a gallery of computer-generated images

Have you seen the saucers?


There were two sources of inspiration for this image. One was an email exchange with my friend Saffron who uses Bryce to create austere, elegant scenes populated by sunsets and stylish, stylised flying saucers (the perfect opposite of the lumpy, noisy spaceships I tend to make). The other was an article in, of all things, Popular Mechanics, which described one of the wackier US Cold War projects, to create a nuclear-powered flying saucer.

Working from the "artist's impression" in the article, I used Carrara's Vertex Modeller to create something which looked (very) vaguely like the spacecraft shown. The finished model (which is relatively simple, and not all that convincing when seen in isolation) was exported as a Wavefront OBJ, remapped using UVMapper, and imported into Bryce.

In Bryce, I set the saucer flying above a cloud plane and used one of the standard skies to make a bright sun and blue sky. A mountain poking above the clouds filled one half of the picture nicely, and a second terrain (this time below the cloud plane) provided the necessary balance.

I painted a texture map for the saucer using Photoshop, and also made a separate reflection map for the cockpit glass. A nearby radial light brings out some of the detail without exposing too many of the defects of the model. To make things more interesting, I used a texture that I'd created earlier to bump map the surface of the saucer.


Carrara 1.1
Bryce 4
Photoshop 5.0.2