Land Ho?

Planets are afoot.

SSI_104What’s That Big Round Thing?

(Oh, and textures… textures are also afoot)


OK!  In addition to getting some textures on the lower pylon’s surface, I decided Starstation India finally needed to have it’s anchor planet within plain view.  Since my personal render-fiction calls Starbase 37 the home and surface based counterpart to the giant orbital facility, I figured I wanted to at least start some conceptualization of how that world might appear. I’ve long enjoyed gazing on the soft purplish pink hues of the filler lights in my renders, though some have told me it was a bit much or exceptionally unreal. Still, rather than simply tone them down, I liked the color schemes enough to proactively imagine what elements in the station’s vicinity could actually produce such effects. Could it be a nearby stellar nursery giving the appearance of bright purple stars peaking through their dusty swabs, or some bright wispy nebulae trapped between the classifications of reflection and emission? Could it be a curiously large gas giant with a class M world playing the role of a moon ready for colonization?


SSI_090g1Planets are fun, but not quite my thing yet.

I definitely wanted a nearby planet to house the Starbase 37 surface facility, but I really didn’t want the station in such a closely tight orbit as is so often depicted of the giant mushroom Spacedock from TSFS and beyond.  I also wanted to ensure that the planet looked alien enough without looking too necessarily barren and devoid of life giving possibilities.  This is just the first map I chose to attach to a giant sphere that I’d previously used for Earth like planet surfaces (Earth in fact). I’m sure I downloaded it from the web somewhere, but not entirely certain where exactly it originated from. I started with the simplest planet model I had on hand: A UV mapped sphere representing the planet’s basic surface, with a larger secondary sphere surrounding it, meant to represent certain aspects of an atmosphere rising considerably higher up. The atmosphere’s surface settings are meant to be much more subtle and transparent, such as the glow effects along the planet’s outer limb or horizon. There is no separate cloud layer however, and this particular planet map doesn’t appear to provide any appearance of clouds. It was made primarily for simple distance shots, which is why I tried it here first. I have a few other models and maps as well, so I’ll probably try variations of those in test mode too.


SSI_091g1Obviously there is something else out there, giving off a faint purple glow…

I’m liking the subtle textures on the pylons.  They don’t scream at you and they seem to fit well with the overall shape.  It’s one of several maps I used when I built my version of the Utopia Planetia station a few years ago.  Some of the maps never made it onto the model’s structure, but I kept everything I worked on, so here is one lackluster map that managed to come in handy down the road.

The windows are separate and currently a cheat, as I decided not to model them into the structure.  I simply stenciled out some window shapes (based on the modeled windows on the arch) onto a copy of the pylon’s facing.  I was able to delete the large facing and shade all the individual window shapes to match the glowing windows from above and set them just the tiniest distance from the actual pylon.  They are in their own layer, which allows independent shadow settings and such, so they won’t appear to stand out against the surface or anything.  It’s typically the same method I use for a ship’s naming decals.


SSI_103bJust updates with the pylon textures in place…

I just realized the underside of this Corsica‘s saucer has yet to be Aztec textured.  I also discovered another few model layers that should never have been visible, which I didn’t realize were showing up as render flaws.  I’ll be able to do some new top shots soon with that problem fixed.


SSI_094c3More updates for the sake…

I was also able to scramble up a better font for the nacelles’ tail registry numbers.  Although I have several very useful “Starfleet” and “Federation” style fonts, I had been using one that was far more authentic called Microgramma D Bold (which I’d actually paid for some years ago).  I thought I had brought it over from my previous computer, but couldn’t find it until late last week.  As soon as it was installed I reedited those specific registry decals.


~ by starstation on March 25, 2015.

2 Responses to “Land Ho?”

  1. Looking good. I like the texture on the arm, nice and subtle. Is the planet a 3D render in the scene or something you stuck in the background? Also, depending on its size, the station is actually very far away from the planet. But, if you’re cool with that, then that’s fine. I’m just saying this becuase, usually artificial stuff orbits closer than that.

  2. Thanks!

    Yeah, the planet is actually in the shot with the station, though certainly not to scale, and I’ll admit it looks a little Photoshopped in there.

    I’m happy with the station being a bit further from the planet than most examples we’ve seen in the past. Might have something to do with the fact that I have yet to decide if there is yet another planet, maybe even bigger gas giant, still out of our focal point of view. Most artificial stuff orbits at an altitude that tends to serve its overall function best, and I figured some decently high orbit or maybe even a geosynchronous/geostationary orbit might best serve a busy space yard with multiple facilities. Some sort of Lagrange type orbit might even be of use if this smaller Class M world is part of a larger gas giant system. Either way, I’m pretty happy with the distance thus far, but I’ll admit I would really like to a least try something a little closer with the nice huge bow of alien planet taking up a significant portion of the background. 😉

    Some wispy but relatively contained nebula (within this celestial frame of reference anyway) might be part of the setting someday. I figured it could be more prominently apparent when the planetary bodies this station is anchored to are on one particular side of the primary star. Just imagine how alien-a-neon glow one could get when everything is in perfect alignment! 😀

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