Tips & Tricks For Space Scenes

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  • MiloMilo Posts: 317
    edited December 1969

    Just starting to read this thread but thanks for starting and all the contributors!

  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    I think I figured out an excuse to have the ring... It spins FASTER than its orbit, to provide an artificial gravity. It has to be a ring because it is held together like a suspension bridge, held in shape like a cowboy lariat.

    Would that work? :)

    I think it would need very low rpms, but not sure how that would work with something that completely encircles a planet as opposed to just being in orbit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gravity

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Rareth said:

    I think I figured out an excuse to have the ring... It spins FASTER than its orbit, to provide an artificial gravity. It has to be a ring because it is held together like a suspension bridge, held in shape like a cowboy lariat.

    Would that work? :)

    I think it would need very low rpms, but not sure how that would work with something that completely encircles a planet as opposed to just being in orbit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gravity


    Yeah, I'll try to find a way to work out the math, but for now I'll assume that it would only need to turn "slightly" faster than normal orbit speed, maybe via simple ion thrusters all along the outside of the ring? Maybe it could just be painted black on one side and silver on the other like a gigantic Crooke's Radiometer...LOL! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crookes_radiometer.

    I'm also re-thinking the beads on a necklace idea, each would be a self sustaining "pod" if disconnected from the others.... Each pod would have core services (sewage, power, air filters) as well as some limited ability to maneuver (a reserve of chemical thrusters?) to help them stay in a controlled orbit for a while. If they DID become disconnected, their momentum would move them into a higher orbit, which would also act to separate them so they don't crash into each other.... Maybe there could be an emergency plan that disconnects the beads but keeps them tethered together. The ring expands and slows, but doesn't entirely disconnect ("nanotube" cables) so extreme damage or disaster can't spread to the other beads.... Hmmm.

  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    Rareth said:

    I think I figured out an excuse to have the ring... It spins FASTER than its orbit, to provide an artificial gravity. It has to be a ring because it is held together like a suspension bridge, held in shape like a cowboy lariat.

    Would that work? :)

    I think it would need very low rpms, but not sure how that would work with something that completely encircles a planet as opposed to just being in orbit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gravity


    Yeah, I'll try to find a way to work out the math, but for now I'll assume that it would only need to turn "slightly" faster than normal orbit speed, maybe via simple ion thrusters all along the outside of the ring? Maybe it could just be painted black on one side and silver on the other like a gigantic Crooke's Radiometer...LOL! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crookes_radiometer.

    I'm also re-thinking the beads on a necklace idea, each would be a self sustaining "pod" if disconnected from the others.... Each pod would have core services (sewage, power, air filters) as well as some limited ability to maneuver (a reserve of chemical thrusters?) to help them stay in a controlled orbit for a while. If they DID become disconnected, their momentum would move them into a higher orbit, which would also act to separate them so they don't crash into each other.... Maybe there could be an emergency plan that disconnects the beads but keeps them tethered together. The ring expands and slows, but doesn't entirely disconnect ("nanotube" cables) so extreme damage or disaster can't spread to the other beads.... Hmmm.

    might I make a suggestion.. you could do something like this, can still rotate it to have gravity and for 1-2 rpm spin it doesn't have to be huge, and you still have the carbon nano tube cable..

    habitat.jpg
    875 x 875 - 310K
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 2012

    Of course, you want a sense of believability, but really for a science fiction or fantasy image it doesn't need to be real, just look real- if that makes sense.


    The Death Star is a good example of a large scale ship. One, it's huge, and two, it must be capable of faster than light speed, (which is also technically impossible, though with quantum physics, theoretically possible- Provided you have a nice stable wormhole with a whole bunch of other caveats thrown in for good measure). Yet people buy it in the movie, because Lucas realized the vision of it well enough to get the audience to buy it.


    For me, I don't really care if the tech is technically accurate as long as it looks plausible. A sense of scale has been mentioned before, and there are other factors as well. The "look" of the technology would be a good example. If you were to visualize future tech in the gilded age, you would probably see lots of brass, steam, big dials and gauges, etc. Future tech now could go two ways: military/industrial/Star Wars style- dirty and well used, or the smooth and glitzy Apple/consumer electronics/Star Trek tech: streamlined, bright, clean, glossy.


    Just my personal opinion.

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    **I was replying while Kevin EvilProducer already responded ^ ... I used the same example of the DeathStar as an example of an unbelievable ginormous structure used to get the point across, lol!

    Rareth said:

    might I make a suggestion.. you could do something like this, can still rotate it to have gravity and for 1-2 rpm spin it doesn't have to be huge, and you still have the carbon nano tube cable..


    That is cool...but that is a certain retro vision of the future circa 1960s... I would rather work out something new that has not really been done much before... There is a backstory to the project, a planet is prone to enormous hurricanes, but becomes an exploitive colonial power. They live very elegantly for themselves with the height of technology, but it's far from a "free" society. Only the extremely wealthy live on the planet in the few stable areas, the majority of the population is moved off world (the better to exploit the colonies, and to police the citizens).... Meanwhile they gaze lovingly back at their own planet, but it is sort of a distant admiration, like an unreachable gem (tracking the enormous storms is sort of the trainspotting of the people)... Actually getting down to the planet is politically difficult.... There's a whole aesthetic based loosely on France in the mid-1700s: very class structured but with high aesthetics, and the ideas of Descartes and his "vortexes", which plays into the mechanics of a centripetal ring (and also the sorting of class privilege)... As a colonial power the "sky harbor" is especially important... It needs to be on a HUGE scale to imply the power and ambition of these people, also the enormous reach of their trading power... They did not build the ring out of material from their own planet, they tore apart other people's planets to do it, so they could preserve an idealized "gentleman farmer" kind of intelligent/agricultural purity down on their planet, despite the fact that it is far from ideal for everyone....

    I'm of the sci-fi idea that it's not just about "gadgets in space" but the evolution of societies and how their beliefs shape their goals as a people.... Like the Egyptians building the pyramids, part of it was to create their ideal on Earth, but another part was to show they can reshape reality.... Or like the DeathStar in Star Wars, once you show the world that you can build an artificial planet that moves around and blows up your homeworld, no one is really going to stand up to fight you.... So for me as a writer I'd rather do something audacious that bends the rules and leaves an impression.... I also want it to look like very "modern aesthetic" engineering, like a Calatrava bridge, functional but surprisingly sexy and elegant.... That's the high-minded goal anyway...

    My next goal is to see how many people I can end up putting on this ring.... That will help me decide how big each "bead" section needs to be...

    Post edited by holly wetcircuit on
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    And, also agreeing with Evilproducer that where I find something that just can't really be plausible (like the need for unobtainium) I will be better able to steer clear of making it a central part of the story... lol

    It needs to make more visual sense than mechanical sense. People are suppose to be impressed by it... Characters in the story, I mean.

    Post edited by holly wetcircuit on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    And, also agreeing with Evilproducer that where I find something that just can't really be plausible (like the need for unobtainium) I will be better able to steer clear of making it a central part of the story... lol

    It needs to make more visual sense than mechanical sense. People are suppose to be impressed by it... Characters in the story, I mean.


    Yeah, floating mountains are cool and realized in such a way that they kind of look plausible, then you name the McGuffin that floats the whole works Unobtainium?!? Cameron, what were you thinking?!?


    I could go on about the Hobbit movie after they leave Rivendell, but I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't watched the film yet. Bad Peter Jackson, bad! Go sit in the corner! >:-(

  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    And, also agreeing with Evilproducer that where I find something that just can't really be plausible (like the need for unobtainium) I will be better able to steer clear of making it a central part of the story... lol

    It needs to make more visual sense than mechanical sense. People are suppose to be impressed by it... Characters in the story, I mean.


    so the planet is where the elite upper class live. then there are orbital habitats (the ring, beads, etc) for lesser classes..

    the poor and downtrodden could then live in old abandoned astroid/lunar mines....

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Rareth said:


    so the planet is where the elite upper class live. then there are orbital habitats (the ring, beads, etc) for lesser classes..

    the poor and downtrodden could then live in old abandoned astroid/lunar mines....

    Yes, exactly. The old-money elite are truly untouchable on the planet (along with very large swaths of agricultural plantations, clean water, fresh air).

    The Merchant class live on the ring, ever admiring their symbolic planet from 350km, a dense "city" of cosmopolitan people in the ring who have easy access to the rest of the planets and a churning trade economy.... (they get fresh food from the planet, are educated, fashionable, trendy, they live for-the-now - think Paris/New York/Tokyo), so naturally feel their society is superior, they obsess on "exotic" cultures (as it is sanitized for them while they dominate it).... Also living relatively free from terrorism or political dissent because the ring is very secure.... They are free to pursue "intellectual" and academic entertainments (music, philosophy, mathematics)... all moshed together because they never really leave their comfort zone....

    Meanwhile there is an unseen underclass that is basically exploited in far less glamorous conditions on barely liveable planets and asteroid mines where most raw materials come from.... My story arc follows a character from this lowest up through the classes, so over time I transition from a "hard" scifi environment, to a sort of technological peak, and beyond to an artificially maintained Ideal....

    Blah blah blah... :red:

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    Okay, here's a candidate for my final image. Still not happy with the clouds as they've been coming out of Carrara. Probably due to my lighting, but even my low-res test renders take forever. With Christmas and guests coming, I may have to shelve this one for awhile.


    I think this version is the closest yet to my original vision. I had to render in layers and composite in Photoshop. I also heavily postworked the image, which I don't have a problem with, but I do like to get it as close as possible out of Carrara.

    ringed-planet-possible-fina.jpg
    2000 x 1500 - 1M
  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,501
    edited December 1969

    Ah, that's much nicer Evil. The clouds look very dynamic and powerful.

    I'd still give some thought to not missing an opportunity to blow us away with some interest in the clouds and rocks. Right now the rocks in the ring just look like dark splotches with no texture or lighting or interest. And the clouds, being real thick, lose the opportunity to have some spectacular highlights and interest. Even if it's just a little.

    But I think the rocks really detract from the image, since they just look disconnected and out of place, with no real interaction in the scene.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 2012

    I think the rock issue is partly to do with my postwork overdoing the contrast, and me overdoing the contrast trying to get the highlights on the clouds. It's been very tricky trying to get the opacity, shadows and silver lining settings to cooperate as I thought they would.


    Here are the elements composited together without any adjustments or added effects.

    ringed-planet-no-post.jpg
    2000 x 1500 - 1M
    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    I think the rock issue is partly to do with my postwork overdoing the contrast, and me overdoing the contrast trying to get the highlights on the clouds. It's been very tricky trying to get the opacity, shadows and silver lining settings to cooperate as I thought they would.


    Here are the elements composited together without any adjustments or added effects.

    The image is looking spetacular, one small item, maybe shift the camera abit so the ring is identifiable as a ring, I know its a ring from the description but it doesn't look like one, maybe a small change in perspective would help it, I dunno.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    I cheated the ring in this one. I tried to do the ring with clouds and a surface replicator. Looked pretty crappy. Instead, I kept the ring of asteroids and placed the planet in the middle of a big cloud, adjusting for height and diameter.

  • head waxhead wax Posts: 2,901
    edited December 2012

    I think the rock issue is partly to do with my postwork overdoing the contrast, and me overdoing the contrast trying to get the highlights on the clouds. It's been very tricky trying to get the opacity, shadows and silver lining settings to cooperate as I thought they would.


    Here are the elements composited together without any adjustments or added effects.

    interesting image Evil.. I think you have done a wonderous job of getting the space effects happening.


    cheers from ere

    Post edited by head wax on
  • brianorcabrianorca Posts: 0
    edited December 2012


    Yeah, I'll try to find a way to work out the math, but for now I'll assume that it would only need to turn "slightly" faster than normal orbit speed, maybe via simple ion thrusters all along the outside of the ring? Maybe it could just be painted black on one side and silver on the other like a gigantic Crooke's Radiometer...LOL! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crookes_radiometer.

    I'm also re-thinking the beads on a necklace idea, each would be a self sustaining "pod" if disconnected from the others.... Each pod would have core services (sewage, power, air filters) as well as some limited ability to maneuver (a reserve of chemical thrusters?) to help them stay in a controlled orbit for a while. If they DID become disconnected, their momentum would move them into a higher orbit, which would also act to separate them so they don't crash into each other.... Maybe there could be an emergency plan that disconnects the beads but keeps them tethered together. The ring expands and slows, but doesn't entirely disconnect ("nanotube" cables) so extreme damage or disaster can't spread to the other beads.... Hmmm.


    At such a low altitude, Earth's gravity is nearly the same as on the ground. Orbital velocity of the ISS is 17247 MPH. (This exactly counteracts the 1G pull from Earth.) In order to get artificial gravity pointing outward, you would have to double that speed. Since that much speed could exceed escape velocity, it might not be such a "safe" thing to disconnect the beads. Also the links would have to hold an enormous amount of force. (I'm not sure of the equations, but it could far exceed the mass of the entire structure!) Possibly a simpler option is to just rotate the structure the long way. I.E each bead would just twist on the "string." You might even have some beads twisting at different speeds, and some stationary for docking. (With the whole structure still moving at normal orbital velocity.) The engineer in me still thinks it should be at least a little higher. The Hubble telescope orbits at 350mi altitude, so you should be able to find some reference photos of that. Moving up that high extends the orbital lifespan (without reboost) to a few decades, at least.

    Post edited by brianorca on
  • brianorcabrianorca Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    Another possible addition to your beads.
    Electrodynamic tether
    Several places along the length of your string, possibly on the docking beads, there would be a vertical tether that reaches a few miles below the bead. It doesn't touch anything, but by running an electric current on it, you can push against the Earth's magnetic field, so you don't need chemical rockets to re-boost.

    Post edited by brianorca on
  • RarethRareth Posts: 1,457
    edited December 1969

    brianorca said:
    Another possible addition to your beads.
    Electrodynamic tether
    Several places along the length of your string, possibly on the docking beads, there would be a vertical tether that reaches a few miles below the bead. It doesn't touch anything, but by running an electric current on it, you can push against the Earth's magnetic field, so you don't need chemical rockets to re-boost.

    I was thinking ION thrusters for re-boosting, this idea has possibilities hmmm

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    This is an actual (composite) photo from the Cassini mission. A shot of Saturn from inside its shadow... I guess the rings are reflective enough to bounce light back onto the planet.... Also notice how some of the rings are more opaque while other rings are very translucent...

    Saturn also bounces light onto the rings....

    http://www.space.com/18957-backlit-saturn-photo-cassini-spacecraft.html

    cassini-backlit-saturn-photo.jpg
    946 x 710 - 38K
    Post edited by holly wetcircuit on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    This is an actual (composite) photo from the Cassini mission. A shot of Saturn from inside its shadow... I guess the rings are reflective enough to bounce light back onto the planet.... Also notice how some of the rings are more opaque while other rings are very translucent...

    Saturn also bounces light onto the rings....

    http://www.space.com/18957-backlit-saturn-photo-cassini-spacecraft.html


    I saw this in an article the other day, but the image i the article was really just a thumbnail, and I didn't have time to look for the larger image. I thought it would be perfect for this thread. Thanks for posting it Holly!

  • brianorcabrianorca Posts: 0
    edited December 2012

    Also, note that the rings are incredibly thin. 80,000km wide, but only 10-1000m thick. For all intents and purposes, they are strictly 2-D. Of course, that might ruin the effect you were looking for, or open up new possibilities. The particles in the ring are at most a few meters across. (Mostly ice with impurities)

    On the other hand, a much younger planet, such as you depict, would be expected to have a much more disorderly ring system.

    Useful closeup of the rings: Ring section closeup

    Post edited by brianorca on
  • brianorcabrianorca Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Rareth said:
    brianorca said:
    Another possible addition to your beads.
    Electrodynamic tether
    Several places along the length of your string, possibly on the docking beads, there would be a vertical tether that reaches a few miles below the bead. It doesn't touch anything, but by running an electric current on it, you can push against the Earth's magnetic field, so you don't need chemical rockets to re-boost.

    I was thinking ION thrusters for re-boosting, this idea has possibilities hmmm


    Ion thrusters are quite efficient, but still need a chemical as the working mass, which is expelled. (Current ion thrusters use xenon gas.)
    The tether would be strictly electric, with no consumable material. (Though there is a small chance of a micrometeorite breaking the tether, but mean time between failure should easily exceed 10-20 years, and it's easily replaced.)

  • de3ande3an Posts: 530
    edited December 2012

    Flash Gordon punches his way through the ring-plane!
    Seems like Flash's solutions often involved punching.

    Five layers composited in Photoshop.
    One layer using Bullet physics to punch spaceship through the foreground ring objects.
    Second layer, background ring objects.
    Third layer, planet object.
    Fourth and fifth layers, star and nebula background images.

    Please click the image to see it full size.

    Punching-Through-2.jpg
    768 x 1024 - 317K
    Post edited by de3an on
  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    de3an said:
    Flash Gordon punches his way through the ring-plane!
    Seems like Flash's solutions often involved punching..

    LOL! :-P

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    brianorca said:
    Also, note that the rings are incredibly thin. 80,000km wide, but only 10-1000m thick. For all intents and purposes, they are strictly 2-D. Of course, that might ruin the effect you were looking for, or open up new possibilities. The particles in the ring are at most a few meters across. (Mostly ice with impurities)

    On the other hand, a much younger planet, such as you depict, would be expected to have a much more disorderly ring system.

    Useful closeup of the rings: Ring section closeup


    Was this about the image I had posted? If so, thanks for the comments. I know I am not physically accurate. That's okay with me, as I'm not going for that, still it's good information to have if I wish to make an accurate ringed planet.


    I'm still thinking of things I'd like to change or add to, but I don't think I'll get to it for a few days as I have family coming up for the holidays.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 7,656
    edited December 1969

    de3an said:
    Flash Gordon punches his way through the ring-plane!
    Seems like Flash's solutions often involved punching.

    Five layers composited in Photoshop.
    One layer using Bullet physics to punch spaceship through the foreground ring objects.
    Second layer, background ring objects.
    Third layer, planet object.
    Fourth and fifth layers, star and nebula background images.

    Please click the image to see it full size.


    That's great!

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,501
    edited December 2012

    de3an said:
    Flash Gordon punches his way through the ring-plane!
    Seems like Flash's solutions often involved punching.

    Five layers composited in Photoshop.
    One layer using Bullet physics to punch spaceship through the foreground ring objects.
    Second layer, background ring objects.
    Third layer, planet object.
    Fourth and fifth layers, star and nebula background images.

    Please click the image to see it full size.

    Perhaps some motion blur on the particles (a lot of it) and a tad on the ship might make things a bit more dynamic. Right now it looks very static.

    Flash is (was) all about OOMPH !! So I'd give it a lot more dynamism.

    Oh, and I just realized that what I thought was a long spaceship actually has a bunch of rocket exhaust behind it that seems at first glance like just an extension of the body. Maybe give it a bright orange glow, or if you want to make it like the old TV shows, maybe some transparent smoke with some depth to it. And of course you should add the thin wires holding the ship up....

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • Design AcrobatDesign Acrobat Posts: 432
    edited December 1969

    Good thing to watch is how the pro's do it. This one is the new Battlestar Galitica - lot of work done in Lightwave3D. Should give the casual user an idea what can be done in 3D software and inspire those with big or small dreams.
    (there are quite a few episodes available for view)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT79x4qM4FE&feature=youtu.be

    CG Society article on 'Blood and Chrome' of BSG:
    http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/battlestar_galactica_blood_chrome

  • holly wetcircuitholly wetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    Still struggling with this planet. Went in a mod direction for a while... It may not be space but I thought it was fun...

    mod.png
    640 x 640 - 475K
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