photorealistic spacecraft

for the first time ever i will aim for photorealistic with blender internal. although i have some problems, the hdri map gets bent at the top, whats up with that? also, the ship doeas not cast a shadow, well, it does but no real shadow, just amb occ.

done mostly material work,the legs are done, ill replace the big colossus with a neatly modelled body.

thank you for your time


  1. If you want good shadows, try to raise the light a little bit up on the z axis, rotate it down, and turn on ratrayced shadows.
  2. what r your background settings?
    3.The material looks a little stretched, try tiling it
    Other than that, great work man!

thanks alot man.
although shadows can not be done this way, i have tried that, raytraced shadows are on and have always been. I have tried for hours making the shadows work but anytime i even see a bit of a hard shadow, like from the pictures, all of the amb occ turns into a smudgy black ugly blob, i have researched and found that the onlysha option is a bit buggy. i would think one can improvise his way to a better shadow but that seems very complex so i think i will stick to this for now. the world setting only “real sky” is checked. The hdri panorama map is mapped as Angmap and set to influence horizon 100%. from reading i get that this is the way to go but it seems like i get worse results than most people out there. ill try and figure out whats wrong.also, the hdri map is a panorama from

  1. I’m hoping it wount look stretched on the final model, it wont be so massive, it will consist of smaller parts.

Yes, you have to turn the AMB to 0 on the floor plane if it’s an “Only shadow” setting.

Your model is already IN the shadow. What you had right there looked just about right.

About the background, how are you doing it? Is it just the background option, or are you camera projecting a texture onto the geometry? If the latter, you need to subdivide it a lot. Remember, front projection only works well with quads, but the viewport and renderer convert all geometry to tris before, this introduces a lot of distortion. Subdividing allows for more control over the distortion, and therefore is more accurate, that is, closer to the actual distortion needed by the quads.

well, i tried projecting and i did not work at all, i tried subdividing and i tried stuff but it got worse and worse, so i figured i was going in the wrong direction. i just accepted the fact that the shadow is not physically correct because it looks good anyway. the problem was that it was not casting a shadow on the part of the ground that is not shadowed.

some stuff might pose a problem because the shadow looks good anyway because u cant really see the cast shadow behind the ship. and the whole point of this image is to impress some guy and maybe hell want my cg for his movies.
movies tend to require dynamic models that look good in alot of conditions, this is very improvised. ill try and fix that.


Is it possible for you to put up the Blend file so we could see whats up with it? I’m really curious. If you could, thanks!

yeah, here it is, right-click+save as.
its very big though, the hdri image makes it 160MB but if youd like to take a look that’d be appreciated.

Thanks. Unfortunately, my computer cannot support that big of a download… :frowning:
Your situation is a very strange one. I was building an album cover for my band, and I used a standard background. To get the shadows working, I just added a ground object and textured it. (Here’s the link)
Maybe you should ditch the hdri pic and just try a regular background with a ground. Although, I have a theory, have you tried to check Panoramic in the render settings?

actually, no, i have not, i do not know whre that button is. is it in the HDRI mapping or something?
and if I may say so, thats a sweetass album cover.

Well what you’re going to have to do is rotoscope out the existing shadow when you put the shadow pass back on. DO NOT render this thing out in one pass. At the very least do your spaceship and shadows in separate passes.

ok, seems i will have to learn multipass rendering then, i have not looked at that yet, but i guess its time. Here is one where i sculpted the edges and made it look less game-like and a bit more bangled up.

Thanks for the comment. Ok, the button is here…


Over all i would say good job.
The only thing i can think of that could make it look more realistic is to change the color of the part that the person inside would see through from black to a different color such as in these images.

Those colors/materials are used to better protect the astronaut’s eyes from the dangerous electromagnetic rays from the sun.

i brightened the shadowed areas, baked an amb occ pass for dirt and added a tiny glare effect on the specular highlight. ill attempt to get this into some motiontreacked footage and see if it looks good.

on another note i have discovered that it is awesome fun to render 8196x8196 ambient occlusion maps.