The Mega Space Art Thread

hi everyone!

i hope you all had a fantastic 2011 holiday season! in the spirit of starting fresh during the new year, i’ve decided to start a single thread that contains all of my artwork relating to space. please feel free to critique any of the pieces, as this is the Focused Critique section after all. some are better than others, which i suppose is a consequence of practice. :smiley:

any new artwork i develop relating to space will get posted here as well. also, it might be worth noting that i typically consider most of my art to be a permanent ‘work in progress.’ that is to say, i’ll constantly be tweaking these images.

i hope you enjoy critiquing them as much as i’ve enjoyed creating them!

Grey Alien

Toon Alien


Orion Interstellar Spacecraft

Alien Moon


Outer Reaches

Outer Reaches (Shot 2)

Hey Swirly!

I particularly like the planet shots. My only suggestion is to add a fresnel sphere. Notice on real life planets that as the surface of the planet curves toward the horizon, you see less and less detail due to having to look through more and more atmosphere. Take Saturn for instance!

The way to do this is to add a sphere on top of your planet and set the material to fresnel. You can get a pretty convincing planet that way, and it adds a LOT of interest to the shot. =D


Dan the Man! thanks for the crit dude! actually there already is a fresnel sphere on the planet. you can see it working in the first shot that’s focusing on the rings if you look at the planet. i can certainly turn it up the fresnel value though!

here’s another render :slight_smile:

running into a couple of problems. first problem is the pinching at the poles of the UV sphere. look at the top of the planet and you can see what I mean. does anyone know how to avoid / correct this issue? the only thing i can think of is to use an icosphere, but good goggly moggly icospheres are practically impossible to UV map properly…

also, i’m running into a problem with SSS…since the real world scale of these objects is in the thousands of kilometers, and the formula for developing SSS scale is blender units / real world size in milimeters, the SSS scale ends up being 0, which results in an object that is completely black when you render it. any ideas on how to avoid this?

also, i want to add some camera defects…dust motes, scratches, maybe a little ice buildup. does anyone know a way to do this so that, when a strong light source (Sun-like star) enters the camera view these defects become visible, but when the light source is outside the camera view they are not?

here’s an example:

watch the very end of this video when the Sun comes over the horizon to see the camera defects:

A good place to start is Andrew Price’s The Wow Factor. It’s a pricey book, US$47. But it gives you nice suggestions on how to use the Blender compositor for nifty effects. =D


here’s a few more. trying to redo the scene from ground up using smaller spheres, and icospheres instead of UV spheres. i think i got the mapping down better. also going for a more anamorphic flare on the main stars, and the background stars are all individual halos:

this last one is an older render with a few anti-aliasing issues, but i think i fixed that problem.

also i’m trying to render out an animation, but having weird problems. the frames look like this during render. some of the renders come out fine, some have white flecks in them, some are completely missing the planet, some have weird artifacts on the rings.

anyone have any ideas? i’m using SSS on the ring and planet base sphere (it’s made of three spheres) and the problem seems to happen when the camera is farther away from the meshes.

I get that problem often. It’s caused by the z distances being too small in relation to how far away the camera is from the object. Basically, the renderer is smashing all the faces together and it ends up making the surface look messed up. I don’t know how else to put it, so hopefully that makes some sense. =D

The way to fix it usually is just turn the camera clipping up some and it should go away.

interesting. the fix turned out to be the clipping alright, but i needed to turn up the start distance clipping and not the end distance. cool!

anyway, here’s a moon i’m working on. all procedurals so far.

Wow, Swirly, you got some really gorgeous renders in here! Always glad to see other animation space fans. :slight_smile:
But you and Dan hit on a problem I come across pretty constantly on my huge space scenes. I think it’s a problem seen more when dealing with really huge objects than not.
Yeah, you have to pay attention to the near clipping. I’ve found that I tend to set the near clip to about a meter, and that fixes it. You can see the problem anytime you have a really huge model, hop in the cam and do a cam fly while looking at the subject object. If the joints and creases on the subject start “flashing” or “twinkling”, then you know you have to up the near clip a little.
It’s a little problem that took me forever to figure out when I first started. I wonder just how much frustration this one has caused beginners in years past… :slight_smile:
Anyway, great thread, keep up the great work!

hey thanks AdamEtheredge! i appreciate the compliment. yes, i try to make my planets and such as large as Blender can handle, so as to get the scale right, but yes, this tends to result in clipping issues. but! now i know how to correct it, so, onward i go!

here’s another. my take on a popular tutorial. :slight_smile:

trying out Cycles now that is supports render layers…and i must say, i can see the fantastic potential for this render engine! i very much like using nodes for everything as well. it seems somehow more intuitive, if less flexible and feature-rich than BI right now. this is the same planet above, but in Cycles. the fresnel effect was a bit tricky but i’ve got her figured out now. the rings are faint, but i know why…just haven’t corrected it yet.

ok, one big question I have is: while Cycles now supports render layers, the Mask Layers panel seems to be missing. How am I supposed to mask off different objects on different layers? the only obvious way I can see is to have duplicates of all the objects with their own materials, and depending on the layer and object needing to be masked, i have to assign a Holdout Shader? surely there’s a better way?

anyone got any ideas on how to mask off different objects in Cycles?

wow…crickets. well if no one knows how to mask different objects in Cycles, then how about some critiques on the images? if they suck, then they suck, but tell me what sucks about them please.

move the object to a different render layer or use an ID mask

all the objects are on different render layers already. could you explain how to use id masks, or point me to a thread / tut? thanks.