a gallery of computer-generated images

Sky Mining


A skimmer rig in the outer reaches of a gas giant's atmosphere, high above the cloud tops: a toxic and explosive mixture of hydrogen and ammonia at a hundred degrees below zero Celsius, winds gusting at three hundred kilometres per hour, and the remorseless tug of the giant planet's massive gravity - one of the most dangerous working environments in the universe, especially for the working crews that have to leave the lifesystem to carry out essential maintenance on the refinery decks.

A little poetic license here: I can't really imagine a scenario in which some kind of floating rig flying above a gas giant would make practical sense, still less one in which anyone foolish enough to step outside (even in a spacesuit) could possibly move around or accomplish useful work in several G's and a four-hundred knot headwind. Nevertheless, this was the idea I had in mind when I began this image. As usual, it didn't work out quite the way I envisaged, but it will do.

The platform and piping are constructed out of Bryce primitives. Lots of Bryce primitives. Booleans are used where required to punch holes in things. The figures on deck are, of course, Poser 2 figures imported as Wavefront OBJ objects and textured with a texture map made in PhotoShop. The bollards at the forward end of the deck and the helmets of the crew were made using the Free Form Modeller in Ray Dream Studio. The whole floats somewhere above an infinite cloud plane.

The citation isn't really relevant, but on the other hand, it's rather inevitable.


Photoshop 4
Bryce 3D
Ray Dream Studio 5
Poser 2
Fractal Design