Digital Art Zone

 
   
1 of 19
1
Tips & Tricks For Space Scenes
Posted: 11 December 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27

Just what the title says-


Since most of us never will get a chance to step off this big blue marble, I figured it would be nice to have a thread to share your tips, tricks and ideas on how to get what you think is a great space picture or animation. It doesn’t matter if it’s reality based or science fiction.


For me, I’ll start with an example of how I would light a scene with the sun peaking out from behind the Earth.


Here’s the picture. In my next post I’ll explain what I did.

Image Attachments
Earth_Dawn.jpg
 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27

I set the scene up with the model and three lights. One bulb light, one spot light and one distance light. I set the scene’s ambient light to zero.


The bulb light is just the default settings. I used the bulb for the sunlight. I went to the light’s effects tab and enabled the 3D light sphere and the lens flare. I’ll include screen shots of what I did. The Light Sphere makes the sun’s disk and the lens flare is self explanatory. A bulb usually works better for this than the distant light, as the distant light doesn’t have the Light Sphere under it’s effects. For the lens flare, I dialed the radius down from it’s default. I could have gone for a smaller radius on the light sphere as well.


The spotlight is positioned to provide a rim light or crescent on the earth model, because the bulb light doesn’t light enough of the Earth relative to the camera. This is completely incorrect I know. Consider it artistic license. Be careful though, or it goes from taking minor liberties to taking your viewers out of the picture. I’m actually pushing it a bit myself, but I wanted it to be fairly obvious to illustrate my point.


The distant light is used to provide a low level fill light. I could have gone a bit brighter in this scene, but my model uses a sphere with a glow channel to simulate the atmosphere, and if I had it brighter, it would show the effect up too much. I also have a nice glow channel for the surface to simulate city lights and I wanted that to really stand out.


The position of the lights relative to the model and the camera is scene specific, but generally I like the low level fill light coming from maybe a 45ยบ angle from the camera, aiming back towards the primary light. Again, this is scene specific, and depends on what you’re going for.


The other thing to consider is your color scheme. If I’m doing a scene with a fairly pedestrian star field, I tend to have the primary light a yellow/white color and the fill light a blue/grey color to match what I imagine the star shine would look like.

Image Attachments
Picture_2.pngPicture_3.pngPicture_4.pngPicture_5.pngPicture_1.png
 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  588
Joined  0

Very nice.This is basically what I lucked into doing in my render in the other thread minus the spotlight to give that extra light. I had a light from a premade scene pointed at the planet. I think it’s a distant light. (It looks like a cylinder with a cone on top of it.) Did you use indirect lighting at all? Or the built in ambient light? (I assume that’s what the scenes start with. It also looks like a cylinder with a cone on top.)

 Signature 

Having trouble with clothing/props not showing in Daz 4.5? Take a look at this thread:

Thread in Nuts And Bolts forum

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 10:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Active Member
Avatar
RankRank
Total Posts:  348
Joined  2006-02-03

Very helpful and thanks for sharing

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  2028
Joined  2008-01-28

Thanks Evil, velly intewesting and will certainly come in handy in the future,

 Signature 

http://andrewfinnie.blogspot.com.au/

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  1059
Joined  2007-10-15

Ooo, can I play too ??

Okay, I really suck at space stuff. Partially because I guess it bores the crap out of me. Unless it’s like really surrealistic and gorgeous like some of the nebulas and that kind of stuff. But I’m not much into spaceships, etc.

But I do see a lot of repeating practices that people might want to reconsider.

First, cameras in space operate under the same principles as they do on earth. When the scene is dark, and the subject is relatively close or zoomed, then stuff in the background is usually blurred due to a shallow depth of field. And adding DOF helps to give a sense of distance, which is often missing in space-y renders with spaceships that are thousands or millions of miles away from planets and stuff. Unfortunately it obscures that cool planet you spent so much time on, but I think it adds some realism that sells the image a bit better.

Now of course, bright subjects and wide angle lenses increase the DOF, so you wouldn’t see it as much in that case. 

Second, objects in space still interact with light from other objects. Including planets and other ships, etc. And that’s very important to place the object in the scene, instead of making it seem like the objects were copied and pasted into the image. So if you have a spaceship that is nearing a planet, the reflected light from the planet should interact with the ship. Also the sun/moon/star light should interact with the ship. And so on…

Also, textures are real important on spaceships. Often you’ll see real dull, uninteresting textures with no light interaction whatsoever, and it just looks like a plastic model was stuck in the image. And engine glow should be made interesting, not just a single color that looks like a bad Photoshop splotch. 

Here’s a crappy, standard spaceship image with some depth of field and reflections of light to clearly place the ship in the scene. I think the DOF is way overdone, but I’m not sure. If you check some real life space station photos and stuff you see the DOF when the lighting is low, but I don’t know, it just doesn’t look right. But anyway you get the point. And I made the spaceship a shiny metallic to enhance the reflections and interest.

Again, don’t take the image as a good example because it’s sucky and boring, but hopefully it illustrates the points.

Image Attachments
Spaceship_009.jpg
Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27
Riggswolfe - 11 December 2012 09:46 PM

Very nice.This is basically what I lucked into doing in my render in the other thread minus the spotlight to give that extra light. I had a light from a premade scene pointed at the planet. I think it’s a distant light. (It looks like a cylinder with a cone on top of it.) Did you use indirect lighting at all? Or the built in ambient light? (I assume that’s what the scenes start with. It also looks like a cylinder with a cone on top.)


The default light that Carrara gives you when creating a scene is the distant light. The shape is supposed to resemble and arrow and indicates the direction it is pointing. In the image I posted I didn’t use any GI and I had the scene’s ambient light set to zero.


If anybody has ideas or suggestions that they use in their own space or sci-fi scenes, please share!

 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  1694
Joined  0

Forever ago I was trying to create all of outer space with the Primivol plugin.

My usual style is to nod politely towards realism and then head straight to the FLASH GORDON end of the spectrum… I’ll have a Sun Shader tutorial in a few but here’s some of my Primivol efforts:

Image Attachments
Frygia.pngDoc10.png
 Signature 

320+ TUTORIALS for Carrara at CARRARA CAFE
C3DE - CARRARA 3D EXPO MAGAZINE - the showcase for Carrara Artists

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Active Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  588
Joined  0

Very interesting Holly.

JoeMama: I actually tried to do DOF in my space render I posted in the render thread. However, my objects were fairly close together and I had trouble getting it working right so I eventually gave up on it.

 Signature 

Having trouble with clothing/props not showing in Daz 4.5? Take a look at this thread:

Thread in Nuts And Bolts forum

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27
Riggswolfe - 12 December 2012 12:02 PM

Very interesting Holly.

JoeMama: I actually tried to do DOF in my space render I posted in the render thread. However, my objects were fairly close together and I had trouble getting it working right so I eventually gave up on it.


When I do a space image and I want DOF it can be difficult, because as JoeMama said, there’s incredible distances involved, so I tend to force the perspective. The built in DOF isn’t that great either, so what I use is a depth render pass available under Multi-Pass in the Render room. It creates a greyscale image that can be used in Photoshop (and I assume other sophisticated image editing apps) to create a layer mask. Unfortunately, the depth pass doesn’t respect alpha channels, volumetric clouds, hair, or primitives such as fire, fountains and fog. If you have any of those, you’ll have to edit the depth pass image.


The following picture uses a depth pass for DOF. I’m still working on the shaders and lighting for this one, and I may change the background planet as well.

Image Attachments
Picture_3.pngPicture_2.pngEvent_Horizon_depth_pass.jpgEvent_Horizon.jpg
 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 01:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27
holly wetcircuit - 12 December 2012 11:53 AM

Forever ago I was trying to create all of outer space with the Primivol plugin.

My usual style is to nod politely towards realism and then head straight to the FLASH GORDON end of the spectrum… I’ll have a Sun Shader tutorial in a few but here’s some of my Primivol efforts:


Holly, I love the bottom planet picture. You did a great job recalling all those early Sci-Fi movies!

 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  1694
Joined  0

Here’s my tutorial topic: a “Photoreal” Sun….

I put “photoreal” in quotes because what the sun really *looks* like to the naked eye seems to be debatable, and also what structures we want to show of the sun is definitely subjective. But I’ll post this “final” render while I organize the tutorial…

The pic uses Primivol, but the tutorial is going to focus on the surface shader, so Primivol won’t be needed…

Image Attachments
photoreal_sun.png
 Signature 

320+ TUTORIALS for Carrara at CARRARA CAFE
C3DE - CARRARA 3D EXPO MAGAZINE - the showcase for Carrara Artists

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  239
Joined  2006-01-21

I know what you mean about space scenes.

Boring.

I can’t seem to get any feeling of drama or action into them.

Maybe I should stop trying.

Image Attachments
Too_Hot_to_Stay_lower.jpgInterdicted_lower.jpgClose_Call_lower.jpgIs_It_Just_Me_lower.jpg
 Signature 

http://roguepilot.deviantart.com/
http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/browse.php?username=RoguePilot
http://www.ShareCG.com/pf/full_uploads.php?pf_user_name=RoguePilot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  239
Joined  2006-01-21

Seriously though, when it comes to space scenes I say; keep the rules in mind then just break ‘em.

They can be very beautiful and worthy but ultimately blend into the background..

Forget correct lighting, if you lit accurately for space you wouldn’t see very much.

To touch on Hollys last post, the Sun as seen from the naked eye is as big as the sky and pure white just before it burns through your retina. Not a good picture.

Depth of field is a handy trick to portray separation but don’t get hung up on it, it’s most useful for things very close and very far but since most objects will be in the mid distance (apart from the occasional special shot) you can do without it. (Using a blurred backround image does the job quite well)

This is one subject where artistic licence really pays off.

 Signature 

http://roguepilot.deviantart.com/
http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/browse.php?username=RoguePilot
http://www.ShareCG.com/pf/full_uploads.php?pf_user_name=RoguePilot

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Addict
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5403
Joined  2006-08-27

Holly, that sun looks awesome! I can’t wait for the tutorial!


RoguePilot, love those pictures. The top and the bottom are my favorites! Great sense of action.

 Signature 

I find it somewhat liberating not to be encumbered by accuracy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 December 2012 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Power Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  1059
Joined  2007-10-15
RoguePilot - 12 December 2012 05:04 PM

Forget correct lighting, if you lit accurately for space you wouldn’t see very much.

Well, you’re the astrophysicist, but I’ve seen tons of NASA/space station/etc. photos where you can see a lot, and I don’t even think they bring lighting rigs on the Space Shuttle when they go up   smile

RoguePilot - 12 December 2012 05:04 PM

Depth of field is a handy trick to portray separation but don’t get hung up on it, it’s most useful for things very close and very far but since most objects will be in the mid distance (apart from the occasional special shot) you can do without it. (Using a blurred backround image does the job quite well)

I agree, DOF is one of those things that can get overused. Kinda like lens flares. Sorry, one of my personal “peeves”. However, I think that one of the most common issues with space image renders is lack of interaction with the objects and the rest of the scene. Since there arent’ generally the large number of surrounding objects nearby to interact with, it’s real easy to get a spaceship and a planet and whatever that look totally unrelated. As well as losing the sense of scale and distance, which is extremely common, IMO. And don’t forget, distance isn’t the only deciding factor, magnification is also a factor. So if you’re on a ship and taking a zoom photo of a fighter coming towards you, it’s entirely possible to have quite a bit of lens blur, just like on Earth.

Also, as I think you’re implying, in space there can tend to be less overall light unless you’ve got a direct reflection, so it’s more likely your camera would have a wide open iris, which again is reason for considering lens blur.

And again, I didn’t mean to tweak anyone with my opinions on space shots, though I figured it was inevitable, but personally there’s only so much I can take of Star Wars and Star Trek fighters battling it out in space. But that’s just me, someone who’s been seeing the same stuff in films since the 80’s. Or was it the 70’s. Nice visual eye candy in the beginning, but there’s only so much of the same ol’ visual eye candy I can take without getting, well, bored. But that’s just me, and that’s just an opinion.

You know…opinions…everyone’s got one. 

 

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 19
1