Ship FlyBy

Ship fly-by

Here is the animation: FlyBy. It is in .avi format and about 1.4 MB. Sorry for the size, but I’m still trying to get the hang of playing with save options and various encodings. Compared to what I started with…

Anyway, for those of a bandwidth-challenged nature, I’ve also included several still frames.
Frame 120, Frame 393, Frame 550, Frame 600, Frame 720

First of all, ignore the gray cube. It is my stand-in for whatever eventually goes there. Right now I’m working on timing, camera, lighting, and such.

Second, if you view the animation, you’ll notice the fresnal is missing from the planet, yet it is present in the still frames. That was because the fresnal was on a layer I forgot to turn on when I rendered, and at this point I didn’t think it was important enough to go back and rerender just for an atmosphere.

Okay, I am looking for basic feedback-
#1) Suggestions for light placement? Right now there are two lamps: a sun-type sitting near the sun (Lamp #1) and another one out near the camera’s start point (Lamp #2). So far I do not like how Lamp #2 lights the cube on its approach to the sun, but if it is removed, well, you don’t see squat. I do like post-flyby on the way to the planet, but as it approaches the planet (and then goes into orbit), I again feel that the lighting isn’t quite right (although not as bad as sun approach).

#2) Suggestions on the planet? I’ve largely followed the “How to Make a Realistic Planet” tutorial, although I probably have a wee bit of work to do yet. For the texture I found an extrapolation of a terraformed Mars. One of the things I’ve not checked yet, but I have the sneaking suspicion looking at the lower limb in the final frame, is that if I moved the camera to the dark side of the terminator that I’d be able to see the land.

#3) Yes, the stars twinkle most annoyingly as they enter and exit where the camera can “see” them. That is very low on my fix list.

Very interesting animation. What degree of realism are you going for? The only thing that I noticed was that the clouds seem a little too solid. Maybe a little more detailed texture on them would make them better.