2 Day challenge : Space station.

Hey folks,

I set myself a challenge to create a high poly space station in 2 days, with a single day set aside to create the 1.8 million poly mesh model, and another day to create the materials, planetary textures, cloud textures, light setup and the rest of it.

I only just scraped through, so here are the results:


Higher resolution image:


well simple to say it’s superb
no other comment from me

Well, for 48 hours worth of work, I will say, great job!

Some areas of improvement:

a) Lighting does not seem to match the BG pic IMO. Also, looks very soft. Lighting in space typically looks brighter and sharper.
b) Looks like you used Photoshop to add the DOF as the near side is also blurred. Not that that is a bad thing, just throws the definition of the near side of the station off.


Wooow! very impressive indeed!!! Only thing I think is not quite right is the depth of field on the backside since the earth is quite sharp and ofcourse a lot more distant it seems to me impossible to get the rear end out of focus… nevertheless great piece of art!

Looks good, but that blur on the front discs looks like a texture not up to the job when compared with the pin sharp framework in betwween them.

Otherwise very nice for 48hrs.


you should have called me, I would have been interested to do such a challenge! :smiley: (been seeking for some scene idea for the past few days while I have some free time…)

Very nice work, I think everything have been said, I’m not too keen of the small out of focus area.

Next time, send me a pm we could have a little challenge :smiley:

ok, guys. I’ve replaced the original image with one that has far less blur…postprocessing isn’t exactly my strongpoint and I was pushed for time to say the least.

Updates in original post…oh, and thanks for the feedback so far.

yep I do like this version better!

btw almost forgot to ask,

the planet texture, more exactly the cloud map. Was that an image you found of earth on the internet, or you actually painted or created an effect to get the volumetric look of the clouds? Always wanted to have such a look but never found good earth map for that :-?


Excellent work M@dcow. Strong and exciting compositionally, and nice color selection. The cropping particular helps communicate the size and weight of the space station. There’s a real cinematic quality to this.


Ooohh…that IS nice… :smiley:

Only thing that’s bugging me is that It feels like the globe behind is inferior to the
spaceship in quality…I don’t quite know WHY I feel that way…maybe it’s just me…

it’s …like they’re two different worlds…on the brink of realism…and cartoony…

This has now become my new Desktop background at work. You know you’ve made it when this happens.


Great improvement M@dcow. This one is much better.


Yes, much better indeed! :smiley:


:o :o :o :o

all using blender ??

where was it render in? internal render or yafray and how long it took ??

it looks great!
can i use it as an aliance pic in ogame?

Ok, sorry for the late reply, but I’ve been helping my family get organised (They are going to spain on holiday tomorrow)

I’ve decided to expand this into a proper animation, I’ve got most of the props already, It just needs a little organisation and a lot of elbow grease . The aim is to create an animation that’s on par with something like Star Trek: Enterprise. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

Well, basically I use Nasa’s blue marble cloud maps as a starting point and then paint in more and more details till it ends up looking nothing like the original. Usually I paint in dramatic things like continent wide hurricanes and other cool stuff :wink:

As for specific techniques, thats a hard one to answer because I’m using various methods to achieve this; For instance, today I’ve been messing around with a concept for making animatable hurricanes. This is what I’ve come up with:


Higher resolution image:

But back to what you asked about, the volumetric effect. It’s pretty complex, and Im giving you all this info from the top of my head, since I don’t have the .blend file to hand.

Basically, The clouds and atmosphere consist of 5 spheres, each one a tiny fraction larger than the last. The first four are the cloudmaps and the fifth is the outer atmosphere layer, using fresnel and colour ramps for the gradient. What happens when you have 4 cloud layers densely packed Like this is the alpha is boosted substantially, and you get a volumetric effect. This is also called stacking and has been used for many years, in virtually all 3d proggies out there. The more spheres you have and the denser the packing, the better the effect, at the cost of larger render times.

I also looked at a lot of pics of earth and found that clouds are very vibrant in direct sunlight. I figured the best way to achieve this was to use a slight specularity, of about 0.3, and set the hardness to 4. If you use these settings you won’t be able to tell that the material has any specularity at all.

Also, I gave the clouds a slight bump, with settings of around 0.10. Without it, much detail will be lost when you hit the dreaded “OSA” button.

The lighting consists of 2 sun lamps, one with a standard setting of 1 and the option “Ray Shadow” turned OFF, (this will provide direct sunlight) the other has a setting of 0.4, with “Ray Shadow” and “Only shadow” turned on. This provides the shadow on the planet underneath. It needs to be at a low setting otherwise it will overpower the image.

That’s the basics, but I might have time to pump out a couple of example files…I’m not sure.

grr…I have to go and help again with packing, but I’ll be back later to answer all the other questions

Have fun!

bloody friggin epic man :smiley: