Monday, 30 December 2013

Swedish Space Odyssey... Kinda...

Back in June 2012, I was asked if I would be interested in working on some VFX for a possible short film a friend-of-a-friend was pitching.  It sounded like fun - with a little space action as well thrown in, I was more then interested.

As part of the pitch, to get funding (which was relatively low) it was important to show that producing Space effects were going to be achievable.  In this case, part of the story revolved around astronauts in a damaged old space capsule - so a concept image showing the ability to produce reasonably good CG was needed to prove that point.

This is the image that I completed for the pitch.  Its based on a Russian Soyuz capsule, featuring a Swedish flag (since the director was Swedish) and orbiting an image of the earth.  An aspherical lens was simulated to create that slight optical distortion, and a lot of additional glare and detailing were finished in post (which you'll see as you read this blog article).

Ready for launch... Ahem, I mean pitch...

Given that the time frame was short to get the pitch submitted (as in a day or two - no pressure, honestly!)  I built and rendered a 3D Soyuz-styled capsule with basic textures.

Basic capsule and background plane

Basic textures were painted up

As you can see, I did start to model in quite a lot more detail then I needed for this single image (I had planned to build a reasonably production-ready high detail model).  There are also additional plates and details on the back of the capsule (based on some of the reference imagery I researched) that we don't see in the render...

All those bolts, etc - when seen on the render, perhaps a little too ambitious.
The problem is that to fully build a detailed capsule with all the textures and detailing in place would take a few days longer, so I finished up the final details manually in Photoshop. Tight deadlines mean that being overly ambitious is not a good idea at this early stage (and if the film went ahead, there would be plenty of time to build on this model anyway)

From basic render, to finished image (mostly done in PS)
Final tweaks were to touch up some of the lighting on edges of panels, add that slight diffuse glare to the bright spots of the image and throw on a few additional details, etc.  After a year or so, I can now see a load of things I should have done, but for what was needed at the time it looked the part to get the ball rolling...

Unfortunately the pitch didn't get accepted as a whole, but this small project - like most small projects I tend to get - was a lot of fun and a chance to create something I would have never thought about doing...


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