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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2011
CSE wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:06 pm
As usually, I prefer industrial to military. Therefore I went to design a capital ship to sustain a certain industrial base in remote corners of space, allowing to refill, repair and manufacture stuff.
The first problem is raw materials, so I made an asteroid capture bay (below) as well as a container logistic center. Then there is transformation, so there is some chemical plant. Finally a large presence like this must have auxiliaries, so there are three hangar bay, a utility bay (for small ships like forklifts) below, a longer range explorer (in front) and a military defence squad (in the back). The living quarters have windows (red, on the back) while the command center is blueish in front with large field of view. Finally there are some canons and here and there some details on the hull to give a sense of scale.

I used the advise of thesleeve and changed the focal length even if I do not really understand the difference :oops: .

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Wow, that looks seriously awesome, well done :twisted:

As for the focal length bit, have a look at the gif on this page. It explains it far better than I ever could :twisted:
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2012
CSE: Hey, that thing is awesome! A one-stop shop for all your resupply, construction, and planetary colonization needs. I want one! :D

Focal length: It's an easy, cheap way to push scale into a scene, 3D or real-world, that otherwise lacks it. For example, real-estate photographers (here in the States at least) utilitze the hell out of it. Often they'll use a wide-angle lens coupled with short focal lengths to make a postage stamp apartment look practically palatial. :geek:

HowSerendipitous (and err'body): Don't be afraid of the the wacky lengths...25mm can give you some pretty cool results (especially if you fly your camera in a bit closer*) but yeah, overall, once you get below 22 or so things can start to get a little weird. :ghost:

*Think 1970's pulp sci-fi space novel covers (none, of course, come to mind at the moment).

Working on a carrier-class ship. It's not quite ready for the world. Close though...at least for wip's.
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."
-Col. Lewis B. Puller, USMC
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2013
Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir here, feel free to shout me down any time... :)

CSE (and err'body...again): so, the whole shorter focal length thing is only really applicable as you get the camera closer to the object.

It looks like most people prefer a 3/4 angle on their ships when submitting entries (I totally understand, that angle shows off more of the ships and more of the details you've spent time and effort making). At this angle and from the distance you are rendering from, there is not a lot of difference between short/long focal lengths.
(what I mean by 3/4)
http://jonvilma.com/image-post/652-spaceship-3.jpg.html

Pretty much anything by John Berkey has a ton of focal length play...here's an article with some good ones:
http://obviousmag.org/en/archives/2011/ ... 0iX7Hk99&i

If you want to take full advantage of a 25-35mm focal length you're going to have to get closer to your ship to find some dramatic angles with lots of foreshortening and scale. However, that usually means sacrifice. For example sacrificing a view of the comms array you agonized over in order to get a money-shot of the bridge (or whatever). It's up to you to decide if that's worth it. Also, keep in mind, it also means getting closer to a ship that may, or may not, be fleshed out enough polygon-, or texture-wise to stand up to closer inspection (see: texel space).

Not to scare you off. Many times, you will get a cooler, more evocative angle by getting closer that tells the story and personality of your ship better than a standard 3/4 ever could. You...or we, or Tal, or whoever, will be the judge. Oh, wait, no judges. We may or may not suggest firmly.

Anyway, just some thoughts I had on the subject for you fellow ship architects.
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."
-Col. Lewis B. Puller, USMC
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2015
Thanks for the kind words.

I guess I see the use of the focal length, and I understand the agonising sacrifice :evil: . The good thing? We can make many entries, so not showing some details in one shot can be corrected in another!
Thanks for the helpful explanations, thesleeve (and HS, that wikipedia animated gif is awesome to explain).

One more question: I am working in Vue; is there any way to have a large glow from an engine light without making it a strong light that mess up with the lighting of the rest of the scene?
I am making one of the escort ship leaving, and would love to have a glow, but without lightning up the whole side of the capital ship.
The capital ship also has engines with light sources, which are now fully invisible as they are not in the field of view. Still, would be nice to hint at a glow behind the ship.
I do not own photoshop or similar, so post-processing beyond pasting on a background and changing some levels is not much desired :oops:

Thanks for any hint!
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2016
Excellent ship, CSE! I really love this one! I actually think this might be my favorite of yours so far. The shape is intriguing, and the "interior area" with all the pipes (while it may not quite stand up to in-depth scrutiny as to its function) looks incredible! The paint on the "winglets" is a really nice touch, too. I'm glad you went for this type of ship. :D You definitely have a special proficiency in it.


At TheSleeve: Fascinating stuff! I didn't actually know most of it. :D I'd love to do that, but unfortunately when it comes to finer detail and greebles my skill starts to give out. I need more practice there, I think, before I'm quite able to utilize focal length for dramatic effect. My ships would just end up looking like they were less-detailed. :P I really like the stuff you pointed out, though - very much food for thought.
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2017
Last thought...and then I'll shut up until I have something to show! :lol:
1. HS: that gif in the focal length wiki is sweet! I find it the most educational when you don't look at the house...look at the grid on the ground instead.
2. Re: focal length. There is obviously a 'happy medium' too. I think HowSeredipitous is close, in the most recent image. But really, in the end, there is no right or wrong.

Lastly, some food for thought: focal length can be used to hide stuff!
Think of the 'sacrifice' comment I made in the earlier post but change 'sacrifice' to 'hide bad/unfinished geometry'. Example: production artists for game cut-scenes/CG-in-movies generally only build out what will actually be in-camera (especially if it's a one-off asset) unless the off-camera stuff is needed for lighting/shadow/reflection purposes. Soooo...didn't get around to polishing that engine nacelle? :oops: No problem! Just mess with your camera position and settings to hide or de-emphasize it in the composition. :twisted: :ghost:
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."
-Col. Lewis B. Puller, USMC
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2019
Talvieno wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:20 am
Excellent ship, CSE! I really love this one! I actually think this might be my favorite of yours so far. The shape is intriguing, and the "interior area" with all the pipes (while it may not quite stand up to in-depth scrutiny as to its function) looks incredible! The paint on the "winglets" is a really nice touch, too. I'm glad you went for this type of ship. :D You definitely have a special proficiency in it.
Thanks you!

And as a chemical engineer, it can be that the ship will not fly, but I can guarentee that the piping and destillation columns fulfill a clear function.
:mrgreen:
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2020
CSE wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:31 pm
And as a chemical engineer, it can be that the ship will not fly, but I can guarentee that the piping and destillation columns fulfill a clear function.
:mrgreen:
Really? Even those pipes on the left where there are forks off a main branch? Maybe it could be that I'm just more ignorant than I thought about this sort of engineering. :D If they actually have a realistic function, I'm even more impressed than before.
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2021
CSE wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:51 am
Thanks for the kind words.

I guess I see the use of the focal length, and I understand the agonising sacrifice :evil: . The good thing? We can make many entries, so not showing some details in one shot can be corrected in another!
Thanks for the helpful explanations, thesleeve (and HS, that wikipedia animated gif is awesome to explain).

One more question: I am working in Vue; is there any way to have a large glow from an engine light without making it a strong light that mess up with the lighting of the rest of the scene?
I am making one of the escort ship leaving, and would love to have a glow, but without lightning up the whole side of the capital ship.
The capital ship also has engines with light sources, which are now fully invisible as they are not in the field of view. Still, would be nice to hint at a glow behind the ship.
I do not own photoshop or similar, so post-processing beyond pasting on a background and changing some levels is not much desired :oops:

Thanks for any hint!
Well, you've got a couple o' options for glows. You could use an object with the glowing material property (under extras). As far as I can gather it doesn't emit light, but it has to be a solid object. It puts a glow around the edges, and the object and glow can be different colours.

Alternatively, you could use a volumetric point light, that'll give you a nice spherical glow, though Vue seems to get a bit squiffy if they're too big. Luckily my wee destroyer is small enough for it to work, see the picture belowwww! For the battleship, it was a bit too solid, so I used a series of volumetric spotlights with a very wide (87% or something stupid) spread. The effect was similar, though I think it needs a bit of fiddling because it doesn't look quite right.

Planetary-Stuff5.jpg
Planetary-Stuff5.jpg (215.58 KiB) Viewed 1101 times

I also had a bit of a play with perspective. It's not quite finished, but with 35mm and up close, you can see how much bigger the battleship is..... There are a few issues that I need to iron out, but the reflections seem to be about right.

Up-Close-And-Personal.jpg
Up-Close-And-Personal.jpg (116.43 KiB) Viewed 1101 times
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2022
Talvieno wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:26 pm
CSE wrote:
Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:31 pm
And as a chemical engineer, it can be that the ship will not fly, but I can guarentee that the piping and destillation columns fulfill a clear function.
:mrgreen:
Really? Even those pipes on the left where there are forks off a main branch? Maybe it could be that I'm just more ignorant than I thought about this sort of engineering. :D If they actually have a realistic function, I'm even more impressed than before.
I was joking. There is even one pipe that stops without proper ending. But mostly pipes split and rejoin a few meters away ;) . There are two nice heat exchangers, though, hidden in the pipes, columns, tanks and two agitated reactor.

Thanks HW for your answer, I’ll come back to it tomorrow when I can go on the computer. Glowing material though seems to be incompatible with rendering using the « outer space » atmosphere. I guess basically I do not understand the different rendering options under the atmosphere settings...
Your second view is breathtaking, by the way!
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2023
HS: [excited screaming intensifies] Now THAT'S what I'm talking about. Fun camera angle...and that thing looks gigantic! :thumbup:

CSE: Getting atmospheric glows can be a huge pain sometimes. Sometimes it is very tricky balancing the glow output with all the other lights in the scene. I often render light glow separately and them composite them together in post-production. This gives some additional control over things like brightness, spread, etc. If you have any image software like Photoshop or Gimp this might be an option. But, honestly...I thought they looked great to start with! :D
"We've been looking for the enemy for some time now. We've finally found him. We're surrounded. That simplifies things."
-Col. Lewis B. Puller, USMC
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Re: Limit Theory Fan Contest - Discussion

#2024
So, here is the current status with regards to lights and angle of view / focal length:

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So basically I get the effect I want with the volumetric lights (glowing material is not possible, because I want to have no ambient lighting - in space without atmosphere, there is no such thing, which makes the typical very sharp shadows).
Two issues with it:
  • you cannot really control the decay (or at least I did not find how) so you cannot control independently the strength of the light and the size of the halo. I would like for instance to have a much brighter engine glow, but without it to extend much further away...
  • The second issue is for my "post-processing" - when I save the image with the option to have transparency (which I need to paste the ship later on a nice starry background) then the whole glow is considered fully transparent - in other words, it is not part of the picture. The picture above was saved without transparency - but how to paste it on a background?
    I have found a possible workflow ( a - copy non transparent picture in B&W in a new picture (temp), b - invert temp, c - copy alpha mask from transparent picture parties using magic wand to pick each opaque zone, d - paste in temp picture and adjust at the correct pixel, repeat c/d for each opaque zone, e - copy temp picture in alpha mask of non transparent picture, f - save as png and adapt levels) but this is cumbersome, needs pixel-precise manual placement of masks and need it for every contiguous ship.

Still, thanks HS, it was a good tip! :thumbup:

Note: in Vue, it is possible to select light by light what other objects are impacted by it! Using this, I could avoid that the colourful halo of the blue shuttle make ugly spots on the capital ship!

For the angle of view, the deformation is now more visible, it does look more massive. As thesleeve said - to get more effect I would need to renounce having the full model in view :cry:
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