Chelomei’s UR-700

Back to the space hardware, and my latest major project.

Project History

This is Chelomei’s UR-700, intended as a universal rocket, (in various configurations), and a competitor to the N-1.

This was a real monster, and basically consisted of a cluster of no less than nine Proton rockets. This was done so they could be comprehensively tested at the factory near Moscow, and shipped on trains to Baikonur for assembly. The Proton started as the UR-500, an element of this design. The engines were built and tested, but there was no appetite to start again, cancelling the N-1.

Continue reading “Chelomei’s UR-700”

More Amberlight 2 experiments

I’m getting a much stronger sense of control now wiuth Amberlight. And thanks to some prompt support, now know how to zoom the elements in and out, as opposed to the images.

I must admit, I ‘m still struggling to get my head around the animation system though, and have yet to produce one successfully

Amberlight 2 image
Energy beast

Amberlight is very good at filaments of energy style effects. Continue reading “More Amberlight 2 experiments”

Amberlight 2 experiments

I just bought myself Amberlight 2, a particle based image generator, which makes fractal like images.

I’ve only had it a few hours, but it is very easy to use, and I am already producing cool images, and feeling in control. UHTV resolution renders in about a minute, nice and fast.

It’s $60, and if you want to find out more, here’s a link to the software home. http://www.escapemotions.com/products/amberlight/

Here are some of my very early efforts!

As usual, click on a small picture for a larger image.

Amberlight 2 renderingThis one, unusually has some blocked out type areas.

 

Amberlight 2 renderingThis is one of my favourites so far, very spacy!

Continue reading “Amberlight 2 experiments”

Making a dwarf planet – Tutorial

I wanted to make a dwarf planet, using elevation maps from the Moon, (and maybe Mars?) for realistic craters. I thought it may be helpful to save out the steps, so that others can follow along. Tutorial time!

You will need:

  • The 3D program of your choice, it should support displacement maps.
  • A high res source elevation map, these are available online.
  • An image editor that can edit 16 bit grey scale images.

Getting started

I started with a slice of elevation map from the rear of the moon, (less recognisable), in the proportions of 2:1

This will have seams at the left and right edges. To fix this we need to first use an offset filter, with wrap, to move the whole thing 50% to the right. Continue reading “Making a dwarf planet – Tutorial”

Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion

Next up, another classic design from the fertile mind of Phil Bono, the Hyperion.

This is a large single stage to orbit (SSTO) design, which can launch via a rocket sled, (should there be a convenient nearby 1 mile high mountain, anyway).

Continue reading “Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion”

Affinity Photo – first impressions review

I have been growing more and more frustrated with my current image editor, Photoshop Elements. Not least because of it’s incessant update demands – and I have yet to notice a single benefit, despite the exclamation marks on every announcement.

I built my first web site with Serif WebPlus, and was interested when I heard they were going to try and take on the full fat Photoshop, and no nasty support rental charges.

Well, it was on offer, and I have a Christmas break coming up, (with a chance to spend time learning it), so the timing seemed good. Incidentally, apart from taking them up on the £10 off deal, open to everyone, no money changed hands for this review.

I’m also aware that other members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists are more than a bit resentul of the rental approach too…

IAAA small banner Continue reading “Affinity Photo – first impressions review”

NASA – PRANDTL Flying Wing for Mars

This concept is a flying wing, or bodyless plane, currently being tested for a possible flight to prove the concept. It is intended to work well in the thin atmosphere of the planet Mars, and would be tested at very high altitude on Earth, where the pressure is similar.

You can find out more about the project here:

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/mars_airplane.html

Here’s the current state of my quickie project, I’m still very unsure on what to do on the bottom of the craft.

Mars flying wing WIP - Front on
Mars flying wing WIP – Front on

Continue reading “NASA – PRANDTL Flying Wing for Mars”

Classic space cruiser, finished renders

Right! The space cruiser is now done. I struggled a bit with the nose until I decided to make it a dome, and then added the spike, and the scallopped textures around it.

These renders are deliberately not done in a very realistic style. To be specific:

  • The environment reflected in the chrome is not in the scene
  • The lighting is very broad, not accurate for a smape scene.
  • Lighting directions may not match properly, I’ve gone for drama over realism.

Continue reading “Classic space cruiser, finished renders”