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In the first phase of work, I created the concept for the scene and spacecraft. I then worked up the concept, and finally came up with these (Fig.01 & Fig.02). Opening up Photoshop I created a new file sized 3000*2000 pixels, at 300 dpi and labelled it Test_001. This was going to be the base of my future image. On the blank canvas I created a layout for the scene (Fig.03), and then closed Photoshop.

Fig. 01

Fig. 02

From 2D to 3D

The second phase of work was the creation of the previously established scene in the 3ds Max editor. So I opened up 3ds Max and created the main scene file, which I called Main_Scene_. Using the image I created in Photoshop of the marked layout (see Fig.03); I inserted it as the background of my 3D scene.

Fig. 03

I created a box object and exposed it so that the inner and side structure of it coincided with the main lines of my background layout. I then created an object, SShip_Pivot, which was made up of three planes, plus a cylindrical object. The cylindrical object was then tied to the facility, SShip_Pivot. I pivoted the same cylinder, locked the far end of it and combined it with the geometric centre of the scene.

Using copy, scale and displacement, I then moved the SShip_Pivot(s) in such a way that all lines coincided with the lines of my background (see Fig.03), and as a result, I got Fig.04, and then Fig.05 when I viewed it in wireframe.

Fig. 04

Fig. 05


I decided to call the spacecraft Unicorn, because of the very outstanding forward main gun. I won't dwell too much here on the modelling of this unit; I will just say that it took 8 days of 2-3 hours work to complete (Fig.06). The file was a ship called Unicorn_001.

Fig. 06


I opened up the file Test_001 (see Fig.03), created a new layer and drowned it in black. I created a wedge-shaped object and slightly deformed it to achieve the curve of a planet form (Fig.07). The resulting layer was then duplicated twice and the sections were set using the Blending Mode parameters of Vivid Light and Colour Dodge.

Fig. 07

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 27872, pid: 0) SimonR on Tue, 23 November 2010 10:24am
Wonderful, great work one which i will be looking at to create my own worlds and space scenes.
(ID: 27870, pid: 0) Strannik on Tue, 23 November 2010 8:42am
I have sacrificed a certain path of realism for the sake of entertainment.
(ID: 27815, pid: 0) StefanC on Mon, 22 November 2010 1:37pm
Absolutely amazing ! it shocks me how some of the most awesome looking images are made with such simple techniques, Everything looks good the only thing I think is odd though is that the jet flame from unicorn 1 is orange, Flames don't get effected by its surrounding lights right ?
Munkybutt's Avatar
(ID: 27810, pid: 823415) Maksimka1980 (Forums) on Mon, 22 November 2010 11:40am
Excellent article. Thank you very much!
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