Destination: Char (Starcraft Space Scene)

HD Link
Started this out as a testing environment for the battlecruiser’s materials, however it looks like I’ll be making a scene out of it :smiley:

The plan is fairly simple - four ships approaching a planet from its dark side, just as the sun sets.
About the positioning of the ships - I think I’ll try putting one right above the camera with ray mirror turned on just to see whether it’s worth adding it to the material.
About the background image - current image is just a placeholder(from NASA), there should be a red nebulae there.
About the sun - it’s a simple spotlight halo at the moment. I still don’t know how to make sun flares and stuff like that but I guess now is the time to learn that :slight_smile:
About the planet (Click for lore info, reference picture is the one with the stations) The cloud map is from this site. The rest - simply a modified cracked earth texture from :slight_smile:

The realization so far - basically an outline of what the whole scene should be. The materials on the ships need to be changed, the lava needs to be tweaked, the nebulae still isn’t there, the sun is just a glow-ish white dot… A lot has to be done :slight_smile: Anyways it’s almost 2AM right now so I’m better off getting some sleep…

C&C welcome as always :slight_smile:


First overall impression: Very nice. However I have some ideas 4 U, how 2 improve it: First of all, some more work on Chars textures would be nice. What about some colour variation and glow on the magma? U could also try 2 add some atmosphere (2 the planet); perhaps having a rather yellowish coulour, like if there was lots of sulfuric acid & stuff in it, you might take a look at NASA-pictures of venus 4 puropses of inspiration.
Another issue I’d try to improve would be the exhaust of the battlecruiser’s engines. Looks kind of 2 isotropic, 2 me. Would love some variation here, too. And the exhaust might emit some light, as well. So U should probably add some little lamps back there.
The third thing I’d add, are some position lights on those BCs. Like a dozen per cruiser, I’d say, having different colours & stuff. I assume U have Starcraft/Broodwar lying 'round somewere, so I’d recommend watching the cinematic at the end of Broodwar’s Zerg-campaign. There’s this scene in which Du Galle’s BC flys 'round, heading 4 earth, just B4 Du Galle commits suicide. There’s some position lights visible in that scene, as far as I remember by heart.
But don’t let yourself B fooled by all the negative things I mentioned about your work; I really like it, especially the lighting (which I myself most ceartainly would have failed at completely).
greetings, Kologe

First, thanks for the critics :slight_smile:
About the negative stuff - no problem there, I even asked for it :wink:

About the textures on char - I might as well completely remake them because I’m not quite happy with the geography… I mean more lakes and stuff like that is what I’ll need, check the UED victory report :slight_smile: Plus that atm. it’s too blocky…

About the battlecruiser spotlights - I only saw windows on this video, however I’ll run through all cinematics tomorrow and check for any… Otherwise found quite a few missing windows and stuff like that (the red lights are there, I just need to fix the halo’s properties), but they can’t be seen from that far way mostly… Check the brood war intro (altho I hate DuGalle being a prick there) - the battlecruiser is completely dark save for a few windows (and later the spotlights). The engines there aren’t visible because he uses anti gravity modules for atmospheric navigation as far as I know :slight_smile:

About the engines - I’ll modify them later, possibly animate the glow :slight_smile:

About the atmosphere - it is there in the prev. render, however it’s a little bit too dark to be noticed… Here I made it yellow-ish as you suggested (and indeed in some shots where the sun shines the sky is yellow/green), thanks a lot for that :slight_smile: I’m still not quite happy with the results though… We’ll see :slight_smile:

About the sun - it’s a temporary solution again, the flares are not yet implemented (guess I can’t skip them seeing as the sun is a point of interest in the picture)…

Anyways, played with the scene today (been going out/playing quake/doing nothing too much for a few days I guess) and here’s what I came up with…

HD Link

Camera lens still 15, changed the lighting a bit and made the total number of battlecruisers to 3… I guess the battlecruiser mesh needs some work though on the hammerhead section but it might be just me… Share your opinion on this anyways :slight_smile:


Well, that’s true^^. I kinda still had the “finished projects”-board in mind, not really realizing your thread was in “focused critique”, as I had looked through “finished projects” right B4 posting here.

About the battlecruiser spotlights - I only saw windows on this video, however I’ll run through all cinematics tomorrow and check for any… Otherwise found quite a few missing windows and stuff like that (the red lights are there, I just need to fix the halo’s properties), but they can’t be seen from that far way mostly…
Well, I might have meant what U call “the red lights”, those,- erm - red lights on the outher edges of what I consider being some sort of StarWars-like hangar-bays on the rear end of that hammer-head-section.
In fact, U just made me cheat through Broodwars Zerg-campaign 4 purposes of checking 4 those lights (it’s been a while that I’ve played those campaigns 4 the last time & I’ve been reformating my HDD since the time, so I had 2 hurry through all those missions:cool:) and 2 B honest, I almost started really playing it again when seeing that bunch of Hydras & Zerglings in the first mission again;)… holy crap, I’m just realizing once more, StarCraft2’s gonna kill me, 4 real…:spin:
-Anyways, back 2 ya project, I’d recommend adding a bunch of position lights anyway, no matter what the case in those cinematics. I mean, the quality of those ol’ dirty cinematics from 1998/2000 (not even sure anymore, when Broodwar came out) is real wack. Always cruel 2 see that 800x600-style stuff on 19 inch… at the end of the day, even we could do better than that:yes:. Well, Blizzard can, too; a whole lot better than that, as the trailer 4 Starcraft2 showed impressiveley. And again I drift away from the topic… shame on me.
What U did 2 the atmosphere came out quite nice, if U ask me. Definiteley heading 4 the right direction. Generally I really like it. But I think one could do a whole lot more about that. As the sun shines through it in such a low angle, I could imagine it glowing much more, scattering the light all over the place, if U want so. I’ve done a lil’ paintover 2 roughly show U, what I’d imagine. I also added some position lights, but they look even worse then my atmosphere… I’m really not good in 2D, so sorry 'bout that.
But no matter what, I think such a really heavily glowing athmoshpere could add a whole lot to the mood of your picture, as properly realized position lights could. And with those BCs being pretty much lit from behind (from the viewer’s perspective), heavily noticeable position lights would (at lesat on the dark rear-side of the cruisers) even be realistic. As the heavy light-scattering & glow of/in the atmosphere would be, due to the low angle of incoming sunlight.
Not really sure 'bout the battlecruiser mesh, can’t really judge from the rendering, but it seems all right 2 me (without having consulted any references 4 now).
greetings, Kologe


Thanks again for the comments :slight_smile:

About the battlecruiser mech - HERE is a render w/o any textures… Kind of old but it’s the same geometry, I’ve only changed the materials since then… I know it’s not a perfect representation of blizzard’s one, however I found out a certain reference image some time after I finished the general shape and I really wasn’t feeling like modifying it… You never know though :slight_smile:

About the positional lights - I don’t want to put them on mostly because it’s a warship, not a civilian traffic or something like that :slight_smile: I think Blizzard newer version of the battlecruiser didn’t feature any was well, but I gotta double check this… I still might add some in the end but I really want to keep that terran feeling there (check THIS out - a single green pos. light and some illumination on the hammerhead… I actually had in mind some more windows and then adding where I see fit then testing but we’ll see :slight_smile: ) so I don’t want it to be very bright :slight_smile:

About the atmosphere - You’re completely right there :slight_smile: I guess I’ll increase the specularity of the clouds to achieve that effect (or just modify the glow nodes, they were supposed to do smt like that, just not that bright)), however it seems that I gotta fix the materials of the planet’s surface because atm only the lava is noticeable… I can post the texture if you’re interested :slight_smile:

About SC2 (massive whining incoming) - This article on ESR pretty much sums it up for me (ESP. the powerful attacks thing - I kinda felt the same thing when I tried dawn of war for the first time, being a starcraft/CnC/FPS player mostly - the damage values were way lower than I expected… The art part - I don’t like the design so far but I haven’t played the game just yet so I can’t say… Still stuff like the viking (aside from the fact that it is more of an anime thing, just compare its ground form to the goliath, for example… At least to me it seems that the goliath/wraith are WAY better in terms of looks(feel/everything) than the viking… And it ain’t just the viking but I should REALLY stop whining now :slight_smile:

Now I won’t be updating this for a few more days (got some work to do, hopefully I’ll start again on Friday), so until then it’s all planning :slight_smile:

All right, some changes made…
1st - the battlecruiser’s material is changed a little (hardness increased, diffuse/bumpmap modifications, barely (if not at all) visible on the render, just had to do it).
2nd - changed the planet’s material a little as well (it was actually supposed to be like that a long time ago but what the… :smiley: ).
3rd - split the scene into two layers (1st - planet, 2nd - ships), otherwise it was rendering for like… 5 hours or smt, now ~7 minutes for 1360x768, gonna do an HD render in a few minutes.
Anyways, I guess the background and the sun are the only things that need to be fixed, but I might drop the red nebulae idea… otherwise I guess I’ll have to change the lighting yet again (not a huge problem but anyways)… We’ll see…
C&C Welcome :slight_smile:


pretty, can you do a larger render? 1680x1050? I might use it as a wallpaper.

It’s rendering then :slight_smile:
Will update with a link when it’s finished… along with an 1080p (or was it “i” dunno) :slight_smile:
And… It might be pretty, but it can be even better :wink: (problem is that it seems I’ve not yet discovered the boundaries of my laziness :D:D )

1680x1050 link
HD 1080 link

Whoa that was really cool! The battlecruisers looks awesome and so does everything else xD. Maybe adding some glow and blur to the engine area (the blue thingy) would improve the overall image. I think it’s because it’s pure blue and no distortion which makes it seem somewhat out of place. It should be possible fixing that in the node editor, I believe.

Are you planning on making more starcraft related stuff, like carriers or something? Because that would be awesome :smiley:

May I ask where you found the reference image for the BC?

Thanks for the comment :slight_smile:

About the engines - did something else here - modified the halo’s shape a bit, also put a lamp inside each engine and well… I guess I can call it done now :slight_smile:

About the other starcraft stuff - lost an 250GB HDD last year that had some models on it, including a tank and a wraith… We’ll see though - the tank’s back and better :slight_smile: I’m not a big fan of SC2 though (planning a graphics/gameplay mod already :evilgrin:).

About reference pics for the battlecruiser - here are some (links):
Orthographic render, saw this one too late to change anything, make sure you take it into account
Hammerhead backside, shows some lights and general scale
Neck/hammerhead/part of engineering underside, shows a possible clipping problem with blizz’s version :slight_smile:
Useful for a lot of things, mainly specularity setting, also showing the camera lens that blizz used, tends to be around 20-25, I’m using 15 for this scene
Reveals a LOT of detail, frontal/upper
Sort of like the previous render, reveals detail on the wings a lot, be careful with the scaling though

Guess those are enough, however I used many more, just take screenshots from the cutscenes :slight_smile: My battlecruiser ain’t a perfect copy of blizzard’s one anyways… The small details differ a lot :slight_smile:

Now about the scene - played around with nodes a little - the planet is a little blurred now. Another thing - the lens flare, although at the moment they aren’t what they are supposed to be, might have to add them manually via GIMP if I can’t fix the nodes (they’re in the last layer and I guess the alpha is just too low where the flares are). Also changed the battlecruiser’s specularity to 200 from 400 but that ain’t too obvious :slight_smile:

HD link
1680x1050 link

C&C welcome :slight_smile:


Oh well…
Tried adding the lens flare in gimp… Also added a supernova effect and, well…
Here’s the result.:eek:


Thanks for the links =). I like the last image a lot, I might consider using it as a wallpaper too xD. The only thing is that I feel the lens flare is a bit too strong or too large. I’m not sure though. It’s not really a huge issue, just a little nitpick =p

You’re right about the lens flare - ABSOLUTELY overdone imo, however way better than the internal ones…
Otherwise, really starting to wonder what else to do with it… I’m still thinking whether to actually put a different background or leave it like that. I think I’ll leave the engines the way they are right now…

Came out quite nice so far (even though I’m completeley anti-lensflares, personally*, but do whatever you like), only the magma still needs some work, imho. Could really profit from some glow iimho, especially in the foreground, where it’s rather dark. One could also add like some smoke pourin’ out of volcanos, canyons, geysirs etc.(probably rather not vespene-geysirs, the green colour might come out too cliché-like). It’s not that I’d recommend adding much of all that stuff (about the smoke), but if not overdone, it could simply make things a bit more interesting, down there:yes:.

greetings, Kologe

*those always remind me of those typical NASA CG-images, of which the only purpose is 2 present some satellite or probe or somethin’ to the public, so that they don’t aim at any sort of aesthetical pleasure but are hardly more than a bunch of polys with some procedural textures at most, not even having any bump-, not 2 mention spec-map. On those pictures U’re almost ceartain 2 find lensflares, as if the guy who has made the image wanted 2 say “sorry guys, those enineer-fools gave me only 1 day for this one plus 10 other comparable works, expecting mirracles. So that’s why it looks like crap, but hey, it has a lensflare & there was nothin’ more, I could do 'bout it!”

You’re right about the magma, just did that :slight_smile: Might’ve overdone it a little, but it’s all subject to change :wink:

About the lens flare - did 3 renders here. One only with the supernova effect (basically makes the sun kinda cooler and adds a soft red tint to the image), one with the supernova and the default lens flare effect in GIMP (hard to miss, the big one) and one with the supernovae and a modified gradient flare that I think can be adjusted a little bit more and will basically make a nice little lens flare effect :slight_smile:

About the smoke, volcanoes and that kind of stuff - I guess the clouds are already filling too much of the illuminated part of the planet… The plan was to add something at the spot on the planet to the right of the sun - the one that’s almost cloud free, however from afar I’m not sure how it’s gonna look… I might experiment a little with the dark side of the force… Planet, I mean :smiley: , guess I’ll have results tomorrow :slight_smile:

Anyways, here are the renders (one of them is gimp-free)…

I’ll post the hi-rez versions a little bit later :slight_smile:

C&C welcome :slight_smile:


I think I like the version with the red sun best (having a supernova, but no lensflare):yes:.
Btw. one more sidenote ‘bout SC2: I have read the article U linked, but at the end of the day, I don’t agree. Not that I could judge myself, I definiteley ain’t one of those guys having tested any build of the game on blizzcon or anywhere, but I simply can’t hear it anymore. All that “SC2’s gonna B so unchallenging! MBS, OMFG! Automining, all those noobs’ll play like gods, all of a sudden! etc., etc.”-whining. I still clearly remember how in all those years since Broodwar, there were like once a month the obligatory “Blizz develops SC2 now!”-rumours in the comunity. And then there were always those guys creepin’ out of their basements, shoutin’ out with confidence:“Blizz ain’t ever gonna develop SC2, they know they won’t reach the lvl of Broodwar, anyway! So they won’t never, ever even try until judgement day!” Those guys were so sure to be right. Look what has happened 2 their predictions. So I assume, it’s the same fellas who now desperateley try to say like “Oh, it’s gonna B crap, anyway!”. Just because they really need something to complain 'bout on the internet and they desperateley try 2 B right, this time. Not that I’d want 2 put ‘em all into a mix; there are also some, who are simply sincerely concearned & have caused Blizz 2 do positive changes, like droppin’ that weired gas-mechanic. But most of those guys imho just wanna complain.
Btw., where have all those “it (SC2) will split up (& thus destroy) the comunity”-guys went? Longtime no word from 'em… have 'ey stopped whining? -Hardly imaginable…
Anyway, as I have always belived, Blizz would develop SC2 one day, I keep it with positive opinions like in this interview
rather than the article U mentioned.
greetings, Kologe


Try puting some particle effects or something for the cruiser trails, they need some love. :yes: Also what about making a much bigger sun, complete with prominences and solar flares. I mean Char is an intensely hot world, with an over active core. Maybe the planet is being pulled by intense tidal forces, so maybe a hint of a large moon that would tug on the planet. Check out Images of Io around Jupiter and Venus surface shots. Just a thought. Definitly great work so far! :cool:

It’s not about the automining/MBS/whining all day long just for the heck of it/whatever - that has been discussed a lot already, plus we’ve got a beta incoming (hope I get in but so does everybody :smiley: ) and I guess they’re gonna fine tune it then… Anyways I’m still retaining my position about the art style(they’d better change the wraith’s gfx for example :slight_smile: )/damage strength, but I still haven’t tried the new things in action, and, again - beta incoming :slight_smile:

About the guys whining about the community split - that’s pretty much inevitable, the thing that matters is the extend of the split really.

About the supernova version - lots of ppl share your opinion (incl. me ^_^)


Try puting some particle effects or something for the cruiser trails, they need some love. :yes: Also what about making a much bigger sun, complete with prominences and solar flares. I mean Char is an intensely hot world, with an over active core. Maybe the planet is being pulled by intense tidal forces, so maybe a hint of a large moon that would tug on the planet. Check out Images of Io around Jupiter and Venus surface shots. Just a thought. Definitly great work so far! :cool:
About the cruiser trails - you’re right, I’ll see what I can do :slight_smile:
About the bigger sun - haven’t seen anything spectacular in blizz’s version really (the moon was present only on a cinematic sequence I believe and it was too far away from the planet really), except for a few nebulae and lens flare (which were WAY less overdone than those in GIMP, heck)… I’ll experiment a little but we’ll see what’ll happen in the end :slight_smile:

All right, ran into some problems when trying to mess with the nodework/some other things plus I’m getting bored with it so I guess I’ll call this a release candidate version…
The changes are few - changed a few shaders (BC specular to Wardiso, clouds specular to Phong), added a simple particles system for the engine trails and… nodework(glow, needs some changes but it’s getting really frustrating)… Will try to get the glow sized with z-depth, however I’m getting crashes as it is now so I guess that’ll be at a later period if I ever implement it… :frowning:
Also tried to make the sun into the internal again but… crashes… Guess I seriously messed something up :smiley:
Heck, even getting crashes with the current composition…

HD Link

C&C welcome


Yet another revision… Not finished yet (still needs a lot of tuning IMO). Things to fix - a ton… The sunrise effect is just a test, it’ll most likely be featuring a lens flare effect of sorts (will try to do a “normal” one tomorrow). Also the engine effects/lava/whatnot… Still it’s 4am now :slight_smile:
C&C welcome :slight_smile:
HD link