chinese and occasionally other oriental shops. I got a load of reference for things like general clutter and structure too. I can hopefully Photoshop and use a lot of these textures for my shopfronts and signs I want scattered through the level.
I've also taken the time to place all my necessary first-hand reference into my FMP folder, which is mainly collections of photos I've taken around Leicester, alongside the texture gallery I've built up over the years for myself. I'm not sure how important all this is when it comes to marking and whatnot, but I always like to submit my work with all the reference I obtained myself anyway as it shows I haven't just nabbed the pictures off of the internet (and if I do have to do that for textures I can't personally obtain I always source where I got it from). So above is a snapshot of some of the photos I took around Leicester that I think will come in handy, and below is a snapshot of some of the photos I took in London on Saturday.
Above is another snapshot of textures I've collected over the years, the ones in the photo being the most recent. Again, I'm gonna delete the ones I don't think I'll use (such as the fire hydrant ones) but some I've found always come in handy when you need to grunge something up. Below is a snapshot of my general reference gallery; photos and artists I've gathered the past 6 months that have directly influenced my FMP. Some of these I haven't sourced as they are merely just to get me thinking and such; I won't actually be using them in my project unlike the textures I have. For real life inspiration (considering I've already done blog posts on all the artists and games that inspire me) I mainly looked at Hong Kong and Tokyo's streets, mainly for the stuff above street level - the signs and AC Units, pipes and wires everywhere, but some more obscure stuff got me inspired too, like the Abraj Al Bait towers (which prompted me to have a large clock at the centre of my shopping area).
Finally, just thought I'd post up some random textures and photos I'm gonna be using, so you can see some in higher quality than the thumbnails above.
Some serious lens distortion on this as I didn't want to step into the road, but nothing Photoshop can't fix!
I was quite lucky to go when I did - the area is preparing for Chinese New Year next weekend, but if I went then it would've been way too busy to take some of the shop front photos free of people. I really like the shot below as it encompasses pretty much everything I want in my level - air conditioner units, window boxes, Chinese lanterns, signs, wires, etc.
I'm really glad there was so much stuff like this, as it's just random signs and such that I can plop around the level as decals, and means I won't have to rely on Google's not entirely reliable Translate function to do all my writing for me.