View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 3D Entry: Agostino Priarolo

11 November 2004, 01:30 PM
Agostino Priarolo has entered the Grand Space Opera 3D.

Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Final Image (

ok ok ok

I changed my mind. I hope they let me do that. There's still time.


11 November 2004, 02:14 PM (

My idea is:
to put in a landscape and in the foreground 1-2 humans in space suite watching scared and/or fascinated and/or curious to a spectacular mix of construction of futuristic structures and maybe (but I don' think I will include this) a near battle, like something trying to destroy some of the structures...

11 November 2004, 02:18 PM (

second sketch.

11 November 2004, 02:25 PM (

third sketch. I think I will start with this. an alien planet landscape (or maybe earth years after a cataclysm?), a father and a son/daughter in space suite over a rock, looking fascinated at the valley below, where a spaceship is under construction. Far you can see mountains and a futuristic city and/or industrial facilities. In the valley there is also a river, in the proximity of which the spaceship is being built.

11 November 2004, 03:07 PM
I like the concept of the third one, but the composition seems a little bit boring. I'd suggest playing around with the perspective and dimentions. Maybe a more upright piece, like a movie poster, with the viewer looking over the shoulder of the two space men, down into the valley.

11 November 2004, 11:48 PM
Hello ChrisThatGuy,

I'm looking at "all" the other people's works (hundreds) I'm little busy....I think there are a lot of people with really smart, evocative, nice ideas... a lot to see, to learn, to discuss, to find...this Forum is like a drug for me...I'm getting addicted to it.....

anyway, I'm on my 2-3 days I'll develope that idea with some other sketches, and then I will start to work more deeper inside...

:) thank you. Have a nice work. I like that. I'll put your thread on my favourites. Bye.

11 November 2004, 04:52 PM
Yeah the final one is the best I think.
Maybe you should do the picture tell anythink...or express some feelings...
Keep goin´ :)

11 November 2004, 05:13 PM (

-sketch- final general idea. 1/3

11 November 2004, 05:15 PM (

sketch 2/3

11 November 2004, 05:18 PM (

-sketch- 3/3

So. These last are 3 sketches where I put down my general vision for this work.

11 November 2004, 05:40 PM
Here a few lines to clear down my ideas:

A father and a child. In space suite. Both are above a rock which dominates the valley where a big spaceship is under construction. The ship is still in pieces. There are components scattered all around. Some of them are almost completed, some other are still at the beginning...just started. There are tools, machineries, structures, people working,'s a big site. It's impressive. At the horizon, there a few low mountains and aside a big futuristic city, that's quite far from here, almost hidden by gray and dirty mist.

The father is fascinated, and point somewhere into the site...telling something to his child trying to get him excited as much as he is....but.....the little chilld is attracted by somthing else....

I see an allegory here, but I'll explain that at the end, if some else has not noted that yet.

Anyway, the planet could be Earth, polluted as much as people have to put on special equipment to breath a protect their bodies on open spaces....and their trying to go away, and find a new world...

If a more deep wirtten story is needed to accompany the final image....if the image will not explain itself without help...well I will think about that when It's time.:deal:

11 November 2004, 06:09 PM (

To start designing and put down sketches of the spacesuites, I needed to seek some information on the current technology adopted by Nasa. I found pictures and documents on past and present spacesuites used by astronauts. Here some pictures.
On Nasa's website I found also a PDF document explaining deeply components, materials and structure.
These pictures and documents will help me in understand limits of current technology and try to imagine how the design could evolve in the future.
It's a place where to start.

11 November 2004, 06:16 PM
I think this sketch has a great potencial. If you do it right it will be a great pictutre. Good luck.

11 November 2004, 05:51 PM
I really like the idea and the composition is very balanced. It will be great if you put as much detail as you can on the spaceship.. I think that it will keep almost all the attention of the viewer.. so you should try to put as many different parts of the spaceship as you can, but trying to make something understandable.

Nice work!

12 December 2004, 06:59 PM (

I put down in Zbrush a rectalungar shape. Then I painted up the collinar landscape at the horizon (that I imagined in my previous sketches), and the rock platform from where dad and child are looking to the spaceship in construction.
Then I imported it in 3Dmax as an OBJ, and scaled it to fit a distance from the rock platform to mountains of about 2 kilometers. Highest mountain is 600 meters high, while rock platform is about 60 m.

This is a side view. i put a 50 mm camera at about 1.80 meter from the top of the platform, just to start thinking at what the two characters are going to see. Actually, when I painted the mountains and the platf., I tried to remember to fix the angle of the view.

12 December 2004, 07:00 PM (

top view-

12 December 2004, 07:08 PM (

perspective view-

12 December 2004, 07:10 PM (

camera view, located about on the father's eyes

12 December 2004, 07:18 PM (

i modelled an helmet trying to model a soft, pumped like surface, as if the helmet is covered by a protective and soft layer.
I thought to give to each suite some kind of \"used to dress it, dressing like\" look, either by the shape and colours and/or decorations...
This tv-like helmet could need some restyling, but i have to remember that father and son will be seen from an high and not-so-close point of view. Also helmets will be seen almost completely from the back; and I like the back of this helmet ;-)

12 December 2004, 07:20 PM
Hi there! nice start, can you show us the shaded terrain with some basic light in the camera view? Maybe I could give you some advice when I see how the shadows and the terrain really looks.

good luck!

12 December 2004, 07:29 PM
A hard work to me that I started knowing very little about patch modeling, poly-adjusting and meshsmoothing. I just wanted to try this mix...but next time I'll start directly with editable-poly and meshsmooth...faster and better.

on this helmet, i started with a net of cross-sections (modelling only on half side), then I applied edit patch, I adjusted the shape, converted all to editable-poly, adjusted, mirrored and finally I applied meshsmooth that gave all that pumped-like surface look.

I also tried to work on a copy of the helmet using NURBS, I don't feel good with them.

thank you Poveda and thank you Turbinea

12 December 2004, 11:58 AM (

Started to work on the body of the suite.
editable poly. I started from a box, then extruded, moved and rotated faces. I work also with a meshsmooth modifier on top of the stack, and work always on polygons watching the final smoothed result.

I placed a box as reference to human proportions. I started working with centimeters as units. (on landscape modelling I used meters).

12 December 2004, 11:59 AM (

another step

12 December 2004, 12:05 PM (

On this step I decided in which "direction" to model the shape of the father.

I thought he will NOT have an athletic, doom-videogame-hero-like shape.......

12 December 2004, 02:36 AM
Yeah Nice Start looking forward to seeing some more of this work. Keep it up!!

Good Luck To you!

My Thread

maxim capra
12 December 2004, 11:32 PM
hi agostino,

helmet looks pretty good. try to use a bit more polygons on your body, perhaps collapse the meshsmoothed version to a mesh and remove edges you don't need - then work with this to add more details. it's hard to push the meshsmoothed form in the right direction with extreme low poly meshes. don't give up, it looks promising and your idea is really nice!

like the photos on your hp. i'm a big fan of northern countries, but i never was in finnland .. perhaps this year :)


12 December 2004, 02:22 PM (

Here another step on the modeling.
I used NURMS smooth included in editable poly.

thank you Philipp for your advice. Nice hair on your conductor.

12 December 2004, 02:29 PM (

I put the father in pose, using a biped skeleton and physique. I added some elements.

Ok. I wish to proceed "step by step" on my work, but I want to stop on single pieces of my project only a bit each time; I mean, I'll add details but I prefer to work on something else of the composition. Jumping here and there as like as you do in a drawing and/or painting.

12 December 2004, 06:08 PM
Hi Arturro,
Thank you. More studies in a while

12 December 2004, 06:18 PM

12 December 2004, 11:16 PM (

Starting from the polymesh of the father, I modelled the son... the challenge for me now was only to find the right pose, hands, arms, legs, in the place that I meant they to be...the suite is a few large on the trousers, exactly like how the child-spacesuite of my future son will be (if I'll have one...)

12 December 2004, 11:17 PM (

and here's the smoothed version.

12 December 2004, 11:37 PM (

From this point, I'll submit 8 images I rendered.
The goal of these pictures is to study the composition and camera position for the final image.

I'll see better after few time and after other people suggestions.

I placed some spheres as placeholder for real elements to be modelled. In the middle there is the spaceship worksite, far in the background is the city, and in the foreground that one single sphere is the animal, who captures the attention of the child.

12 December 2004, 11:39 PM (

camera 02

12 December 2004, 11:41 PM (

camera 03

12 December 2004, 11:44 PM (

camera 04

12 December 2004, 11:46 PM (

camera 05

12 December 2004, 11:47 PM (

camera 06

12 December 2004, 11:50 PM (

camera 07

12 December 2004, 11:51 PM (

camera 08. This is a try with a 200 mm zoom. I'll try something else in another moment.

12 December 2004, 12:01 AM
My vote goes to number 7:thumbsup: I think it's best i nmany matters. It shows great mountains but focus is still on the characters. It shows the grand scale.

12 December 2004, 08:30 AM
thank you Arturro for your comment..I agree.
I think that the basement, where the 2 characters look to the landscape, should be cut a little from the frame, it's not so simple, anyway I'll try with different lenses, from different distances.

It's clear that all depends on how I'll compose the image with the camera...really important staff...

Have a nice work

12 December 2004, 11:02 AM (


After some rest and thinking to suggestions, I removed all my cameras but the 7th. Then I tweaked it's position, I moved the characters and added some elements.
I like this last frame; camera angle, lens and elements fit right my original idea (the thing that I had in mind at the beginning). I think I'll keep this.

Now at work on spaceship worksite.


12 December 2004, 08:01 PM (

I started to add tools and materials to the worksite.

12 December 2004, 08:03 PM (

Props and tools. Tab. 02

12 December 2004, 08:05 PM (

Props and tools. Tab 03.

These elements are seen from a quite long distance...I'll try to add details when I can see the work site with all the tools and machineries inside.

12 December 2004, 08:08 PM (

Props and tools. Tab 04.

Here some kind of covering structures, about 40 meters high. It's where workers put electronics and other staff that have to be on shade.

12 December 2004, 08:15 PM (

I modelled the main body of the spaceship, as it is set up on the worksite.

The space shipe has a corona where people live, which has artificial gravity inducted by the spinning of the body while it's travelling on space.
The ship has got 4 PowerIone Antieuristic engines, and the power which pushes the ship comes out the 4 wings that you see at the lower level.

Some parts of the main body are still under construction as you can see by the structures that come out here and there-

12 December 2004, 08:18 PM (

Here the worksite, with all the elements I did so far.

12 December 2004, 08:27 PM
As you has metiond before I think you should do som more detales on the charecters, and alsso som mor to the ship.

It looks really great at the moment but as I said som more detales and it will look moch better.


12 December 2004, 03:19 PM
Thank you Mr_Carl for your comment.

Certainly I have to add more details to all the staff I'm putting down; but the main problem is to manage the big size of this project. Before going into the small scale, I think I really need to have the global sight of the whole thing.

All the props I added look really small into the whole image, so I'm thinking a lot on how much detail I have to put on my textures, and how much I have to work on single little objects....I mean, I have to plan this thing but I have to do it per levels, from the top to the base...

more details soon...

next steps:

- the city at the horizon, laying under a geodesic protective energetic dome.
- textures for the terrain. Details for the landscape (dead trees, rocks, river, roads, holes)

12 December 2004, 03:37 PM
Comments and critiques are very welcome.

I would like to get, from you dear visitor, also suggestions about some threads that I could watch to learn. I already follow my list, but maybe I didn't see something that is in your mind...

thank you

12 December 2004, 09:22 PM (

Here another step.

In the background there is the city under a sort of electromagnetic protection cupole (diameter: about 400 meters). The city (or better, the village) is about 2000 meters (1.25 miles) from the spaceship work site.

I coloured in red the 2 characters just to set the focus of the composition, anyway the suites will be a combination of reds, or blues, or both-

and I remodelled the terrain.

I'm texturing. Pictures in few hours.


01 January 2005, 11:43 PM (

Some colouring and texturing studies, here.

I began to sculpt details of the new mountain in zbrush.

I'm using a composite material, with some other blend materials...

more details later. and more studies.


01 January 2005, 11:48 PM (

The last of the four images above, but bigger.

I would like to have a planet similar to Mars...but different.

I'm playing at the moment with a bunch of coloured variations of a base texture that I painted in zbrush, plus some photographs of different stones and marbles. The challenge is to manage the memory limit, the lack of power in my system, the size of textures...but I'm looking for a compromise, considering the distance of mountain...

anyway, more details soon...


01 January 2005, 11:50 PM (

A detail from the image above...

more tomorrow.


01 January 2005, 10:26 PM (

Modelled and textured the little animal that gets the attention of the child.


01 January 2005, 10:32 PM (

Today work:

- modelled and textured the animal,

-added details to the spaceship under construction, and assigned generic coloured materials to each part, as placeholders.

- some other experiments with the materials of the mountain.

- modified the two human characters....enlarged trousers to the child, moved shoulder and other pieces of the suite of the father, and some minor sculpting.

to do in the next 3 days:

- add more detail to humans, and texture their models.

- add detail to terrain in foreground.

- add elements to the worksite (tools, machineries, humans)


01 January 2005, 07:14 PM (

Today I finished the main 2 human characters; added more detail and painted.

Here and in the next pictures the steps.


01 January 2005, 07:17 PM (

another step


01 January 2005, 07:18 PM (

son character - 01/01 step 01


01 January 2005, 07:19 PM (

son character - 01/01 step 02


01 January 2005, 07:21 PM (

son character - 01/01 step 03


01 January 2005, 07:23 PM (

I don't know....each day I move these two characters at least of 1 centimeter...

Still studying the last pose, for the final composition....

01 January 2005, 07:30 PM (

Here the last shaded viewport shot...

Next steps:

- to add detail to foreground terrain.

- to study light variations. The current combination sun-skylight doesn't work (maybe we have to wait for the sunset?)

- materials to the ship.

- great site tools, machineries and, maybe, people...

The trouble is that all those staffs will be seen from very far, they will be put on a scene that is already very heavy, and actually I don't know what the hell to do...

Good bye. See you tomorrow.


maxim capra
01 January 2005, 12:50 AM
hey agostino - you did a lot of work!

if your problem is the polycount (running out of memory), try to split the scene in different layers. you can easily split your scene in
- sky
- mountains and city
- valley with tools
- foreground with characters and animal

this would give your workflow an extra dimension, because you can color-correct the different layers individually in your favourite composition program.

i always tend to save the layers with premultiplied transparency information (e.g. >= 32bit png's) to avoid antialiasing against the background (e.g. when using alpha-channels).

i hope this helps a bit,
now back to work, just a few days left :)

01 January 2005, 11:57 AM
Hi Philipp,

welcome back!

Thank you for your advice.

Yes, I used layers from the start, I also have almost every piece as XRef into the main scene... anyway the problem is the terrain....about 850000 faces---

I never tried to composite renders of single pieces together into a 2d software; I see that many people do that. I'll give it a try. but the light argument leave me a little perplexed...

Now I'm coming to your thread....see you there...


01 January 2005, 05:33 PM (


Now I'll submit 2 pictures (actually 8 images in 2 tables) with a few of the many light studies I made.

The aim of these studies was to test Mental Ray's final gathering and Global Illumination.

I thought that the planet that you see here is orbiting around a twin stellar system. That is this planet has 2 suns.

So I put 2 IES sun light sources + a IES sky; then I experimented with colours, contrast of the light, density o shadows, intensity of light, positions of the suns, intensity of the skylight. I made several tests with them during last days.
I put also some kind of blueish mist, as you can see....I experimented a lot with that too:
I tried the Lume Tools' Mist shader with a coloured 2D map applied (that I painted), then I tried a simple Fog environment effect, with a reddish light, then a tried a volumetric fog, by putting a gizmo in the scene as wide as the landscape itself.
At last, I chose the volumetric Fog.

Today I'll submit a few examples of all that work.

After, I'll upload also a couple of compositing tests.

Now I'm pretty finished with Final Gathering, Global Illumination and lights settings. At least, I feel I have achieved what I had in mind.

After this, I will launch a final render on the whole scene at the requested resolution; then, I'll send the big image to my post production department, where one person, that is me, is waiting to the last, and not so easy, part of this project.




I made some other modelling too, as you can see.....some more machineries, and tools.
Also I finished the work on textures and materials for the spaceship and the worksite.
I put also a couple of particle systems, on the ship, to simulate sparks produced by electric melters...We'll see that in the final rendering test.


Oops, after I uploaded this image, I saw that the text in it has errors; I forgot to change it. The 2 sub-images below ARE two studies with Final Gathering (left image) and Global Illumination (right one). These are only samples of the various experimentations. The final result will be displayed tomorrow, when I'll submit the final pre-postproduction rendering.


01 January 2005, 05:34 PM (

Another step.

See previous post for explanation, thank you.



01 January 2005, 05:45 PM (

Now, following Maxim's advice, I tried to render the composition in a few "passes", splitting the image in its major components, and merging them together in a second time, to save system resources and speed up the working time on my computer...

As I thought, there are some a couple of problems:

- one is the Fog. I have to render it on each pass, since it doesn't appear on other layers when I merge them together.

- The other problem are shadows; you can see that from the these images.
To render all the shadow I should put some planes with a matte/shadow material.

but I will not do it. I chose a compromise by using a landscape proxy for lights and materials experimentation (the one that you see on these last submission is not the same I will use in the final image. Well, actually, the global silhouette is the same, but it lacks about 3 levels of detail. you can see the real landscape a few posts above).

As I wrote above, I'll shot in a while a final complete rendering of the whole composition, then I'll work over that in post-production.




01 January 2005, 05:49 PM (

And here the final pass-compositing test.

Just to show what I have done on this subject.

I'll be glad to receive suggestions and/or website links on this matter, for future works.

As I wrote above, I will not use pass layering methods on this project to render the final image.




01 January 2005, 12:33 PM (


After many trouble trying to render with layer passes, finally I put an optimize modifier to the 900,000 faces terrain, lowering down the to about 250,000; then, I rendered the whole image at 4000x3000, with all the layers visible.

I'll add the sky background and I'll do some modifications, that I have in mind, in post-production.

I had a problem here: this image, that I'm publishing now, recorded as a TGA 32, appears with a lot more saturated and dark that the original render that appeared into the frame window of 3D Max. I'll include a print screen of the frame window on the next post. It's really strange. I see this happening always, with all the images that I render in 3D Studio. It's not good. Not at all. Where can I tweak 3D Max to let the image on frame window appearing the same that the saved one?

Thank you


For the fog here, I used 2 different gizmos, with different settings.


01 January 2005, 12:35 PM (

Here the print screen of the 3D Max's frame window, as I said above.


01 January 2005, 12:52 PM (

Here's a print screen before rendering. I'm posting this so you can see where is one of the 2 suns here. I need this to put the flare lens effect in post production.

The other sun is out of sight, at your west, high in the sky.


01 January 2005, 12:55 PM (

For the sky background, I chose among some of my photographs, I chose the most suitable for the position of the sun, see the post above.

This is a photograph I shot a few times ago on my city's lagoon. Guess which city is this. I live in Helsinki (until the end of this month) but I was born in this other city. Suggestion: it's not on this planet (earth).


01 January 2005, 12:57 PM (

And this is the part of the photograph above that I will use for my final image.

After some cropping, flipping and resizing, I eventually find the right sky for my image. I was also lucky, because the scan of my photograph was about at the same resolution of the final rendered image (about 4000 pixels width).


01 January 2005, 01:05 PM (

And here, all the elements above melted together in Ps.

At last............I have my image!!!!

All these weeks suffering with the fear to not reach the end, to not be able to complete this project....

And now I'm here and I have my image.....and still 1 day to add all the adjusting I have in mind....

I'm really happy. Are you happy for me? No? Ok...........

Anyway, if you look at my website, I have a passion for photographs taken on difficult and hard light scenarios; like photographs of people taken against the sun...and I really wanted to try a similar experiment in 3D. Now I think I achieved what I was trying to do....

I learned a lot from this Space Opera Challenge.

I have still to finish the post-production on this image, I'll post the final one in few hours.

Now I'll take a tour of other's posts, as always.

Have a nice Sunday.


01 January 2005, 07:57 PM (

Ok. I have finished.

Before publishing the final image, I want share the final work.

Here's the layer palette; I adjusted the mountain profile with a slight selected blur effect, then I removed from the sky photograph the dust and dirty coming from the negative; then I adjusted it's colour and mood by filtering it in a few ways, I tried to balance the colours of the image to my feelings. I also added a adjustment layer to the whole image to slightly cool it down.

But before to flatten and post the final image, I wanted to try another thing: to change it in black and white.

All show you how I did this on the next post.


01 January 2005, 08:10 PM (

To change the image from colour to black and white I used a procedure that I learned in the past.

It's quite different than simply desaturate the image...

1) You have to copy the first of the 3 colour channels (red) and paste it into a new layer.

2) Than you have to make not visible this last layer (click on the eye icon)

3) then you have to click on the original layer of the coloured image.

4) Then repeat the previous 3 steps for the other 2 colour channels (green and blue).

5) After, click back on all the eye icons to make all the new black and white layers visible, and clich on the eye icon on the coloured layers to let them become invisible.

6) You have to chose from the 3 new layers that you have created, the black and white image that, in your opinion, contains the best overall tone values; than move that layer on the bottom of the others. Now, chose the second bw layer that you prefer, and put it over the first. And let the third choice on top.

7) Now, play with the transparencies of the 2 top layers, gradually moving them toward the total transparency. until you are satisfied of the mix. If the first layer you chose is enough for you, you can also totally delete the 2 layers on top, or maybe only one of them. You have to see by yourself. You are the artist.

8) Then flatten layers and save. Or save as a copy.

On the next 2 posts, the black and white image and the coloured image. I'll submit this last for the contest.

Bye bye

Have a nice work.



01 January 2005, 08:12 PM (

The final Black and White image. I added also a few noise to simulate negative grain.



01 January 2005, 08:15 PM (



I'm really happy. Good Luck everybody.

I have learnt a lot from this Grand Space Opera forum.
I did my best to share all my work with you........ I hope I like it. Yes. I like.



01 January 2005, 09:06 PM
congratz mate for the final!

maxim capra
01 January 2005, 10:05 PM

nice to see you have finished - and it's quite good work. i like the bw image even more than the colored one, it looks more mysterious and alien-like, a little bit scary and more vast. but hey - if you're happy, i'm happy :) . thanks for all your comments on my pic btw, i wish you a lot of votes,


01 January 2005, 11:13 PM
Arrgh, now I'm not so sure....the more that I look at the black and white image, the more I like it better that the other....I really don't know what to do....I already uploaded the colour one....Maybe I should try to upload over that the other one in black and white? What do you say?


01 January 2005, 11:27 PM (

ok ok ok

I changed my mind. I hope they let me do that. There's still time.


maxim capra
01 January 2005, 08:31 AM
ohh - i didn't want to change your mind, it was just my personal opinion. but i'm sure you can upload a new image and the older one is overwritten automatically....

a mixture of the bw and the coloured one would be perfect :)

01 January 2005, 11:45 AM
markovicd. and maxim capra, thank you. You know that I replyied on your threads.

maxim.....I was unsure about colour and black and white from the know that I love and usually practice more b/w photography than colour...You make me think about that a little more and I decided for the b/w. I like it better. I usually shot b/w pictures against the sun, and now I'm happy that I was able to achieve the same effect in a 3D project. I tryied also to melt the colour layers to the bw, but the hybrid which came out from that did not seem to be a great no no...better black and white. Thank you..

Good Bye everybody.

i'm selling my computer because I'm moving back to Venice, so, starting from wednesday 19 jan I won't be able to see the forum and emails for about 2-3 weeks (well, maybe sometime I'll check it from an Internet point).


01 January 2005, 11:50 AM
Hi there mate, my congratulations! Nice finish. Very peaceful picture with cool colors. B&W verion looks more seriously, but both heve their own spirit. See you on the next challenge:)

01 January 2005, 03:40 PM
Thank you Art

Good luck with you cool entry and not forget to show the layers stuff when you have taken some rest.....


01 January 2005, 09:06 PM
you too,good wish to your so beautiful work!:bounce:

01 January 2005, 09:11 PM
Thank you Art

Good luck with you cool entry and not forget to show the layers stuff when you have taken some rest.....


Thanks mate. I have showed the layers, so pop in to se it:)

01 January 2005, 09:12 PM
Nice work - congrats and good luck for the final!

( I love the colors in the colored one, really unique - but the BW is really good too)

01 January 2005, 08:01 PM
Thanks Eatbug and Gunilla. You know I love your works.


01 January 2005, 11:58 AM
Good Afternoon,

edit: deleted insignificant comment on my current projects. Ok. I'll put a link, more interesting:

Spiraolid (

bye bye



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