space station

Way Station

Way Station is an attempt to do 70's -ish space station image; now the interesting thing about that statement is that you don't actually see that many space stations in the art of that period. Look through the work of Foss, Hey, Elson, etc, etc and weirdly, space stations are strangely rare (especially given that they are a staple of the genre).

Way Station-thumb

Anyway, I had the image in my head - more Elson than Foss…. So off I went. In fact I was extremely lazy about things. The wheel part of the station I stole from my Tennhauser Gate image, so most of my effort went into the central section.

For some reason, I really struggled with the windows on this mage - I tried dozens of window textures: made from real, totally Photoshop, hybrid, different scales, colours…. You name it. However great they looked when I was making them, they didn't really work for this image. I remain deeply unhappy with the final effect.

I'm also unhappy with the visiting starship; this looks really interesting in any other image - but just looks like a butt plug here.

You have probably formed the impression that I'm unhappy with this image - and I am. It just isn't working for me at all. I have tried different lighting (it started off with lighting taking their colours from my background nebula image), angles, etc. Nothing has really brought the image alive for me.

So… Station textures are mostly Dosch. The windows are obviously mine the docking bay are Philip K. The starship textures are mine.

There were three lights for the scene (one backlighting, the sun and a fill for the shadows), plus an extra light in the docking bay.

Chris Foss Inspired Image

Found some more time for a quickie render… This time, I chose as my inspiration this image from Chris Foss. My intention wasn’t to reproduce the image, but to try and catch the spirit of the image…

In to the Nebula-final

As I’m still pretty busy with other work at the moment I saved time by using a free model as the basis of the floating city (by Avalon3d and available here). I modified this by building cylindrical towers for top and bottom, removing a lot of detail from the edges, adding a comms system and, finally, greebling the crap out of the upper hull plates (using the Greebler plugin).

Foss’s original image has several delta-winged ships of varying design which I melded into a single ship as I wanted a simpler overall image.

The main hull texture for the floating city is from the Dosch Scifi textures collection. All other textures on the floating city, including the windows, are mine. The main hull texture for the delta-winged ship is from the Marlin Studios scifi collection. The decals/markings and windows are, again, mine.

As ever, the image was modelled and rendered in Cinema 4D with Photoshop post-work.

Practicing: Terraforming Venus

This is just a sketch, an excuse really, to create a planet in Photoshop… It came to me recently that I hadn’t created any planets in Photoshop for over 8 months - all had been made in C4D.

I also recently read an article on terraforming, part of which had a bizarre argument that we should terraform Mars and/or Venus because we’re breaking Earth - as if it’s easier to terraform another planet than stop destroying the one we’re on already! Anyway, that got me thinking about Venus and Carl Sagan’s old idea about using modified blue algae to alter the existing carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. I know he later rubbished it himself, but it still sounds cool.

Terraforming Venus
Anyway, so here we are: 100 years into the future and a terraforming station in orbit around a changed Venus… the carbon dioxide atmosphere has been greatly reduced and the oxygen levels increased. Thin clouds already exist and the clear skies reveal continent-wide solidified lava flows and enormous caldera of extinct volcanos.

The texture for Venus was created using an image of pealing paint or plaster as a bump layer and over the top layering an image I made from ESA satellite photos of the Moroccan desert.

The space station includes bits downloaded from the forum discussion on Greebles at Foundation 3d as well as the spheres at the bottom from

I know the windows are in the wrong place for a station creating artificial gravity from centrifugal force, but they looked pants in the right place.

The space station was finished and textured in Cinema 4D and the final image was composited and rendered in Cinema 4D. The finished render was sent back to Photoshop for additional color correction and FX.