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Thread: A tour of the Solar System

  1. #1

    Default A tour of the Solar System

    I recently worked on an ad for a fictitious space travel agency called Solar Expeditions. One shot called for an animated map of an upcoming cruise itinerary. Attached is the final frame of that map, and the full sequence can be viewed here:

    This sequence was created in Maya 2009. The planetary textures are all public domain images provided by NASA. The star field is a Maya particle system, and the sun is a combination of a fluid simulation and an animated fractal texture. I used some solar system calculator or another to determine what the planetary positions would be on… I think it was April 4th or something in 2060? Anyway, I then calculated four months worth of motion and animated accordingly.

    I had intended to add some callouts for points of interest along the route, but we were running out of time to get our shots in, so they never made it in. Perhaps after I graduate I'll find time to bring the whole piece up the standards I wanted to see. In the meantime, it lacks somewhat the elements you'd expect to see in a finished map. And if anyone wants to complain about the lack of a scale bar, well… This map is not to scale; I tried to do it that way at first, but the distances involved are, naturally, astronomical, and they made everything somewhat impossible to see. Likewise, the dotted line isn't really timed to scale, either.

    If you're interested in seeing the entire commercial, it can be viewed here: That dude at the reception desk with the cheesy smile is yours truly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Neat stuff Midgard...
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    That's very cool. I love the map coming up from behind the desk - very slick.

  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Must have taken quite some time to do that, cool map.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)

    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

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  6. #6


    Thanks for the kinds words. The ad took four people about three months, and we spent way more time on it than on any of our other classes. Completely synthetic environments are a lot of work, even if you're not trying to make them photorealistic. I definitely have a much higher regard for the folks that make Sanctuary.

    Maybe I should make a real deck plan for that ship at some point. The one that appears in the ad is merely the result of a find edges filter to make it look "blueprinty."
    Last edited by Midgardsormr; 07-26-2010 at 01:00 PM.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  7. #7
    Community Leader Gidde's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Michigan, USA


    That full ad is fantastic. Well done, Mid!!

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