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”

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”

The Saturn 1B model, Follow along with the build.

I gather from Twitter that some people find it interesting to follow my approach and progress when building a new model. So here’s a blog post where I will show how a project comes together, with lots of illustrations.

My starting point is to gather references, particularly high resolution photos, and plans with dimensions. Fortunately this one is covered in the excellent “Rockets of the World” by Peter Alway. It’s not highly detailed, but I find if you can get the overall dimensions of major features correct, then it’s not too tricky to fill in the rest from good photographs.

Rockets of the World
Rockets of the World

Continue reading “The Saturn 1B model, Follow along with the build.”

Saturn – And the Sky and Telescope Calendar 2017!

Saturn renders:

Saturn and Ring System
Saturn and Ring System

I am extremely proud that this year, one of my renders made the cover of the Sky and Telescope Solar System Calendar! That’s the one for 2017

http://www.shopatsky.com/sky-and-telescope-solar-system-calendar-2017

Continue reading “Saturn – And the Sky and Telescope Calendar 2017!”

HOPE VASIMR Guest renders and a short video

A couple of new items using the Human Outer planet Exploration vehicle, with VASIMR engines.

Graham Gazzard has done some wonderful renders of the mesh!

You can follow him on twitter here:

https://twitter.com/GrahamTG

HOPE-VASIMR render by Graham Gazzard
HOPE-VASIMR render by Graham Gazzard

Continue reading “HOPE VASIMR Guest renders and a short video”

Pioneer 11

Pioneer 11 was the first probe to reach Jupiter and Saturn. It is not often remembered, I think because of Voyager 1 and 2 followed on relatively quickly, and these probes delivered much superior imagery.

But Pioneer 11 was important, not least because it established if it would be safe to send the voyagers very close to the giant planets – the amount  of radiation and debris near them was not clear before the encounters.

saturn-approach-compositex pioneer-polar-jupiter2x

Continue reading “Pioneer 11”