Tutorial 6
   Creating the image ‘Mission accomplished’ 
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Spacejetters

Step 1

The basic idea for this picture was to depict a scene of devastation in the aftermath of a vicious battle between two alien forces.

The format of the picture would be A4 portrait size which is one I often use for producing print size pictures for framing. The size of the document can quickly be set in Bryce 5 using the document setup option in the file menu.

For ‘quick renders’ I always choose the 1:0.50 render resolution until I’m happy with the layout and composition. Then I change this to a 1:1.00 render resolution for the final render.

The final render will be at 72dpi but can be changed to 300dpi in Photoshop

Step 2

After choosing a spacecraft from the Spacejetters 3D model collection and a sky preset from the Bryce ‘Sky & Fog’ palette, I placed the model at an angle which made it appear to have crashed into the ground. A terrain with a ‘rock’ preset was added and arranged to create the  landscape under the spacecraft.

The sky chosen included a sun, and because of it’s position made the foreground objects and ground appear in darkness against the sombre sky. Another ‘fighter’ style spacecraft was then added and positioned to appear to be flying over the wreckage.

All objects were placed in position using the ‘rotation’, and ‘re-position’ tools found in the ‘edit’ menu of Bryce.

Step 3

The skeletal wreckage effect of the crashed spacecraft was easily produced using a material preset known as ‘steel cage’ which is one of the standard presets which come with Bryce 5. It can be found in the ‘miscellaneous’ section of the presets library.

Adjusting and setting the ‘component frequency’, which will determine the size and the way the material is mapped onto the object, can be done using the ‘materials lab’ in Bryce. Simply select the object and click on the ‘e’ icon to access it.

Step 4

After choosing a material preset for the fighter craft, I did another quick render to view the results. (see picture in step 2)

I didn’t really want everything to appear to be in silhouette so an extra light source was added from the ‘create’ palette.

There are five different types of light to choose from. Which one you pick will depend on how you wish to light the scene.

The light I chose was a directional light which was positioned to point upwards to light up the underside of the fighter craft, but not the wreckage.

Step 5

By entering into the ‘Light lab’ you can tailor the properties of the light to your requirements.

In this case I toned down the ‘intensity’ setting of the light to avoid the underside of the fighter craft appearing to be too brightly lit.

Some people might argue that in the final picture it still appears to be too bright and that there doesn’t appear to be any obvious light source to account for this. Personally I felt that the need to show some of the detail of the alien craft was preferable to it being unlit and just another dark shape in the sky. The overall impact of the image I felt would have been weakened.

Step 6

To create more interest and make the scene more convincing I added a further three fighter craft by copying and pasting them, then resizing them, until they could be placed and appear exactly where I wanted them.

The overall effect is to make the fighter craft appear as if they have achieved victory in the battle between the two forces. Hence the title of this piece being named ‘Mission accomplished’

All that was left to do was to render the picture at full A4 size and save the image as a bitmap before adding the final touches.

It’s always worth saving the template also in case you want to make further changes or re-use some of the objects in the future.

Step 7

After opening the saved bitmap image in Photoshop I decided to add some smoke effects rising from the burnt ashes of the devastated wreckage.

Creating this kind of effect is achieved most easily by using the airbrush tool and selecting brushes that vary in size from large to small while working on different ‘layers’. It’s also quite effective to vary the transparency of some of the layers to achieve the best results.

To see the finished picture in more detail click here

For more details of the Bryce rendering program click here

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