View Full Version : A Dysons Shpere and M81 galaxy

LS Knight
08 August 2005, 04:32 PM
I thought about posting this in 3D but most of it is digital painting and only one element used a 3D primitive sphere.

This is breaking new ground for me. I have never modeled or textured anything in 3D before. Just so everyone knows a Dysons Sphere is a huge sphere where the living surface is on the inside. This is a small one at about 25,000 Km in diameter with an small artificial star inside ("star" is an over simplification, its a contained fission reactor that serves a stars purpose).

I made the sphere in Vue d'Esprit 3 LE and made the texture in Painter8. I can say I modeled anything because a sphere is just a primative but like I said everything is a first here. I originally made the texture too green but some gamma tweaking got me to the nice green/red copper look that this is supposed to have.

Behind it is a digital airbrush of the M81 galaxy also done in Painter. I composited the whole thing in Painter. The background space is also my own original work.

I'm pretty happy with this, which is going to be the background to a more detailed picture involving characters, but I would really like to here some thoughts from the community on this.

Later I'll share my plans for further developement of this picture because I'm going to need help on it composition I think. My original composition was turned down as too busy (too many characters and ships).

Anyway, here it is:

08 August 2005, 05:04 PM
Well, I can see two problems with a Dyson sphere:

1. It encloses the nearest light source, so it's going to tend to be pretty dark.
2. Unless you're pretty close, it's going to look pretty much like a planet or moon.

That second point is, I think, relevant to the current picture. Unless you add more detail, the sphere looks like a rusty red planet.

Actually, there's a third issue, which is that scale is going to be a bit difficult to portray without some recognizable reference nearby.

LS Knight
08 August 2005, 12:28 AM
DingBat99999: Thank you for responding. For some reason I'm getting no responses on this or other boards. Maybe because it's just a basic background. It's a big deal to me because I'm using tools I've never used before, trying a few things that I've never tried before.

You bring up very good issues and perhaps I should have explained that this is a WIP for a source book cover that I am also writing for a game company, ADB, Inc. As such I have to depart a little from strict realism. I'll explain.

Lightsource: Even worse the galaxy behind it is where the sphere is coming from so it would actually be in near pitch black! But then you couldn't see it. Typically all space scenes for ADB's cover art have high ambiant lighting so that the subject can be easilly seen. The thing is that no one has EVER seen what a Tholian Dyson's Sphere looks like and I got to create the first look. A dark featureless ball would not sell the job very well and players looking to finally see what one looks like with just get pissed off.

Surface texture: Indeed each one of those hexes definable on the surface would be about the sixe of the United States but there is in game technical reasons you see these huge structures. There are in fact dozens of defense units on there that are just too small to be seen. There is even huge space doors for ships that are still too small to see. The texture that IS seen has to do with the primary structural integity system that holds the whole thing together and also relates to how the building process is conducted.

Besides the Structural Integrity System there are no other details visible. Ultimately it needs to be something that looks NOT like just a planet. It needs some uniqueness that says this is not a natural body.

Thanks for your comments, I appreciate you time very much.

08 August 2005, 01:42 AM
Yeah, this is a difficult thing to portray objectively or scientifically. The better answer is think of other "circumstantial" evidence to portray the concept that you want to illustrate. To establish scale, like Dingbat said, you need a known entity to compare it to. A person, a space ship, the earth, the sun. Juxtapose it with some use of perspective or layering to suggest perspective. I mean, this sphere is a planet, and a manmade planet at that. You can try suggesting that it has construction still going on, for example the death star in star wars, even show a cutaway view, perhaps a large hole in it. Some of your choices may skew the science a little, but you're after the impression of scale and function, not making a technical illustration. I suggest filling the canvas with as much of the sphere as you can and make it look like something's happening way down there.


LS Knight
08 August 2005, 06:09 AM
Thanks N-gree, I'm not sure how I can pull that off since the sphere is not the primary focus of the illustration. This is a background to what will be a character focus (a big Tholian torso and a couple ships spinning web).

Yes, this is for a game based on Star Trek. I have the job of writing the book on Tholians.

Anyway, I will keep in mind to try and do something that suggest scale. Fortunately most people reading the book will already what it is or will read about it in the book. Still, it would be good to find some way to show the scale without disrupting the composition.

I guess it's hard to judge a piece that is in such a state of incompletion. Thanks for the comments.

When I get more done on the sketch (which I had to change since the company said my original one was too busy with too many characters) I post that here so you all will have a better idea of where I'm going with this.

08 August 2005, 07:28 AM
This is a good start but its a bit irrealiscic.
Here's a great tutorial by Greg Martin ( I hope it will be helpful for yo!

LS Knight
08 August 2005, 02:58 PM
Oh ya, I dig that tutorial and his others. Unfortunatly I don't have photoshop.

But it's in my future! When I got my WACOM tablet (drasticly reduced by a store mismark... which they honored, lucky me!) I found a special for WACOM buyers coupon for like 50% off of Photoshop CS (so PS for like 299 or something). I've got to use it by December so I'm workin' on it. Supporting my family comes first but I think I can get it by then.

The crazy thing is that I've been offered numorous pirated copies of it over the years but I don't do that. I've been not paid for my hard work and it sucks so I can't take that route. But I'll take a deal anytime!

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