Exoplanet with rings and Juno based textures.

Like many, I have been stunned by the images coming back from the Juno mission to Jupiter. Take a look here if you’d like to see some of the best.

I particularly liked the polar views, not least because these are the first views. And I decided they would make a great basis for exoplanet textures for a gas giant orbiting another star.

And because ring systems always look cool, I added a complex ring system too, and a couple of knobbly little moons. Everything done in Lightwave 3d this time around.

Here are the results of this brief project.

Pseudo-Jupiter exoplanet with rings
Pseudo-Jupiter exoplanet with rings

Continue reading “Exoplanet with rings and Juno based textures.”

The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders

An unusual one for me, as I take a crack at an original science-fiction design.

My objective was to  get something seriously large, primarily for use in Vue. My thinking is that I notice many great concept art pages have fairly abstract ships that are so big the more distant parts are afffected by haze, giving a great sense of scale. And as volumetric effects are a strength of Vue, I figure model in LW with Vue in mind. In practice this meant:

  • Keep the number of different surfaces low
  • Avoid clever effects that I don’t know how to do in Vue, including advanced surfaces
  • Avoid elements that would give a clear idea of scale, such as windows, hatches, stairs
  • Make it a long design so it’s easy to get the most distant parts lost in fog

Continue reading “The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders”

More explorations in Vue – Using Haze and Fog, 3d planets

I’m continuing to spend most of my graphics time in Vue recently, and I think I am starting to feel comfortable with it. I’m still getting occasional frustrations, but I’m feeling a lot more in control.

One lightbulb moment was when I realised I did NOT have to use the included billboard planet options for planets! But could use full 3d objects which then pick up the light from the Sun, and are properly affected by the haze and fog. A good example is the ringed planet in the banner image for this post, at the top. (Note the tiny astronaut at the top of the cliffs!)

And here’s another:

Alien cityscape with ringed planet
Alien cityscape with ringed planet

Continue reading “More explorations in Vue – Using Haze and Fog, 3d planets”

Visions of Space 2

Wells & Mendip Astronomers, in association with BIS Southwest, present ‘VISIONS OF SPACE 2′ – An Exhibition of Astronomical and Space Art by British IAAA artists

As long term followers of this blog will be aware, about a year and a half ago, my work was selected for exibition at the “Visions of Space” show in Wells, here in the UK. An event organised by Chris Starr of the BIS, and the Wells and Mendips astronomers.

You can see my previous post on it here, and the BIS page can be found here.

Well, I’m delighted to say that “Visions of Space 2” is happening soon, and I am once again exhibiting! Highlights include a lecture by David A Hardy, a linkup with Spacefest 8, and a demonstration by Matt Irvine.

And here are some of the images I have submitted. I don’t know which ones will be selected yet!

I rather liked the unusual view of this rendering of a glider in flight over Mars. (Serious design)

Gliding over Mars
PRANDTL Glider – Gliding over Mars

Continue reading “Visions of Space 2”

Tutorial: Importing Blender 3d content into Lightwave or Vue

One of the frustrations of working with CGI is that you sometimes find a brilliant free model, but it’s not for your software. And a specific example that has frustrated me is that there are some great models available in Blender format on the NASA 3d object library site:

NASA 3d library
NASA 3d library

Now, whilst I have heard of Blender, I’ve never tried to use it, and 3d packages can be very difficult to learn. But I decided to give it a go. Maybe I’d be lucky! Continue reading “Tutorial: Importing Blender 3d content into Lightwave or Vue”

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”

I don’t use Daz Studio much these days, but thought people might be interested in one specific image I was very happy with, from a few years ago.

I don’t like the Daz renderer at all, as I find it ridiculously difficult to control the arrangement of things, and position them accurately. So I generally export them as OBJ, and then rework the textures. This last bit is not too painful, once you get used to what stuff typically needs fixing. However, there’s a ton of very reasonably priced content available for Daz Studio, and this draws me in.

I’m particularly impressed with the products of “Stonemason” (Stefan Morell), who consistently produces superb settings, often of a science fiction nature. Urban future streets, and SF interiors in particular. Continue reading ““It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.””

Vue scenes of Mars

I’m still experiementing with Vue, and I’m begining to feel like I am getting somewhere. And somewhere a bit more interesting than just a bunch of CGI sunsets!

Mind you, this one started as a sunset with an interesting terrain. It was when I figured the scene was rather Mars-like, that I got the idea for what else to include beyond the terrain and the sky.

So I dug out my old “Mars Habitat” and “Mars Explorer” from Daz, and loaded them in.Now the habitat had some odd rendering issues in Lightwave, but seems OK in Vue, at least once I had turned off glare.

It’s also become clear that Vue does a MUCH better job of preserving halfway decent surface settings when importing from OBJ format than from an LWO format. (For some reason Lightwave 3d surfaces only seem to respond to ambient light, the diffuse does nothing?!)

Explorer walking at dusk on a Mars like world.
Explorer walking at dusk on a Mars like world.

Continue reading “Vue scenes of Mars”

Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3

After chatting to Matt, co-author of “N1 for the Moon and Mars“, I decided to dig out the meshes I did for that, and come up with some new renders. It was a mad dash to get it all out in time for publication, and I didn’t have time to explore all the options.

N1-3L at the launch tower
N1-3L at the launch tower, against a threatening sky.

I decided I have a bad habit of using good weather for most of my environments, this one is different! Continue reading “Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3”

New reference information on the UR700

Quick introduction. I have recently been working on Chelomei’s UR-700, his Universal Rocket System, based on a design unit that eventually became the Proton. It was intended to replace the N-1 as the vehicle to take the Soviet Union to the moon.

Thanks to a comment left on these forums, I was refered to a website which had photos of something I never knew was built – a large scale model of the UR700, for vibration testing! It was made at 1/10th scale.

Before we get started, here’s a render I did, which shows you the overall configuration. I think this will help you understand the layout.

UR-700 Rocket, ortho views
UR-700 Rocket, ortho views
UR700 test model
UR700 test model

The rubber hoses were used to fill it with water, for when it was suspended, and given the vibration tests. It was also suggested that alcohol would be the correct liquid to use, instead of water. Continue reading “New reference information on the UR700”

The Lightbulb Ship

This was based on an image I found, taken from the cover of the March 1961 episode of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Magazine of F and SF, March 1961
Cover of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1961

A really unusual shape, making the whole thing look like a cross between a lightbulb and a thermos flask. I suspect it’s meant to be nuclear , which makes standing around the engine area somewhat adventurous.

Continue reading “The Lightbulb Ship”