View Full Version : Space Station Mark 2!Pull it apart!

03-18-2003, 03:37 PM
Hi All,

Thanks to all those who provided the constructive criticism on the previous version of the modular space station. I've added a lot of detail, and would appreciate a similar critique of the latest effort!


There's a whole new module, I've completely redone the solar panels, (though I want some more work on the texturing). I've added navigation lights on the end of the big modules.

2 of the renders below are done with radiosity, (but at a day a render, not all!). It's rather hard to get the level of this right - it always looks much darker on my screen than when printed.

03-18-2003, 03:39 PM
This one directly lit, to show the structure as clearly as possible.

03-18-2003, 03:42 PM
This view from underneath, no radiosity.

03-18-2003, 03:47 PM
And the final big view - strongly backlit for maximum drama.

OK, that's it for now!



03-18-2003, 04:09 PM
Something to be proud of. Thanks for posting them. They really are coming on.


03-18-2003, 04:11 PM
Looks nice, but with a few tricks on the texturing it could be less repetitive.
Add some dust (spray some air brush of black or brown and use this image also
to the specularity map, the dust reduces the amount of light scattered). add some thick dirt (do the same process described before but also ad a bum map to the dirt). finaly, add some scratches (dont forget that when you scratch the ship, the metal apears---more specularity). Good luck.

03-18-2003, 04:16 PM
whoa that's cool, it make me want to make a space station or something of that nature :)

03-19-2003, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the comments.

Cadu3d - I'm not convinced about thick dirt in space! Also scratches, except maybe around the docking ports? The damage tends to be small violent 'dings' from tiny meteorites, and I don't think it would show at this scale. Plus I rather like the clean look.

The only image maps are the lettering ones, done in the diffuse channel only - everything else is procedural, making heavy use of IFW2 shaders.

Paul + Antimatter, thanks for the kind words. I want to add a robot arm, and a few more intruments, and I'm thinking about some big doors in a module, a bit like shuttle bay doors.

One trick I realised people may not know - the distortions in things like the face on brightly lit view, close up wide angle, can look rather ugly. (See the way the long antennae tip out from the centre of the image). But you often want close in wide angle views, which are good for showing overall shape.

My answer is to take several smaller views, and use panorama stiching software to glue them together. I use panorama factory, (fuly functional demo for free at www.panoramafactory.com), and with a computer image, it's easy to get perfect joins.

This software also has the advantage that it can produce those VR pan around and zoom movies. (It can also do full circle cylindrical image, if you want to make an image map to use in a scene).

No connection with the company, just a happy user.

Attached to this message is a panorama built from 3 images.


03-19-2003, 02:36 AM
Very cool, nice texuring and lightin'. any animations planned?


03-19-2003, 09:17 AM
Shove an earth behind it so the we can clearly see the silouette of the dark parts.

Looks good.


03-19-2003, 10:25 AM
About the distortion of the camera,

The only reason you would want use a wide angle lens is to simulate this distortion that a real camera makes when taking pictures with a wide lens. But since you can move back as far was you want and increase the resolution in this controlled situation you don't have to worry about this lens settings.

It would be a photographer’s dream if he could take a picture 5 feet from, lets say, a whole building or church, without ending up with any distortion.

What you are doing is in fact is doubling your amount of work for the same result when you use a secondary software to put your picture back together.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to explain. This is just for you own information.

By the way, AMAZING STATION and I also like the brand new look. You could produce an older and more used station after. Also one important trick is that, even though NASA is very careful when putting their modules in space as not to damage them, it removes the emotion from the end results. Take Star Trek movies, they know that space is silent but use warp sounds to dramatise, they also use impossible lighting since space is very dark unless close to a sun or nebula, and finally, scratches and dirt plays tricks on our brain so we start doubting that it was CG and it may be real. Same tricks were used by great oil painters. Exaggeration of detail in other words is viewed as more realistic by the brain.

I hope you enjoy my comments,

Too bad that my head is not receiving much comments though...
http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2070 ;)

03-19-2003, 10:50 AM
Apologies. I wanted to write some comments very fast and ended not being very precise at what I thought about your image. I didn't even remember what I wrote, till now.
I'm from Brazil and its hard to write in english, some times you just give up to write the hole phrase you were thinking. Next time it will be: " do it wright or don't do it at all".
Well I loved the creativity of the details, texturing and lighting. The details do match with the idea of a satellite or space base, differently from some works I've seen (in the same subject) that people just mix primitive objects (boxes, discs, gears...) together and think this bunch of shapes together are a space ship or something. Did you take any reference? The only problem I've noticed is that, if you take some time enjoying the image, you will find it a bit repetitive, a lot of copy/paste. At first I thought a different texture in each repeated "module" would do the difference ( once I saw a professional space ship with that kind of texture I told you and it was really nice, the artist used that trick to take out the repetitiveness of the tile texture) but now I see that I was wrong: your space base doesn't go to war or land on a planet to have dust, scratches or thick dirty (oil, mud...). So, what do you suggest ? I think if just take out some repeated modules and add different details to the ones copied would do the work. I think this would result in a smaller base but each part would be valorized. JUST A SMALL SUGGESTION.

A good work always inspires other works: be sure I will make a space base too, just like antimatter.
One more thing, I have lots of hand drawing/ modeling but I'm new to 3D so I haven't posted anything yet, I'm finishing a organic 3dmodel, when I post it please add some comment. If i get your e-mail we can exchange some images.

03-19-2003, 12:23 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone, to deal with the specifics:

Dave3d: Thanks for the kind words - my end objective is high res prints, (4000x3000), no animations planned, but I might do it for the hell of it! (Nice avatar by the way).

Mike_RB: I was asked to remove the last earth as a distraction from the station! :-) But I'll probably put one back when I get to the final renders.

Dragon Angel: You will make me blush with all the compliments! I know what you mean - Babylon 5 had dirty ships, and they looked fantastic. Even Kubrics lighting in 2001 is often unrealistic, (but looks stunning!). I think it does need roughing up a litle, but I'm not sure how to do it without being blatantly unrealistic. Maybe make the specular subtly patchy?

But I don't know what you mean about the distortion? Perhaps I was not clear - the camera is in the exact same place for both shots. In effect I have produced a cylindrical projection in the merged panorama. Is it possible to do this directly in LW? That would be cool to know!

Cadu3d, please, no offence taken! I understand what you are getting at, but its not a style I want for this image. References were many, a little from the international space station, but mainly from the Soviet MIR station. (Particularly the solar panels, handles, and railings). The Soyuz is about the most detailed thing I have attempted to model accurately. Most of the detail parts on the main station were copied from different soviet space craft. I have an excellent russian language book paked with rarely seen photos, which was very useful. The attidue jets are copied from Apollo.

I did not guess english was not your first language! You must be doing pretty well!

You are also right about the variety - but I made a concious decision to keep them the same, and vary the fittings. The final stage will be to add some differnt attachments, such as a robot arm, and a steerable telescope.

I cannot do organic modelling to save my life! Seems to me I can make a 20% error in part of a soyuz, (let alone a fictional craft), and no one will notice. A 2% error in the size of someone's nose looks awful! Too hard for me...

Thanks again to all,

03-19-2003, 02:45 PM
It really really looks good. I can't think of any technical suggestions to make it look better.

What do you think of having an Astronaut in the image, doing some kind of work, just to give it a sense of scale? Just a thought..

03-21-2003, 12:35 AM
Hiraghm, the astronaut would look great. Unfirtunately I could not make one to save my life! :(

Even to look reasonable at the small size needed for this image. I know of various tutorials for nude or lightly clothed figures, but I've not seen anything on (very) heavily clothed figures.


03-21-2003, 04:11 AM
Seems to me I can make a 20% error in part of a soyuz, (let alone a fictional craft), and no one will notice. A 2% error in the size of someone's nose looks awful! Too hard for me...

Quite the reverse in my experience. Unless you`re trying for a specific portrait it really doesn`t matter what the nose looks like so long as it remains a nose!

Space suited figures are quite simple in their basic geometry; all the complicated, subtle curves have been obscured by the padding and equipment. Hiraghm`s astronaut suggestion is excellent: I`d think hard about it if I were you. To many people, a scene with human figures in it has more meaning/merit/interest than the same without them. The classical landscapes always had those daft shepherds didn`t they?

And who was the first American in space? Alan Shepard!

I rest my case :D

On the subject of dirt and realism, perhaps instead of scuffing up the model unrealistically you might think of battering the render a bit. The most significant difference between your image and the real photograph of the Soyuz was the film grain and low res.


03-22-2003, 08:16 AM
Yes, I completely agree that an astronaut would be brilliant! But not easy for me :(

So I've dug out that copy of Poser I rarely use, (hate those metacreations interfaces, they spoil so many of their products), and have bought myself a figure. I can then export to lightwave, and texture it properly, I hope!

In the meantime I have redone the solar panels surface completely, and added a sort of binocular remote telescope attachement, to add variety to the bits on the big modules. (It was not intended to be seen this close up!)

I still want to add a robot arm, and perhaps a module with shuttle style bay doors for the astronaut to float through as well.

Thanks again for all the helpful comments guys.


03-23-2003, 04:40 AM
If you want an astronaut for scale, you can find one here.


I think it would add a sense of scale, but its not rigged, so you might be better off using just one of the model rather than cloning.....



03-23-2003, 10:07 AM
Argh! That looks to be a rather fine mesh! (I'm upset because I paid for a poser one yesterday that is nowhere near as good, grrr...)

And then spent large chunks of today patching up the rpis and faults in the exported object! Grrrr squared!

Ah well, this is where I had got to up till now, 2 small astronaut figures added.
(it's a bit over exposed but what the heck)

03-23-2003, 11:00 AM
Ahh...I wouldn't call it a fine mesh.....but it may be good for scale etc.

Your space station looks GREAT BTW...Never mind the overexposed but...it still looks real. Maybe a bit of bloom would help?