View Full Version : Entering Earth's Atmosphere...

11-19-2006, 07:57 AM
I'm working on a shot of a ship streaking through the earth's atmosphere.

The camera starts looking at the bottom of a disk-shaped ship, and slowly rises above it until we're looking down at the earth.

During this move, I have to watch the friction build up on the ship... streaks of smoke, fire along the bottom growing until it ungulfs the entire ship, etc.

Any suggestions as to how I could accomplish this? Especially getting that streaked look that radiates from the bottom curvature of the hull?

I was thinking of using a few poly surfaces with transparency and lots of rippling displacment. Maybe morphs for the growing shape? Along with some sprites streaking behind it.

Thanks in advance for any help.

11-19-2006, 09:35 AM
Whenever I'm doing this sort of effect, I use concentric shells of subdivision surfaces, with weightmaps on their radial points to control transparency, luminosity and the like. Taking a noise pattern, using morphs to "pull" the noise around in the shape of the tunnel the ship's punching through the atmo, and using an animation Texture Displacement air to add chaos to the noise seems to work well for me.

Can I suggest, though, that you don't tie yourself down to trying to do the whole thing in a single pass? If you render everything a bit larger than your delivery resolution, with seperate passes for the ship itself, the plasma-tunnel carved by re-entry, an additional "flare" layer (to help simulate bits of crap catching fire against the heat-shield, that sort of thing), your sprites and voxels seperately and then compositing those layers together, it's an awful lot easier (and faster!) to add in your effects. Also, by rendering an oversize frame, you can add in all your camera-shake afterwards, for almost no overhead in rendering time.