As it came up in a couple of different circumstances, I thought I’d write a post featuring some of my Lunar renderings. The Moon was one of the first things I successfully rendered in 3d – The simple shape made the modelling easy, and just adding a colour channel texture and a bump map meant I could produce nice views of the Moon from any angle.
The current model.
The current version of my Lunar Model has 46 million polygons, and the craters and mountains are modelled using displacement mapping. In other words, the features are done with proper geometry, so the crater walls cast shadows.The colour texture map is about 1 gigapixel, so really large high resolution views are possible. Continue reading “Lunar Renderings”
The first part covered the background and references.
This part will cover the actual CGI model building.
As is clear from even a casual glance, the main challenge was going to be making sense of all those struts. Doing them indiviually would not be practical so I had to understand the various repeating patterns and symmetrys in them. If you look through the structure at an angle, it can seem very complex:
But from other angles the patterns are a lot clearer
Despite the difficulties of my N-1 models, I consider the most challenging mesh I ever built in terms of level of detail to be the model of the Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank.
One major advantage compared to most of my projects is that I was able to visit the real thing, and get a large number of reference photos. Plus I had some useful help from the staff, who were kind enough to provide accurate overall dimensions of the major elements.
I recently managed to get some small (card sized) prints of Astronomical Art by the great Russian artist Andrei Sokolov. He often worked with Alexi Leonov, and his work is very hard to find in this country.
One thing I often feel I have difficulty is depicting things out in interstellar space, or other scenarios were it is seriously dark. Not least because with a realistic view, it would be too dark to see anything.
Here’s my latest attempt, showing a rogue planet, cast loose from it’s parent star.
Astronomers seem to be growing towards this having happened early in the hostory of our own solar system, with a 5th gas giant being ejected early in it’s history.
Also note I am using the whole sky environments of our night sky, as mentioned a couple of posts ago.