Sci-Fi Space Craft Landing Scene
I created this scene over a few evenings in my spare time, and I am very happy with the results. I haven’t done a lot of VFX/Composited shots so it also helped polish up some good habits for me.
I saw a sci-fi wallpaper image online that inspired me to make this scene. I did a little bit of prep work and used PureRef to collect some reference images together. I should have spent a little more time at this point and it would have made the process a little easier and likely improved the end result. Although as mentioned this was just a short side project and I am happy with the result.
MODELS / ENVIRONMENT:
The environment assets I used were from some Kitbash3D kits I had purchased some time ago and the craft was purchased from CG trader. So I didn’t need to model anything for this scene, and could move straight into building the scene.
This part didn’t take that long and I had the scene ready in about 5 to 6 hours (including the prep work) and it could have been done quicker, but spent a bit of time finalising the composition.
Initially there was going to be some skyscrapers in the background, but that just wasn’t working well – so I moved to a ground shot and some street level buildings. But used a shallow focus so the background is slightly out of focus and this helped focus the subject of the image on the space craft.
For the rain, adding rain drops to all the objects would have been a time consuming process, but I found a fantastic addon for blender (Baga Rain Generator) that once installed you can simply click an object and it will add rain and rain drops to it. I did this for a few select objects and it covered the scene well.
I also purchased another addon that adds water trails to surfaces and simple added the node into the crafts materials and it worked well.
Finally I added one further particle system and a plane on the ground to which I added dynamic paint to simulate rain drops and ripples on the ground.
The fog is simply a cube with a volumetric material added to it.
The lighting consists of a HDRI of a street from New York and some planes with emission shaders added that I placed above and under the craft. There is a point light to the side of the craft that I changed to a red colour to add some variation and added a couple of point lights in the background.
Exporting/Rendering was by far was one of the longest processes in making this scene. It total it took about 12 to 14 hours, although there were a few parts that I tweaked and re-rendered.
I rendered the scene as a PNG image sequence, although if I have used EXR I likely could have gotten a slightly better quality and more options in colour correcting. But I wanted a format that rendered a little quicker and was a bit lighter to edit. The one mistake I did make was that I should have rendered out layers of the scene and not just the scene as one whole sequence. This is standard operating procedure in VFX and compositing and has many different benefits and sometimes necessities when working with video and CG.
Also I was not able to easily have colour correction control over different parts of the scene. E.g. The background, midground and foreground and the space ship. So I could not easily edit the background colours or made it lighter or darker. Still I will remember this for next time!
EDITING and COMPOSITING:
The whole scene was edited and composited in Davinci Resolve Studio.
I found some great rain overlays from a VFX site called fxelements.com and I overlaid these into the scene. One overlay in specific was some distant heavy rain being blown in the wind and this worked really well. It added some additional realism to the scene.
I also found a free video of code that I used at the end of the video.
Key habits I polished in this process:
- When doing any VFX or for that matter any 3D scene use the view render layers and Holdout toggles. This is not a ‘nice to have’ and should be done as standard. It makes everything so much easier to edit and colour correct with compositing the final video.
- Blender has an option for changing the samples per view layer – so the craft could be 1000 samples and the background could be 150.
- Finally always take care and prep well.
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