Twinke Twinkle Little Stars...?

HI all,

I’m currently working on a film project involving space. I thought I’d use Blender’s Internal star system but whenever I animate camera movement, the stars twinkle and flicker. I’m guessing it’s the fact that the stars have an unlimited distance and the camera does not. This causes different stars to fall in and out of the camera’s view.

My question is this: Is there a way to give the stars a limited distance that falls nicely within the cameras’s ClipEnd parameters? :expressionless:


SoloCreator, here’s something I used several times in the past instead of Blender’s default stars:

First, make sure World stars are off, as in this example we’ll be making our own :wink:

Create a fractally subdivided mesh (several fractal subdivides on a primitive for example), then assign the cube halo materials with small halo size/settings (adjusting upward until you get the desired effect).

It is important to note that it’s not enough to perform several fractal subdivisions in a row: each subdivision should be done using a different fractal subdivide value or else the vertices (which will form the stars in this case) will be too evenly distributed. Since these are only to be dots, there’s no concern about faces overlapping.

Once you have a fairly randomized and sufficiently sized mesh of vertices, place this “star mesh” where you need it and resize/reshape/subdivide until it looks good. You can then stretch the mesh to give it depth as well as have more varied looking stars by adjusting other material settings.

I’ve prepared a blend file for you to examine (and for anyone else who’s interested) to show how this might look: please click here to download the starsexample.blend file (zip file)

I set the camera with a small clip range (15.00) just to demostrate how it’s possible to generate a field of stars in a relatively small range. For animation purposes though the mesh will probably need to be further out and possibly tracked to the camera or animated separately depending on your animation sequence.

If you need larger stars you simply have to increase the Halo size. Right now I have that set to .02.

While this gives you greater control over the stars’ appearance and positioning, it will result in substantially larger blend files due to all the vertices, so that’s something to consider as well :slight_smile:

I hope that helps. Best of luck with your project!


Thanks Robert for the nice idea. I’ve managed to find an alternative but I still might swap it with the method that you described.

You have a lot of good ideas and are a very innovative modeller. Is this something that has emerged from pure experience or are there some great tutorials that you could recommend. I still feel like such a newbie with Blender as I keep forgetting many of the different modelling techniques etc…

I’m learning a lot more about Dupliframes & Dupliverts at the moment as I find these to be among the most poverful modelling techniques in Blender, especially when combined with Surfaces.

I hope to be an experienced modeller such as yourself someday but to do this I need to develop a better attitude towards modelling and animation. By that I mean dedication and patience. You certainly seem to have these qualities and I wanted to ask you how you got them. Often I feel very inspired about a project that I want to finish. However, after a few weeks, I usually give up and move onto something else. So I have all of these unfinished Blender projects hanging around and nothing actually finished. Of course I learn something new from these failures but how do you keep on going.

I would like to have some finished Blender projects behind me that could be used in a portfolio to present my abilities to model, texture and animate. I would then use this portfolio to try and find some contract work.

which leads me onto my next question: Have you ever made money from you Blender art? There are many websites out there where you can bid on a project and when you’ve funished, you get paid. There are also other websites that let you sell your models online for a 50% commission. If you have any experiences with making money with your work, I’d really like to know more.

Anyway, thanks again for your suggestions :slight_smile:

Take care


Thanks Jon :slight_smile: There are still so many things we are all learning, especially with the steady supply of new features, so just keep at it and have fun. This star idea was something I whipped up a while ago when I needed stars to do things that Blender’s stars couldn’t do.

Dedication and patience are essential in the long run, since bigger projects will demand that. That point of giving up you describe is a big problem, not only for cg artists, but people in many fields. Projects are easy to start yet can be more difficult to finish, especially if the results one wants don’t arrive right away :slight_smile: Consider all the posts in Finished Projects that end that way, prematurely if not abandoned.

If people only realized the potential they had, so many of their works could be amazing, many with just a little more effort, but it’s always easier to give up or give into the false feeling of impossibility (I say “false” because if we really cared enough about a creation, we’d be more inclined take as long as necessary to do it right, whether it’s minutes or days).

Which leads to another issue (one of many) of people creating things they really don’t care much about, which is okay too, to a certain degree, but probably detrimental in the long term. I guess a good question to ask at some point is “what do I want to achieve”? Myself, I try to work constantly at things, sometimes to the point of exhaustion or beyond the point I probably should have stopped (e.g. this post! :smiley: LOL), but questions like what was actually achieved always fascinate me, especially when some results achieved in relatively little time may be superior to results achieved over many hours (creation time I mean, not render time).

Caring about your work can be important, I think – not necessarily the subject matter but the actual thing(s) you’re creating, as in the case of a weekend challenge for example, where a topic might not be attractive but the work you produce is still something you want to be good, if not excellent: finding ways to succeed, in other words, even if success does not seem attainable.

Persistence helps, but sometimes it’s also helpful to step back from a work, gain some perspective, and reapproach it with fresh determination, not only to complete the work but to complete it as best as possible, which is always a challenge, especially if something turns out more complicated than we initially envisioned.

But don’t discount all those unfinished projects just yet :wink: I have something like over 2,000 blend files on my hard drive and more than a few of those are “WIPs.” Some I do plan to return to, others I’d like to forget :slight_smile: All of them were somehow a step forward though, part of the learning process, and important in their respective ways, even if some turned out to be examples of how not to do something.

Continuing to move forward – to keep going as you mentioned – is also a big part of the challenge. Many things can motivate and inspire us, but ultimately we have to want to do something well and then do it, even in spite of the potential of failure or negative reactions to our creative works. Our varied experiences point us in different artistic directions and make us unique, and that can surface in one’s art given enough time and lead to new possibilities. Maybe it’s the possibilities that excite me the most.

Those who crave true satisfaction may be disheartened to learn it’s not just down the road or around the corner. Few people want to go the way if the distance is great, while others cannot simply because of current situations and other responsibilities in their lives, in which case maybe some reprioritization needs to occur so there is more room and time to pursue interests and develop talents. Everyone has potential talent I think, but it takes sincere effort to recognize and then develop it. It’s the age old difference of knowing versus walking the path.

The simple notion of there being “work” involved can be discouraging to some people. There’s nothing easy about art, especially cg art, 2d or 3d. Yet with the realization of there being much more work involved than first anticipated also comes an opportunity to persist and experience the rare fulfillment I can only imagine that comes when one realizes she or he has just climbed a mountain and now stands where few have stood, at its peak. Me, I still have a long way to go myself, still I climb, maybe like Sisyphus :wink:

For the serious aspirers among us, we know lasting success and fullfillment may not come so quickly, so along the way we need to find things to keep us going, whether it’s a thought, the promise of a certain goal attained, or each other – the community, for example. For the moment, the only “real advice” I might provide that might be universally applicable is this rubbish: remain positive and open-minded, derive inspiration from everything, never pass up an opportunity to learn or improve (but learn to appreciate if not celebrate imperfections as well), believe in yourself and your endeavors, try new things, live a good honest and humble life, be fearless but not entirely foolish, listening to reason wherever it’s reasonable (e.g. constructive criticism), but don’t be trapped by logic (especially other people’s logic) or forms and appearances (some of the “best” art transcends perceived physical limitations, suprises us, defies expectations of form and color and other conceptual boundaries, e.g. Escher, Dali, Pollock, Picasso, Impressionism). Above all, if you feel your creative goals are indeed worthwhile, let nothing deter you, not even yourself :wink:

Yes, I have benefitted in various ways through my Blender works, professionally and personally, but by far the greatest benefit is having this community and being able to participate in something so revolutionary and creatively liberating like Blender. I don’t think the people who collectively make Blender possible and exciting can be thanked enough, so gratitude and recognition of their ongoing efforts is also part of the Blender experience as I see it, since it’s through the efforts of others we can do all this cool stuff.

As for professional/paid work, it is usually conducted on a per-client basis, so the terms will vary person to person and place to place depending on the nature of the deliverable work and how you structure your service agreement with the client. Static art versus animations require different considerations and pay scales; the same goes for game (low-poly) art. Educating people on the complexity of cg art is something I think that needs to be ongoing so that cg artists can be better compensated and appreciated.

Having a portfolio and website is definitely a good idea, but often cg artists are asked to create things they may not have created before; so there I would say it can be helpful in the long term to demonstrate a certain degree of creative flexibility (style, modeling techniques, types of models/scenes – organic vs. technical, simple vs. complex, etc.).

Well that was long :smiley: I hope some part of that made sense :smiley:

Best advice yet: Keep on blending! :wink:


One thing that helps the stars not flicker is the use of OSA and, even more so, motion blur. It doesn’t have to be much motion blur, it’s just the jitter of the camera that lets it capture all the stars. Of course this will increase your rendering time, so you may just want to go with the method that Robertt suggested.

Thanks for advice Robert. I’ll be posting some of the progress that I’ve made with my project so far in the WIP section of this forum later today. Feel free to give your crits :wink:

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions :smiley: