Redscout vs BSF

Photoshop group challenge on CSF july 6th-21th 2007

Why make scenes in the first place?

Spaceships presented on white backgrounds look like fish out of water.
During the summer holliday 2007 I had time to cook , I made a basic "Fighters approach convoy"-setup in MLCad and POV-Ray, and decided to open it up for anyone at CSF as a "Photoshop Challenge", similar to the the "Group Moc Studys" held earlier.

The aim was to get a lot of talent together working with the same material in order to inspire each other and share tips on how to make the pretty bacgrounds and cool lighting effects George Lucas has made us expect from Sci-Fi.

With twelve different versions, I'd consider this a raving succes, and we should definitly try again.Since I hardly ever make anything larger than fighters, my opportunities to do this kind of project is rather limited, unless I start reverse-engineering other people's stuff, and I haven't had time to do this yet.

You can read more about how I made the scene, or skip to the twelve versions below.

Making the scene

Technically this was fairly simple:

  1. Import all the relevant crafts (69 Redscout and 74 Black Star Fleet)
  2. Place the scouts at 0,0,0 (knowing where they were, made it a lot easier to place and aim the camera properly).
  3. Rotate the guns of the capital ships, arrange them in a strike formation, and add them to the scene.
  4. Scale the strik-force up 15 times to minifig scale (this makes the large Railgun Corvettes 330 studs long - you REALLY need big stuff if you want to see it in space).
  5. Position the strike force 2500 studs away from the scouts and 250 studs below.
  6. I decided not to use the BSF fighters in the scene, because the would simply be too small to see (and if they were scrambling, the scouts would already be dogfighting big time)

After this I switched to POV-ray, (you can download my MLCad scene here)

  1. Create a POV-Ray file with L3PAO.
  2. Inside POV-Ray, add a strong (rgb 4,4,4) light-source 7500 studs from the scouts and 250 studs above to emulate a single star lighting up the scene.
  3. Add a blue background (bluescreen, apparently you should be able to render the scene with a transparent background by adding "+ua +fn" in L3PAO, I'll do this next time).
  4. Finally, I added two small light-blue light-sources right behind the scouts engines to emulate engine glare on the crafts (POV-Ray file here)

So that was basically what everybody had to work with, here's what they got out of it:

The 12 versions

Here's the 12 different versions, in alphabetical order by the authors name. You can click any of the pictures to see the original, larger, size:

Aaron "Colorschemer" Sneary was one of the first to put up an image, using a beautiful desert planet as background. I like the fact that he inverted the colours of the scouts to create a good contrast with the planet, and the firery engine exhausts he made smudge, ripple, waves ao.. It's interesting to note the bluish glare on the capital ships - bluescreens can only get you so far.

Brenden "Red Baron" Wilson usually make some really pretty backgrounds for all his spaceships, which can be seen here, I especially like the Starwarsy "flack", and the rockets is a nice touch, even if they're hard to see (flickr with comments).

Scene by Dean "TheRoamingCandle" Hoffmeyer, who has obviously worked with placement of the star, and adjusting the brightness of the crafts.

Another scene by Dean "TheRoamingCandle" Hoffmeyer.

Scene by Jeremay "ook" Cook, I really like the shadowing and the combination of motion blur, laser bolts and banking crafts makes for a much more action-packed scene. The glare is really well made as well.

Luke "Beckr" went for a lovely shooter-game setup with cartoonish explosions, and I really like the way the target-boxes make the Black Capital ships stand out (flickr).

Mark "Nabii" Stafford went atmospheric with really cool smoky engine trails, a bit of banking and an extra Scout. In the future it migth be a good idea to supply some more angles of the crafts, so people can play more around with the setup.

Next up is my own version: I was teased with the fact that the bacground looked like pea-soup (cloud filter), and I learned what "nerf-balls" means. The star is made as a round dish with glare around and a horizontal glare made with the gradient tool (mirror). The asteroids are hand painted with moss texture (flickr with comments)

Tim "Spook" made this nice darkened scene with some serious action going on. I like the debris form the first scout. You wouldn't know that he made the laser-bolts by drawing a triangle filled with light orange glow and dark outer glow. The trouble with this approach is that the outer-glow is the same width all the way to the target which wouldn't be the case in "real life".
Fun fact: Considering the scale, the explosion on the capital ship would be about 60x40 studs in diameter - be careful where you place your exhaust vents on expensive military equipment ;-)

A second version by Tim "Spook" with bigger contrast betwen engine glares and spacecrafts and a cool Homeworld-ish explosion.

Colour-adjusted scene by Tyler "Legohaulic", I really like the ripply "plasma"-look of weapons and engine glare. They're hand-painted and stretched out using photoshop's perspective tool.

The last scene is made by Vangelis "Oleth" Katsikaros using Terragen to create the landscape and using gimp to create motion blur.


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