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
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!)
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:
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 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?!)
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.