Science Vessel - in the style of Peter Elson

So: my bachelor students have finished the term, taken their exams and I have marked their papers… The project I have been doing some marketing work on has pretty much drawn to a close with the start of the Paris Air Show… Hooray, some free time!

After the Chris Foss style image, I thought I would do images in the style of some other of my favourite artists. That has actually proven more difficult than I expected!

science vessel-thumb
‘Science Vessel’ is an attempt at capturing Peter Elson’s style. If you take a look at the site his sister maintains as a memorial to his work, you can pretty much see which images I have used as input - ‘A Sense of Wonder’, ‘Oceans of Venus’ and ‘Welcome to Mars’ influenced the spacecraft, and ‘Pebble in the Sky’, ‘Galactic Cluster’ and ‘Sunburst’ determined the colours and perspective. Take a look here

What else can I say about the image: well, the back story is a future ESA science mission to examine the nova ejecta nebulae of a dying star.

The ship is one I started about 4 years ago - it’s a companion to the ship that appears in Asteroid Base: Final Approach : I gave them exactly the same cabin/bridge design - particularly the windows. I was imagining a sort of common design criteria for various spaceships.

I used a lot of other people’s greebles on the back of the ship - especially from Jedilaw’s greeble pack. Also, the things on the side of the ship with the bluey-purple glow are by 3D-CG, available at Foundation3D (here, they're supposed to be heat dissipators for the engines)

The 3 main textures used on the ship are all available in my DeviantArt resources - riveted hull plates, generic hull plate 1 and blue worn metal plate. The patterned ‘sensor array’ texture is from Total Textures Scifi pack. The side window textures are mine - one day I will post them - and the main bridge is all modelled. There is even a little figure at the helm. The glowy things at the front came from someone’s Star Trek model - if they’re yours let me know and I’ll credit you.

Modelled in C4D, rendered using C4D’s Physical renderer, post work in Photoshop. Recently I have moved from using hard to Area shadows and throwing in AO. I don’t think it’s as realistic, but it’s definitely more cinematic!

Chris Foss Style Starship

I actually found myself with 5-6 hours time - enough for a quick render… The first time I have been able to create an image since October 2014!

It certainly wasn’t enough time to do any modelling, so I looked in my unfinished projects folder and found an old tutorial I did in 2007 - you can see here at this blog entry.

The ship is based on a tutorial by Adam Benton, creating a Chris Foss-style spaceship with some basic box-modelling and C4D’s hypernurbs.

I created a new background in Photoshop - I wanted colour in the traditional Chris Foss style. The ship textures were mostly mine; the hull texture is from my “riveted hull textures” you can find in my Deviantart resources.

Hypernurbs generally create some issues when texturing, though you can reduce these by clicking on the hybernurbs object and selecting ‘Current State To object’. This creates a new object with the shape of the hypernurbs object, but which behaves like a normal, editable object. I would normally clean up the mesh at this point, but didn’t have time - perhaps for a V2 at some point.

chris foss style ship-thumb

Anyway, some quick texturing, render and away.

Post-render touch-ups were in Photoshop.

The mesh defiantly could have done with a clean-up - but I think the image captures the spirit of Chris Foss! Happy

Latest Work: The Tannhauser Gate

The origins of this image… A month or so ago, I re-watched the original Cowboy Bebop TV series, and I was reminded how much I liked the concept used for hyperspace travel - particularly the design of the hyperspace gates. The design reminds me of an old fashioned monocle… That got me thinking about doing an image that involved a hyperspace gate and the gate as some sort of lens (as in focusing energy).

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and I watched Blade Runner for the zillionth time…Roy Batty’s speech, uttered just before he dies, contains the lines “I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate” - and I knew the gate that I had to show in my image.

Tannhauser Gate - Thumb

As I set out modelling the gate, I still had the concept of a lens in my mind… When I was a young teen, my parents bought me a Russian Zenit E SLR one Christmas. The funny little lens that that camera came with is essentially the model for my gate design. In terms of modelling, it is very, very simple - so simple in fact, that I felt compelled to dress it up a little with the “field generator” thingies sticking out the front!

The worm hole effect in the centre of the hyperspace gate went through a lot of iterations before I got to something that didn’t look too cartoony, but still gave the type of effect I was looking for. The texture for the worm hole is on a funnel-shaped mesh to give a feeling of depth appropriate to a vortex effect producing a tunnel.

Now. To get very arty on you: The composition of the image is very deliberate and a homage to the British scifi illustrator Tony Roberts. If you are a fan of 70’s scifi book covers or the Terran Trade Authority books, then you know Tony’s work. In his images set in space, Tony played visual games with the arrangement of the planets (and sometimes spherical spaceships) - I’m (trying to) do the same here; I set out principle spherical shapes of the main planet, the principle body of the gate, the “mouth” of the gate and the multiple shadows created by it. Then, there are the counterpoint spheres of the two moons and the centre of the wormhole(!!!) Happy

That’s about it.

Rendered in one take in C4D, post production in Photoshop with Nik Filters.

The main planet was (as ever) created using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug in. This is the first outing for my own (16k px) “Star Trek planet” textures - an attempt to create a planet similar to those from ST-TOS and the first few seasons of ST-TNG. I’m not sure I succeeded - but the planet does look OK. The star ship is actually an unfinished ship from another image I’m working on, so you’ll see that again at some point!

As with most of my recent work, I’m still in “realistic” mode - so there is a single point of (distant) light to simulate the system’s star.

In terms of textures, the main planet textures are mine, the moon textures are (I think) from Marlin Studios, as are the principle textures of the hyperspace gate. The gate also uses a few textures by Philip K. The starship textures are mine, not that you can see them! The star field is one the 3 that I recently added to my DevianArt Resources gallery for people to download.