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:
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!
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.
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
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:
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