Spectacular 3D Entry: Daniel Lovas


Daniel Lovas is entered in the “Spectacular Challenge” update: View Challenge Page

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


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!


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 :slight_smile:
I am keen on seeing more :smiley:


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.



Yes quite a big undertaking,but interesting.I love sci-fi scenes.

Will keep an eye on it.


Subscribing to this thread… can’t wait to see more :slight_smile:


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.


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


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 :slight_smile:

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


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.


spectacular concept, good luck.:thumbsup:


Finally an update! :beer:

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


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.


• Looking good Daniel, you are getting close, good luck! :thumbsup:


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!


That sure is a dramatic image already. I must keep an eye on this thread.


I wouldn’t call this ROUGH modelling. Nice work.


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.


@ 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.