Ultra realistic starfields

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Old 07 July 2013   #1
Ultra realistic starfields

Hi all,

I wondered if you could help. When I see star-fields of old, in old films such as Star Wars etc. They have such a tremendous depth. I know how you create a star field in Cinema 4D but I think we will all agree it doesn't look good.

My question is, how do I create a realistic, Deep Space scene. With that real 2001 vibe of being right out in Deep space?

Cheers
 
Old 07 July 2013   #2
Post what you got in either the C4D forum or in the WIP forum.

Specific questions lead to specific answers.

I know how you create a star field in Cinema 4D but I think we will all agree it doesn't look good.
I disagree. It's not the tool, it's the user.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #3
for empire strikes back i seem to recall one of the ilm staff (joe johnston rings a bell) spent several days pricking holes into a black cyclorama with a pin. this was then back lit and filmed using their motion control camera.

the problem you have is that there is no such thing as a real starfield, photographically speaking in space you wouldn't see stars if you are exposing for a ship or astronaut lit by a sun.

current methodologies seem to tend towards the hyper-real, throwing in glows, nebulae, etc. you can't get a good idea for what this style choice looks like in the end credits for both the rebooted star trek and thor. i also quite like the style used on danny boyles sunshine for the ship exteriors.

cheers, simon w.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #4
I remember Lightwave used to have an "Actual Stars" object that was a Sphere of points created from an astronomical data base.
Also Dan Mass still sells the Starpro plugin for After effects, Nuke and Lightwave.

A couple of tricks you may think about is make the Stars a very large sphere. Make sure the points are spread out from the interior of the sphere to the outside.
The parallax from the closer stars to the outside will give you a sense of depth.
Also try varying the lens size of the camera and see what a long lens lens like 100mm gives you.

Try to avoid using Global illumination. Unless it's near Earth orbit real space lighting is usually very bright and harsh.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #5
Random and stationary sphereical particles can work too.
But if your camera moves you have to be careful that the smallest/most distant ones don't 'wink out' on random frames because they aren't always large enough in frame to be 'drawn'. Make them all at least a couple of pixels
large.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #6
Originally Posted by Simon Wicker: for empire strikes back i seem to recall one of the ilm staff (joe johnston rings a bell) spent several days pricking holes into a black cyclorama with a pin. this was then back lit and filmed using their motion control camera.


I believe it was a curved piece of plexiglas for SW.

The really interesting starfield seen in the second Trek movie in 1982, the stuff with all that depth in the opening credits, was done by going to a planetarium that had an Evans & Sutherland system for projecting starfields. Scott Farrar I believe shot the stuff, which took a long time to do exposure wise, and supposedly GL was pissed when he saw it, saying why don't we have starfields like that in the SW movies. (I think the old AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER on ST2 covers this.)

I seem to remember than an early problem with digital stars was getting them to not look strobey when they got panned through a shot, so you had to dim the point as it moved. Pretty sure John Knoll addresses this someplace in a mag article, probably around the time of STAR TREK GENERATIONS.
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Old 07 July 2013   #7
Hi trevanian, Yes, I saw that. That is exactly the vibe i want. Can you expand on how he shot this? Do you know the method used? I think im going to try and do it in-camera on 35mm. Do you need long exposure if your shooting 500T with Master Primes 1.3?
 
Old 07 July 2013   #8
Gutted Cinefex didn't cover Wrath of Khan :(
 
Old 07 July 2013   #9
Originally Posted by Michael32766: I remember Lightwave used to have an "Actual Stars" object that was a Sphere of points created from an astronomical data base.
Also Dan Mass still sells the Starpro plugin for After effects, Nuke and Lightwave.

A couple of tricks you may think about is make the Stars a very large sphere. Make sure the points are spread out from the interior of the sphere to the outside.
The parallax from the closer stars to the outside will give you a sense of depth.
Also try varying the lens size of the camera and see what a long lens lens like 100mm gives you.

Try to avoid using Global illumination. Unless it's near Earth orbit real space lighting is usually very bright and harsh.


Heh, there was this story about Starpro being used in the production of Battlestar Galactica, some viewers noticed the constellations depicted by the plugin and tried to analyze the starfield to find out where in the universe the Galactica fleet was located.

Well it ended up with some of them being pissed because the starfield generated is only accurate if viewed from Earth

http://darthmojo.wordpress.com/2009...he-wrong-stars/
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Old 07 July 2013   #10
Originally Posted by philiet: Gutted Cinefex didn't cover Wrath of Khan :(


They had an article written, it was just too bad for them to publish. I was there for a couple years and spent the whole time trying to get Don to let me at least read it, without success.
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"achievement is its own reward -- pride obscures it."

- Major Garland Briggs
TWIN PEAKS
 
Old 07 July 2013   #11
Originally Posted by philiet: Hi trevanian, Yes, I saw that. That is exactly the vibe i want. Can you expand on how he shot this? Do you know the method used? I think im going to try and do it in-camera on 35mm. Do you need long exposure if your shooting 500T with Master Primes 1.3?


Just checked online and while that issue is referenced on a couple sites, nobody seems to have written the whole thing up anywhere.

I don't have that issue of AC anymore (have gone through about 4 of them over the years), but I think they shot the stars off a monitor at a very slow rate. If they were shooting off the planetarium ceiling, they'd've had to be exposing for hours per frame. They only had 100 speed or 200 speed stock, and I'm sure the lenses weren't anywhere near as fast. They shot almost everything vistavision, so there wasn't an anamorphic aspect to address. You could probably ebay the magazine, I'm sure it goes into some detail.
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"achievement is its own reward -- pride obscures it."

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Old 07 July 2013   #12
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