View Full Version : Spectacular 3D Entry: Daniel Lovas

09 September 2005, 05:31 PM
Daniel Lovas is entered in the "Spectacular Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Thegg Mining Outpost, Mira binary system (

09 September 2005, 06:04 PM (

Ok, the basic concept i.e. the first, very rough sketch is here. It will be the continuation of my sci-fi illustrations series Postcards From Beyond. Again, my goal will be to create a spectacular view at a possible scene (everything that is strictly SF is possible, otherwise it is not SF but Fantasy or some other genre), located at the other end of the Universe or at least our galaxy. An alien city will be "photographed" from a point on nearby hills. There will be some detailed high-tech parts of buildings/machinery in the foreground, then parts of the city from there down to the middle-ground, disappearing into the fog. The central structure will be rising from the fog behind them. It is supposed to be enormous - a sort of central part of the city i.e. "a city in a city". The background should consist of dramatic, multilayered clouds and in the distant background the two suns (one red giant and one white dwarf) will be present in the left part of the composition and a giant nearby moon at the right. Final touches might include some living beings and exotic plants near the structures in the foreground and numerous flying vehicles at different distances.

The concept is rather similar to one of my earlier illustrations, the Camp Ellenia. Only this time I intend, besides different content, to create a significantly better and more detailed illustration. I'm not satisfied with the Camp Ellenia, since it was made for a magazine cover and the deadline was rather tight.

The main task will be to put everything together and make it look exotic, realistic/convincing and dramatic at the very same time and to make huge objects and distances really look huge etc. I intend to use some simple rules to increase the dramatic look and depth of the scene: dominant clouds, perspective, repeating of similar elements (rhytm), different contrast and values for the foreground, middle-ground and the background etc. Since I'm still on 32-bit and thus have only 2 GB RAM on the "modelling" computer, I'll obviously have to rely on some compositing, i.e. create foreground, middle-grounds and the background separately and join them. I'm using Cinema 4D Studio + Bodypaint3D and will also try to do all or at least most of the compositing in there. Eventually I might use Combustion for additional compositing and of course Paint Shop Pro for additional texture editing.

I'm sincerely not aiming at winning a prize (even though it would be a great reference...) - I'd do the illustration nonetheless, for my creative pleasure. I saw the Challenge is on and thought "why not, since I'm right now starting with a new PFB project anyway and the subject is right?". I'm looking forward to see again some excellent work here as usual. And of course thanks to the CGNetworks Team for giving us again this great opportunity to participate and to see great work of other CG artist!

09 September 2005, 08:55 PM
ambitious! and your Camp Ellenia is really nice work, can't wait to see what you make of it in 3D.

09 September 2005, 03:05 AM
ambitious! and your Camp Ellenia is really nice work, can't wait to see what you make of it in 3D.

I have to agree :)
I am keen on seeing more :D

09 September 2005, 01:07 PM
I think that your hardware configuration is enough for your spectacular concept.
From my point of view, you can make more dramatic feel using compositions with separate layers of your elements.

Keep going. Looks great to me.


09 September 2005, 02:07 PM
Yes quite a big undertaking,but interesting.I love sci-fi scenes.

Will keep an eye on it.

09 September 2005, 07:53 PM
Subscribing to this thread... can't wait to see more :)

09 September 2005, 10:22 AM
Concept was a little too small too see what's going on so I went and had a look at your Derelict image and WOW. I now have no doubt you can pull this off, subscribed.

09 September 2005, 01:04 PM
Hi buddy! Im checking in and wishing u best of luck! :) this will be interesting, I just hope that u'll manage to finish ur piece in time (knowing how busy u r).

09 September 2005, 04:11 PM
Thanks to all of you who have commented so far. I was rather busy with other work since the first sketch and now it's about time to go on.

First of all I must admit I don't neccessarily follow the systematic "conveyor belt" line of doing 3D as dictated by big studios - one of the greatest advantages of being "one man band" i.e. freelancer is that I can organize my line of work as it suits me best. So for me it is not unusual to sometimes go back to modelling if I find out that I'm not satisfied, even though the texturing or scene setting is already in progress etc. Or to start the project by creating the background and a panoramic reflection/ambient light map first - like in this case.

On the picture bellow one can see the background, probably but not neccessarily the final version of it, plus a detail from it below it. At the bottom of the picture there are six different test versions of the background.

I'm actually not using the sky generator that is built in the latest upgrade of the 3D program (Cinema 4D). I'm not saying it wouldn't be suitable, but I received the upgrade a week ago and haven't had enough time to get familiar with the sky/cloud generator module. So I created the clouds my usual, "manual" way - by using noise shaders combined with sub surface scattering on many parallel spheres and planes at different distances from the camera. The fog and haze are simply coloured volumetric lights with some deformed noise added, while the planets are textured geometry behind the cloud spheres. The two suns are volumetric lights as well. Despite the complex appearance the background scene is only about 400 KB in size.

I rendered all background test images to high dynamic format (HDR), so that I can experiment with different exposures later. I also created the whole 360 degree panorama of the scene (not shown here) - it will be used later for calculation of the reflections and the diffuse lighting.

I would be grateful for all constructive opinions regarding the background.
Besides that I'm also starting with the work on the model of the main building. It has not advanced far away yet - so I don't expect serious comments of it in this phase. The rough sketch and the first modelling phase are here just to prove that I'm working at it as well :)

If you can't see the images - it means the server is down - in such a case please try again later.

09 September 2005, 05:56 PM (

This is the version of the image that is going to be used as the background of the scene. For more info and more images please check the previous post in this thread.

09 September 2005, 06:33 PM
spectacular concept, good luck.:thumbsup:

09 September 2005, 05:34 AM
Finally an update! :beer:

I didn't know the new cinema had a sky generator. I'll have to check that out one day

10 October 2005, 02:15 PM (

The rough geometry of the main object is ready. It needs some small details, the other detailing will be done by texturing later.

I'm working on both modeling and setting up the scene, so I put the rough model of the building on the current version of the scene to get a clearer idea towards the final image.

The small buildings surrounding the main object are temporarily represented by simple cubuses. Every one of them will be replaced later by its fully modelled and textured counterpart.

Other things to do before moving on to texturing of the middle ground 1 objects is to replace the city pattern on the nearby moon with a bit more complex one and add some more details of the surface of the main building and some details of the middle ground (surrounding city blocks, flying vehicles, belonging to that ground etc.).

After all the work on the middle ground is completed and all its objects are fully modeled and textured, it will be added to the hdr background and the work on the middle ground 2 and 3 will follow, and finally on the foreground, that might include some aliens' figures (if I don't run out of time, that is... I'm doing this besides my regular commercial projects and thus manage to sleep for 3-4 hours/day...)

Would be grateful for any constructive opinion on the work done so far, thanks.

10 October 2005, 02:35 PM
• Looking good Daniel, you are getting close, good luck! :thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 02:38 PM
Nice work Big D, your technique for the sky is well executed. I think the new inbuilt sky feature for C4D needs subsurface scattering for the clouds to scatter light as your have done which looks very good. The building mass is shaping up wonderfully!

10 October 2005, 03:00 PM
That sure is a dramatic image already. I must keep an eye on this thread.

10 October 2005, 03:55 PM
I wouldn't call this ROUGH modelling. Nice work.

10 October 2005, 05:41 PM
Looks good! I would personally narrow the pallette down a bit. Also, the text around the edges is pretty distracting to seeing your image, but that´s just my opinion.

10 October 2005, 09:26 PM
@ Climax and Hoju: glad you like it.

@ Continuumx: I miss that, too, in the new, advanced Sky in C4D 9.5. I will not exclude the possibility to apply the same or at least a similar technique in it, though. I simply haven't found time to play with it yet.

@ suk-grigorij: well, some of the planned detailing of the main building are still missing. We mustn't forget that the final image will have resolution of some 3000 px or so along the longer side - so some more intense detailing is both a blessing and a penance :)...

@dvelasco: thank you for your suggestion regarding the colour palette - I agree with you, in the present state there's every part of the spectrum represented in the image :).
The intermediate green shade of the fog/haze will be the first to go as it is most distracting and unnatural - or it will be changed to yellow or orange. Generally, sunsets/sunrise scenes tend to have a predominant reddish/orange colour - but my using the WB correction in the HDR Shop changed that on the present background and all of the "hidden" colours appeared...
The text around the image is not ment as a part of the illustration. It is of temporary nature and it will not be present (or will be made less noticeable at least) in the final version of the image. Some bad experiences from the past had taught me to put some sort of a copyright mark on everything that I publish publicly, even on a mere sketch...

Thank you all for taking time to comment.

10 October 2005, 08:29 AM
Hi! I like your idea very much! And I think maybe to add one more source of light or sun (another colour) so as to light up the city in front?
Good luck!

10 October 2005, 01:09 PM
Atris, thank you for the suggestion. Actually I already thought about that option, but later I decided that both stars should be on the same side of the sky globe, close to each other. The distance between the actual two stars in the actual Mira binary system is approximately the distance between the Mars and the Sun, and one of them is huge - so I doubt that a Saturn-size gas giant with its moons would circle in between them without being shredded to pieces by gravity. It is much more probable, that planets in such a binary system would circle around the common gravity center of the two stars. So the stars would appear on the same part of the sky globe and close to each other to an observer on one of the planets or moons. That's why I decided to use only GI generated by the sky texture for lighting the shadows... it seems to be quite enough, thouh - especially considering the fact that shadowed parts of the building will feature lit windows etc.

10 October 2005, 01:12 PM
Somre really cool architecture and environment! I will follow this with interest - good luck :thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 04:01 PM
Spectacular!!! I really like the main building. And your sketch is a good source of inspiration. Keep it up!!

10 October 2005, 03:01 PM
@ Gunilla & Weider:

Thank you both for your good wishes and your time. I'm currently working on the smaller buildings surrounding the main one. I'll probably have an update here next week...

10 October 2005, 06:22 PM
hi Big D! I really like it. No special crits at the moment coz u know I dont have a clue about 3d so I'll be more helpfull at the end I hope, commenting overall feeling of the image. At this point I would just like to say that it looks a bit unstable, as if the building will fall to the right any minute, and that bothers me a bit. keep up the great work buddy!

10 October 2005, 09:27 PM
Very inspiring! Spectacularly calming effect.

10 October 2005, 03:47 AM
Waiting for more updates! :D

10 October 2005, 03:49 AM
This image is very interesting, great job.

10 October 2005, 07:38 AM
Hi there Big D,

since we both are doing a Cityscape picture i just had to write. I think your comp. looks ok so far, but i need sometihng in the front to make the city look as huge as you want it to be. I know at this point there still alot to do and as you said yourself detailing will come later. I think it would be really nice to get more life and dynamic in the picture, flying objects and so on. But i guess you have thought all that thrue...

Well, iam gonna follow your thread, maybe we can help each other out...


10 October 2005, 04:26 PM
looking Great!:thumbsup: the backgrounds very realistic. I think you should make some of the smaller buildings taller to make the big tower look a little more realistic. Maybe add some futuristic high-ways inbetween the buildings, and have one that extends to the to the front of you camera to show the city's size. keep going!:bounce:

10 October 2005, 05:14 PM
@ suk-grigorij: well, some of the planned detailing of the main building are still missing. We mustn't forget that the final image will have resolution of some 3000 px or so along the longer side - so some more intense detailing is both a blessing and a penance :)...

I'm agree with you.

10 October 2005, 06:15 PM
hey man great atmosphere and very cool escene:thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 07:06 PM
@ NinjaASSN:
Hi to you, buddy, as well! Glad to see you again in this thread. Thank you for the comment, I agree with you. The problem lies in too wide angle of the camera combined with its tilt.
Photographers use special, expensive ("shift") lenses to correct that when they don't want it (for example when photographing architecture). Or the function in Photoshop. Luckily, the 3D program that I'm using (Cinema 4D) has got the function built in. I'll use it on the final render (unless I find out that the corrected image looks less spectacular, that is...).
(Stari, če slučajno pobereva kakšno nagrado - v mojem primeru sicer skrajnje neverjetno, hehe -, to bo treba res primerno proslavit :) )

@ pluMmet, nemirc, banzato and melkao:
Thanks for your comments, glad you're satisfied so far...

@ larsgehrt:
Glad to see you here. Thank you for your suggestions. As I said, the foreground will be quite a bit detailed and there will be flying vehicles as well. I'll work on it in the final stages.

@ P&P:
Thank you as well. The idea of a motorway from the middle ground up to the front is excellent and I might try to implement something like that.

@ tavarish Sukhov:

10 October 2005, 10:31 PM (

I changed the moon city texture to something more convincing. The previous one was temporary and didn't have the desired look - it looked more like a crater impact. I hope the improved version is better i.e. more convincing.

10 October 2005, 10:36 PM
I think it was worth changing the mooncity texture, it's much more of an eyecather now :)
and it makes the viewer speculate about why there are those rings, maybe some kind of airports?... :)

10 October 2005, 11:21 PM
Very good effect! It looks like Coruscant lite ;)

10 October 2005, 07:55 AM
Thank you both for your comments. Nemirc, I won't deny that there are some distant similarities, I'm trying to learn from the best in the business:) . Yet I have no intention of copying other people's work or ideas, of course. The fact is, an enormous megacity would (probably) look something like that from space - so some similarities (or even better, asocciations) with other sci-fi work featuring a similar situation are unavoidable...:)

10 October 2005, 12:36 PM (

Working on the basic texturing of the main object and at the same time adding minor geometry details...

10 October 2005, 12:43 PM
The textures on the building is great-lets see more.

10 October 2005, 02:32 PM
nice details in the building you have, and good render:thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 05:05 PM
Textures and colors look great :)
Waiting to see more:thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 07:29 AM (

Working on the basic texturing of the main object and at the same time adding minor geometry details...

Very nice color mapping. The color mapping seems to be of a metal material but the specular seems to be of a stone/concrete. Just thought I'd through that out there as I love the color map and I know it's early :)

10 October 2005, 08:18 AM
The texturing is coming on well. I look forward to seeing the sky background behind the building; the colours seem to match up nicely.

10 October 2005, 11:55 AM
Thank you all who commented from the last update till now.

You're right, I better hurry since there's only 50 or some days left to deadline and I still have a lot of work on the scene.

@ plumMet:
that was actually my intention, to create an exotic material that would invoke associations both at concrete and metal. I must be carefull, though: if a material is too "exotic" it may appear unnatural and non-convincing. Most of that will be lost behind a good ammount of fog and haze, anyway... So there's not much sense in going deep into materials of the main object right now - I'd better hurry up with the rest of the scene and eventually add some final touches later if there'd be still some time left. The foreground will be the main "material playground":)

@ all:
I'll be back here probably tomorrow, with an update of the whole scene...

10 October 2005, 09:32 PM
Very nice!
Have you got plain idea how to make that buildings looks BIG? I mean, if something is too far and so big its still kinda out of focus. From this pict, that building looks small. And that "WOW" effect is very necessary for you - from my point of view. Try to make little test with background.
And the MOONCITY is great! :thumbsup:

have fun!

10 October 2005, 09:03 AM
cool work there Big D

nice modeling the futuristic object! and cool texturing there mate!
cheers and waiting for more !! :bounce: :bounce: !

10 October 2005, 05:47 PM
nice concept, nice modeling, and it is evolving in the right direction.
vlk sreče :thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 06:05 PM
Very outstanding theme and Model, Keep it up:thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 11:33 PM (

Being busy these days with the regular work. Nevertheless I managed to do a couple of things:

-The camera tilt is changed to straight horizontal and the lens shift option used in order to correct the "falling" perspective lines and still have the horizon line low.

-The presumably final lighting setup for the scene is made. It will still need some adjustments for the foreground later.

-I'm not satisfied with the clouds, so I temporarily turned them off. I'll see later in the final stage what to do about them as there's already too many elements on the sky and it is difficult to create a good composition. The scene seems rather "spectacular" even without them i.e. too much clouds seem to be rather distractive than useful for the purpose in this case. The clouds situation will be decided later, when the rest of the scene is complete.

-some experimental terrain added by deforming a plane with a grey bitmap, i.e. by "painting" the hills in the excellent texturing module of Cinema 4D (users of other 3D programs know it as a separate texturing software, Bodypaint 3D...) . The terrain texture is not yet final and is still far from good. I'll give it some more attention later.

-some details of the main building added, mainly windows etc.

As it seems in the next couple of weeks I'll hopefully have less regular work so'll hurry up with the rest of the scene. The foreground will be most demanding and I don't want to find myself in the situation that I'm unable to do it properly.

Thanks to all of you people who are following this project and who help me with your opinions and encourage me!

10 October 2005, 01:39 AM
comming along very nice. I dig the changes you have made and have to say no crit's. can't wait for what you have in store for the foreground. keep going!:bounce:

10 October 2005, 07:05 AM
Nice. Look good.

10 October 2005, 07:10 AM
Very nice, I like these space scenes, it makes me travel so far far away. Congrats man, nothing to crit, beautiful colors and models.

10 October 2005, 02:48 PM
Hey man! :wavey:

You have 2 suns? That's a good idea but the red big one looks like it's either too big or too close... besides it looks like it's about to explode :blush: . The fact that it has Saturn 2 right next to it makes it even weirder :curious:

Just my two cents ;)

As for the rest of the environment, it looks very cool ;)

10 October 2005, 03:11 PM
Nice work.

-I'm not satisfied with the clouds, so I temporarily turned them off.

I think the composition looks a lot better with out the clouds; it’s a lot less cluttered. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be there in the final version though.:)

10 October 2005, 01:24 PM
that's great, cant wait to see the final image!

10 October 2005, 06:09 PM
wow:eek: beautiful picture!, the escenary is just great:thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 10:56 PM
I know that you want big huge city horizon, but your last update looks spectacular as well. Huge construction in the middle of nowhere. Nice work so far :thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 12:07 AM
Heya, buddy! I've finally took the time (and a bit of courage as well), to give you some comments, as you asked. I've checked all the pictures you posted, but only a last image I shall say some humble words about for now.

I'm quite impressed about your work, as I've always been, even. Positioning of the elements seems nice; I know you are master of this. Maybe it looks a bit too technical; this is strictly my opinion, but I like the images that are not hundred percent precise. It gives them life, "žmoht" (Ye know what I mean, don't you?). Please, take this only as my opinion, cause I know your views at the all thing are most probably different: What about adding very small, weary character, that is impressed by the magnificent structure? Maybe it would ruin all the picture:blush: I don't know. But I know for my self that I would most probably think about that at the very beginning.
I really like your picture, even without all this mine rubbish, and I wish you a good luck. I hope we shall meet soon, indeed.
A boš ti mogoče pogledal kaj mojo sliko? Res bi rad tvoje mnenje ;)

11 November 2005, 10:11 PM

I like your tower, your univer!

But, I thing it misses a forground... We want see the human's life in your tower.

good job


11 November 2005, 10:50 PM
knock, knock? :shrug:

knock knock knocking on heaven's doors! :beer: :twisted:

11 November 2005, 11:52 AM
Hi! Just checking how you're doing... Nice progress... I like the concept! :thumbsup:

11 November 2005, 05:16 PM
Looking forward to the final!

11 November 2005, 09:52 PM
whas up mano. long time no see.update ya work man. love to see it.chill

12 December 2005, 01:26 AM (

This is not the final image yet. I still have to replace the temporary flying vehicles (already prepared in different file), add a lot of details, some clouds (definitely not the initial overclouded skies!) and a couple of objects. I have got still 22 hours to go - and that should be enough.

Due to the unexpected amounts of regular work I haven't managed to prepare the illustration exactly according to the original idea, especially the foreground and the detailing. Anyway I think I'll have a decent-looking illustrations a couple of hours before the midnight - suitable for the competition here.

After the Spectacular deadline closes I'll continue with the work on the second version of the illustration, till I'm satisfied with it (I guess I'd need another week or two to reach the concept that I had imagined.)

Thanks to all of you who gave me useful feedback here! I'll be back with the final version later.

12 December 2005, 02:24 AM
Hey Daniel,

Nice looking image so far, the added details you talked about should bring more interest to the image. Good luck with the deadline.

12 December 2005, 11:35 PM (

The Mira system is a binary star system, consisting of one hot white dwarf and one cold red giant star. Both stars rotate about their common gravity centre, close to each other and five planets rotate around them. One of them is a gasseous planet G'geel. One of its moons hosts, besides its dominant life form, the giant bat-like flying reptiles, a mining colony, founded by members of the Thegg race. On another G'geel's moon there's a large Thegg city.

This postcard depicts a spectacular sunrise as seen from the minig colony. Both moons are at the moment at a close distance to each other and at the right side of the G'geel planet so that both the planet and the moon can be seen above the horizon, close to the suns.

12 December 2005, 11:50 PM
Hey Daniel,

Congrats on finishing this image , it is a stunning image:thumbsup: . Good luck.

12 December 2005, 12:01 AM
mmoir, thank you! I managed to finish it and upload it half an hour before the deadline.

As I said, due to regular work I was not able to do all the detailing and texturing etc. as I intended, so I'm planning to do another version of the image for my own reference/pleasure later.

12 December 2005, 12:28 AM
Good luck from me as well!

(Držim pesti zate)

12 December 2005, 12:34 AM

Thank you.

(Hehe, glede na to, da se zadeva ni odvila, kot sem pričakoval, in glede na kakovostno udeležbo, mislim, da ni za se bati, da bom kaj zadel. Sam sem predvsem vesel, da sem se tokrat sploh udeležil. Hvala vseen za lepe želje :) Se bereva / slišiva pa upam tud dobiva ob kakšni pijači.)

12 December 2005, 12:50 AM
yay! u made it! congratulations man, I was affraid for a moment that u'll once again have too much projects for ur clients, but what a relief now :D Im missing one spaceship or something in the first plan entering the image so it would be easier for the viewer to travel thru the pic and the pic itself would be even a bit more dynamic. However, the image looks brilliant the way it is as well and I must say that its one of the best I've seen from u till now (damn... Im really missing something more dynamic in here :) even something smaller .. in the first plan.. donno) good luck buddy!

12 December 2005, 01:02 AM
Ninja thank you and I agree with your suggestion. As I said, this is the CG Challenge version and the work on the illustration goes on :).

12 December 2005, 06:28 PM
sej ne bom, bom pa lepo dokončal kkr sem mel v mislih, pa pol objavu. Zmatralo me je delo samo ob vikendih, ker nisem mel PC-ja čez teden :D

Good luck :thumbsup:

12 December 2005, 08:33 PM
Hi! Very nice work. Too bad u couldn't bring in all the details b4 the deadline. but congratulations cos what u have here is really looking great. Hope to see scene updated with more details soon :)

12 December 2005, 11:38 PM

(študentski lajf, huh? Poznamo, poznamo... No, komaj čakam, da vidim, kako se bo zadeva razvila :cool: )


Thank you, man. Already working on. The quality of the sent work in both the 3D and 2D sections is impressive, though!

12 December 2005, 12:49 AM
I was wondering when you were going to show up :beer:
Very nice image ;) :thumbsup:

12 December 2005, 02:09 AM
nemirc, thanks for dropping by!

12 December 2005, 03:04 PM
congratulations for finish:scream:

12 December 2005, 07:41 PM
Hey, great scene Big D. Very good work! Good luck.

12 December 2005, 09:13 PM
Thank you, guys!

01 January 2006, 06:50 PM
I have to say, I had a great time and learned alot reading through this thread. Amazing modeling and texturing.:)

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