Tannhäuser Gate

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.