#59: SHADOWS & LIGHT (Vue)
#58: ADVANCED DIRT MAPPING (Vue)
#57: SSS IN VUE 9, AND THE "SPECKLE" PROBLEM
#56: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL OF ART
#55: FIXING POSER CLOTHING
#54: MAKING "FOREST WAR - GOBLIN SHAMAN"
#53: MAKING A STUDIO RENDER FOR VUE
(and other apps)
#49: NEBULA MKIII (Vue)
#48: RENDER SETTINGS FOR VUE (Vue)
#47: POSTWORK - MAKING A RENDER INTENSE (Any)
#46: MAKING RIVERS THAT FOLLOW TERRAIN HEIGHTS (Vue or Bryce)

CLOSE-UP ASTEROID RING IN VUE

A common feature of space scenes, is an asteroid ring orbiting a planet.
Now, if you are making a close-up scene, you do not need the whole ring! ;) Remember, that everything in a scene costs "resources", if you use a massive ring object full of hundreds of thousands of rock objects in an ecosystem, that's a waste of resources, if you can't see most of the ring.
Also, you cannot adjust it so easily for your small section of scene: it's a whacking great ring, and the resource count can slow things up.

However, there's an easier way to do it ;) Note: this does require the use of a 3D modelling package if you want precision, but there is a work around with just using Vue and a 2D paint package. Since I'm so nice, I've provideed you with a freebie 3D ribbon object to start from, though: hey, it's Christmas! :p

ASTEROID SUNRISE
an image where i used the following technique to create the asteroid ring

Asteroid Sunrise small



This technique uses a 3D mesh "ribbon", to form the object on which an ecosystem of rocks will be created. The curvature gives a nice sense of perspective and distance as it curves away into the background.

Now, I'll try and explain how I created that in Rhino3D and a possible Vue creation method, other modelling packages can certainly make them too, but all use different methods.

In Rhino3D, I created a cylinder, I "Extracted" all the surfaces, deleted the top and bottom of the cylinder. Then I used a cube to split off and remove most of the outside ring of the cylinder, leaving me with an arc, like the outside of a tin can, split. I exported this as an .obj file, and imported into Vue.

There is a way to create such in Vue, but less precisely: in a 2D paint package, make a square image, say 1000x1000 pixels, apply a gradient across it, going from black, to white in the middle, to black at the other end. Save the image out (prefferably as 16 bit .tif or .tga, which allows more colours, and thus, more precision).
In Vue, apply this image to a Terrain ("Picture") to create a curving terrain, make the terrain about 1024x1024 size.
Edt the terrian, click the TERRAIN OPTIONS button, drag down and select SKIN ONLY, this means only the surface of the terrain object will exist.
You should now have a curving, flat terrain surface! ;) (Note you may need to invert the image, as Vue usually reverses how black and white should work, sigh).

CURVE MESHES "RIBBONS" INSIDE VUE, SHOWING THE ECOSYSTEM ON IT.
I made two versions of the object, and found one worked better than the other, as I "UV mapped" the final one, lower and broader one, better.


After scaling the ribbon object to suit your scene's requirement, you need to make it invisible, as you don't want it to be seen in the actual render.

MAKING RIBBON OBJECT INVIISIBLE

invisible material


Next, add a new material layer, this will be the ecosystem with rocks. Make the underlying material be "Invisible" same as the ribbon. It works better if the ecosystem is on a seperate layer, from my experiments.

Driving the ecosystem, so as to create a believeable asteroid field, takes a bit of tweaking in the material editor, sorry! ;)

Name your new layer ROCKS, or whatever, select "Ecosystem" as Type. This is where it gets complicated, but not too complicated, don't worry, hey, it has to make sense to my "386" brain, so should be ok for you! :D

The plan is to make the asteroid rocks vary in size and distance from the base ribbon object, in a random size amount, but within a certain limit of distance from the object. Note that these settings will vary depending on your scene! But are a good start.

Also important to note is I built my scene's ship model to exact real size, so it was quite large, and the asteroid field was scaled for that, but I ended up scalling the ship down a lot to look better...it's always a case of tweaking to get things looking good!

Took me a lot of fiddling and tweaking to get these settings, you of course can try other ways and amounts.

There are two required systems needed: one for density of the asteroid field, the other for how far from the ribbon object they extend.

DENSITY FUNCTION OF THE ROCKS LAYER

Note: select "Proportional to size of instance"

CLOSE UP OF DENSITY FUNCTION

OVER ALL ECOSYSTEM DENSITY AND OFFSET FUNCTIONS

DENSITY VALUE FUNCTION

Scale set large as these asteroids are going to be enormous lumps of rock, as the ship is close to them. If your ship is larger or further away, make the scale smaller

DENSITY: ADVANCED TURULENCE SETTING
Add for more variation, connected to ORIGIN of Simple Fractal

DENSITY BRIGHTNESS CONTRAST FUNCTION

To boost density, connected to GAIN input of Simple Fractal

DENSITY SIMPLE FRACTION FUNCTION


DENSITY FILTER FUNCTION

DENSITY MULTIPLY FUNCTION


OFFSET FROM SURFACE FUNCTION SIMPLE FRACTAL

OFFSET FROM SURFACE FUNCTION

Note large Multiply number is required


SIDE-ON VIEW OF THE PARTIAL ASTEROID RING
PS, note Vue can let you make high altittude planet renders, subject for another tutorial, I guess! ;)

Note: thanks to various folks over the years, who've worked on asteroid fields in Vue, on Renderosity and other sites :)
Back in 2005, "Phoul" (Phillipe Bouyer) posted on such on Renderosity and me and Wabe and Phoul beavered away on how to get asteroid fields working.

http://www.renderosity.com/mod/forumpro/showthread.php?thread_id=2295527&page=1

Fun! :)

I hope you find this of use! :)

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All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012