Illusion of huge size

Hi guys. I am making a spaceship and I want to have it wooshing past a planet. Is there any advice to give the impression that the planet is really big? Is this a compositing thing where the planet layer is seperate to the spaceship model to give an impression that the camera is really far away from the planet and closer to the spaceship?

Well, I guess it depends on how close you want the spaceship to be to the planet when it whooshes by. A wider angle lens would really help when you are composing your shot as it will help sell the scale of your planet. Don’t be afraid to make your spaceship really small. I’m sure you have spent time modeling it to make it look great, but showing how small it is relative to the massive planet means making the planet take up most of the frame (and most likely, extending outside of the frame). You can have a separate shot of the spaceship up close (knowing that the planet at that time will fill the entire background) later. Maybe a tracking shot that shows the ship small and then gets closer over time until it is as close as you want it.

Think about what information you want to convey by your shot choice and your composition. You clearly want to convey the size of the planet as well as the speed of your ship. If that is the case, maybe your camera can track up next to your ship as it is whooshing, but there may be debris or satellites or space dust that flies past the camera in a blur that shows how fast the ship is moving.

Take a look at the beginning of this video from Framestore’s Guardians of the Galaxy Knowhere VFX breakdown:

The shot starts wide with the Milano tiny against the skull of the celestial. It then tracks in and we get a better view of the ship against the inside of the skull.

Watch this scene from Star Trek Into Darkness where Spock is running:


Is Zachary Quinto running exceptionally fast? No. But the shot gives the feeling that he’s really booking it because you can see the pedestrians walking opposite him are just blurs as he (and the camera) speed past.

Tell us more about your project and maybe we can give you some more ideas!

Thanks so much for these tips. I was just watching a video about adjusting camera lens. I will definitely try a wide camera lens.

Really good point about making the spaceship tiny in one of the shots where it is near a planet. My basic storyboard probably had it too big.

Would you recommend making the planet shot and the spaceship shot seperate intially? Will that help give the planet a sense of size? i guess a space ship zooming away from camera and getting smaller but never going through or hitting the planet will make it seem like the planet is really far away and massive.

I am making a videoclip for a friends psytrance track so I want to communicate a lot of pace as it is a 135 bpm track.

I have made a spaceship and am playing around with camera shots now. I was watching porco rosso last night to get some ideas of aerial shots.

I am basically chunking out ideas for different scenes. The Spock running clip is very much an effect i am going to try. I was thinking of a shot of weaving through a cloud of asteroids by basically having the spaceship banking to and from the camera and then making a bunch of asteroids that will whizz past.
I figure I keyframe it so the spaceship is barely missing all of them to make it a nail biting scene. After watching porco rosso i really want a flying close to the ground scene as well to show speed.

There are some cool nebula tutorials online that I think I will use.

I like the idea of the spaceship shooting a portal in front of it that it enters and then maybe go for a wormhole animation.

It is quite a long song and I am less than a year into blender so I think setting up shots that can be looped then slightly edited will help me fill time. I plan to use f-curve soundbanking to make the spaceship have lights that are flashing to the kick drum.

My basic framework for the story is that there is a basic character on some larger space station. spaceship powers up and there are some shots of HUD animations. The song is called initialise so i want to have a big intialise button pressed just before the bass first kicks in. Spaceship weaves through some hazards, maybe gets chased by some threatening force. Lands on a planet. Obtains a relic from a temple. Struggles to escape temple. Goes home and relic has some effect. Basic heroes journey template.

Another example of selling scale:

Wren talks about the dragon “breaking/clipping frame” as if the object is so big that the camera simply can’t capture it all…

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Yeah that is a really good point about making things look bigger

The best illusion of size I’ve seen animated is the Series Finale of “Farscape”. The “wormhole weapons” truly seemed immense.