Modelling CGI rockets, part 2, worked example

So, in part 1 I showed you how to locate and work with references.

Here in part 2, I’m going to work an example, the Mercury Atlas. I’ve done it in one long part again so it’s easy to print. (Handy hint! You may be able to print to PDF to get a portable version…)

I’m not going to give blow by blow instructions to build the model yourself, but you should see enough examples of techniques used to address common elements in modelling rockets.

Now I have Rockets of the World, so I can use the dimensioned plans from that – small version follows, (deliberately too small to use, as its copyrighted).

Mercury Atlas
Mercury Atlas

But you can do a good job without. Using methods described in part 1, I was able to locate some perspective free views, at good resolution. Click for a larger image: Continue reading “Modelling CGI rockets, part 2, worked example”

Tutorial – Making a CGI Ringed Planet

Level – Intermediate:

Introduction:

This is a fairly old tutorial, as you may notice by the version of Lightwave used! However, the principles are exactly the same in newer versions, and indeed you should be able to apply the ideas presented with pretty much any CGI software.

Original introduction

I have seen many rather poor attempts to make convincing ringed planets, and thought it might be a good idea to tell you how I do it. I rate it as intermediate in level, as I am not going to explain mouse click and numeric values. You should be familiar with making spheres and disks, and applying image based texture maps. I have done this tutorial as one long page, so it is easier for you to print. It should work with any version of Lightwave from 5.6 onward, and the ideas should also be easy to adapt to any other modern 3D graphics package.

The planet has 2 main components, the globe of the planet itself, and the ring system. Continue reading “Tutorial – Making a CGI Ringed Planet”

Cheap and free ways to get started in CGI Astronomical Art

There’s no doubt that it is possible to spend vast amounts on graphics software – many of the industry standard packages run to thousands of pounds, and even image editors like the full Photoshop are very expensive, (and come with monthly fees too).

But provided you already have a computer, it is possible to get going for little or even nothing. This blog post will explore some of your options.

Be aware though, that this stuff is NOT easy, and whatever package you go for, it will take considerable time and effort to master.

Blender 3d.

Blender Website Screenshot
Blender Website Screenshot

This is a seriously powerful 3d package, with some highly advanced features such as fluid simulation, and hair systems. It is completely free, and open source.

You can find out more, and download it here:

BLENDER

Continue reading “Cheap and free ways to get started in CGI Astronomical Art”

Orbiting the planet Saturn, in ultra high definition

This one was really quick to conceptualise, and took months to complete.

Mainly because I kept trying to cut corners with render settings that were not high enough, or assuming that I could fake a join between runs with different render settings, and it would not show…

Saturn, still image from the video...

Saturn, still image from the video…

Continue reading “Orbiting the planet Saturn, in ultra high definition”

How to do edge renders in Lightwave 3d, a brief tutorial

This is a short blog post, which will describe how I go about edge renders in Lightwave 3d. It’s really easy and I find it a great technique for renders that are not photorealistic.

I am using Lightwave version 11.6, I’m not sure how this works in other versions. But it’s probably almost identical.

What do I mean by edge renders?

This is an effect that runs a line along various edges and boundaries. It can be used to emphasise fine detail, or to give a diagram effect. It works with transparency, and animates nicely.

Here’s an example.

Hale Telescope Edge Render
Hale Telescope Edge Render

Note how features of the telescope are highlighted with fine white lines.

Ready to start? Continue reading “How to do edge renders in Lightwave 3d, a brief tutorial”

The Frank Tinsley “Lunar Unicycle”

I recently came across the Frank Tinsley illustration of what he called a “Lunar Unicycle”, which might be better described as a monowheel.

Lunar Unicycle Illustration
Lunar Unicycle Illustration

Despite the lack of many illustrations, the design seems clear, and I decided to do a 3d version of it in Lightwave. Though I did later find a couple more pictures… Continue reading “The Frank Tinsley “Lunar Unicycle””

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”