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3D solar system flythrough

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Simon Davis3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 4:59:42 pm


I'm working on a special effects sequence for a short film. I'm trying to do a 3D fly through of several planets in the solar system starting with the Sun, flying past it to see the Earth getting larger, flying past that, then to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. I've got some great looking textures of these planets using CC Sphere with some Glow etc. What I want to do is set it up with a background of stars, so the camera goes past each planet and the stars in the backgound appear to move as the camera shifts position to fly around the solar system.

I'm finding this difficult. Should I set up the planets and move the camera and somehow keep putting in a starfield background? Should I keep the camera mainly still and move the planets and keep a static starfield background? I thought of making a a large spherical starfield and putting the camera and planets inside - I don't think this will work.

Any ideas?



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Dave LaRondeRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:03:26 pm

[Simon Davis] "I'm finding this difficult...."

Well, that's no surprise. Does this need to look as realistic as possible? Then don't use AE. Use a proper 3D application.

Remember the old adage: use the right tool for the job.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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Simon DavisRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 5:22:57 pm

It doesn't need to look especially realistic and I'm very happy with the look of it. The problem is the starfield background. I could spend time getting into the intricacies of something like Blender, but I feel I'm almost there with AE.

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Walter SoykaRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 6:15:39 pm

You can use a particle system like Trapcode Particular or CC Particle World that is aware of the comp camera to generate your starfield.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events

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Chris ButtacoliRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 6:26:39 pm

I think your large "spherical" starfield is the right way to go. Just remember that these stars are extremely far away, so your starfield is going to have to be pushed back from the camera to the max amount and scaled up accordingly. There is a plug-in from Red Giant called Horizon that would help. Or check out the tutorials from Carl Larsen "Building a Cube World 1-4".

Here's the link to part 1:

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Michael SzalapskiRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 9:13:57 pm

Particular (from Trapcode) actually has a couple of presets for HD starfields that work quite well without tweaking as long as your camera doesn't do too much movement on any of the axis. Or you can use Horizon which will probably even better.
If you don't have either of these plugins there are ways to do similar things with CC Particle World.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Simon BonnerRe: 3D solar system flythrough
by on Feb 6, 2010 at 2:28:03 am

Hi Simon,

Sounds like you could use Maltaannon's tutorial on how to build a skybox.

Simon Bonner

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