Tutorial 3
   Creating the image ‘Stranded on Zantor’  
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Spacejetters

Step 1

This picture was based around a similar design I had done in my earlier experiences of working with Bryce which involved working with some of the basic ‘primitive’ shapes that can be selected within the program.

After starting Bryce a water preset was applied to the horizontal plane.
I then used the ‘create’ menu to add a sphere which was stretched vertically and copied and pasted to produce a number of rock structures which would appear to stand up out of the water. Each one was then selected and moved into various positions using the ‘reposition’ tool in the edit palette. This would create a feeling of depth within the picture and help set out the basic composition, which can easily be tweaked later if required.

Step 2

The half-sunken craft which appears in the picture was also built from three primitive shapes. Two spheres, which were stretched and flattened using the ‘control handles’ on the spherical object’s ‘bounding box’ were then positioned side by side. I then reduced one of the spheres in size then added and re-positioned a cylinder shape which would be used for the craft’s rear thruster. The three shapes were then ‘grouped’ together and rotated and positioned using the ‘rotate tool’ and the ‘reposition tool’ until the craft was placed into a position which I felt was best suited for the picture. One of my own custom metal preset materials was then applied to the craft to give it a metal plated look. This would later be enhanced using a paint program to add extra detail and realism.

Step 3

One of Bryce’s standard presets named ‘Alien Cherries’ was then applied to each and every one of the rock structures in the picture. This particular preset was chosen to make the rocks look alien in appearance rather than use a standard rock preset.

The nice thing about Bryce is that you can very easily and quickly experiment with the many various textured materials you are presented with. You can also use the ‘Materials Lab’ and ‘Deep Texture Editor’ within Bryce to create totally new materials which can be saved and added to your materials library.

Step 4

Once all the objects were in place a sky was chosen from the
‘Sky & Fog Palette’ This was then tweaked using the ‘cloud height’ and ‘cloud coverage’ option in the sky palette menu.

The ‘haze intensity’ and color was also adjusted to increase the sensation of depth within the scene.

Once everything was adjusted to suit my requirements I then did a test render to view the results.

 

Step 5

After doing a test render you can quickly spot areas within the picture that can be worked on and improved on using a bit of patience and knowledge of the program. Bryce is a wonderful artistic tool but needs time and understanding of all it’s hidden features to get the best out of it. However, sometimes the best results are achieved using the simplest techniques.

Experimenting with the sky presets always brings about the most dramatic changes to the scene. Sometimes it can spoil the picture completely, but sometimes it can bring about the most amazing transformation.

Step 6

Getting the color scheme right can make or break your design, so choosing the right sky and materials for your objects or models is important. Also adjusting the sun color, position and lighting conditions will have an immediate effect on the overall image.

The ‘preview window’ in the top left of the Bryce interface is generally too small to make a definite decision on whether the changes work for the better. You really need to make a test render before committing to any changes.

Step 7

A quick way to do a test render and save time is to change the size of the document in the ‘document setup’ under the file menu. In the picture above right in step 6 you can see how I changed the sky and the craft’s metal preset to get a different result. Using a document setup ratio of 1:0.50 instead of 1:1.00 the test render is completed much quicker and is large enough to see if the changes have worked or not.

If any small changes need to be made you can select part of the image using the ‘plop render’ option in the ‘Advanced Display Palette’ located on the right side of the Bryce interface. By rendering a selected portion of the picture you can quickly see if the changes show any improvement.

Step 8

In this instance I decided that the original color scheme worked best so having rendered the image and saved it to my hard drive I then opened it up in Adobe Photoshop and added the final touches.

More often than not, the extra details added in the final stage of producing your picture will improve the end result. In this case I have re-shaped the cockpit area and added a few panel lines plus a couple of smoke plumes escaping from the hull and rear thruster.

To see the finished picture in more detail click here

For more details of the Bryce rendering program click here

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