(…)it is useful for beginners and pros alike to see how other artists achieve certain results. These tutorials are only intended to be guides as you work through new processes and challenges. Upon these building blocks, you must add experimentation and a great deal of practice(…)
Solar Voyager hosts what in my opinion is the net’s best collection of tutorials on crafting realistic space scenes by means of 2D techniques. Most of them are focused on different approaches to rendering planets of all sorts, but fortunately there are several other articles which cover a broad field of subjects, from nebulae to asteroids to truly impressive star fields. As you’ll soon realize, following the articles will be a lot easier if you have Photoshop, since that´s the tool of choice in most of them; however, I’m sure that there’s no effect that you can’t achieve by using other programs, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Besides from the tutorials, you should pay some to time to visit the rest of Solar Voyager, which covers all branches of space art: you´ll surely be surprised by the quantity and quality of many of the works shown!
The next evolution will be leaner and meaner, with some cool features you might not expect.
Dave Kerr has released an update of aiplanet, the open source dynamic ecosystem simulation. Furthermore, he has also announced that a new version is in the works, one that, in his own words, will be “a radical improvement on the first version”. He is working on a new engine, called AIR, which will add new features and make development much easier. Aiplanet V2 will probably take many months to be released, but it is already very good news to know that new work is being done.
Besides this announcement, it also worths to read the interview that Tom Barbalet, from Biota, made to Dave just a few days ago. The interview gives an excellent overview not only on the underlining principles behind aiplanet, but also on the development process of an amateur project. Continue reading Aiplanet: back on air
The human brain is specialized in finding patterns and shapes; that’s why we recognize the faces of people we know, organize time in regular cycles, and also why it is so difficult to make a convincing seamless loop of ambient sound from a short recording. A side effect of this ability is that we often find patterns where there are not, like when we look at the clouds and see dragons, lambs or synthesizers.
However, while nobody would say that a cloud is actually a dragon, other things are more controversial. Is it really a face what the Viking orbiter photographed over the surface of Mars? I guess that the safe answer is that it looks like a face, though some people have taken the issue much further.
This said, I would like to share two findings that quite surprised me a few days ago. These are satellite images of two spots on Earth, as found in google maps and windows live local. I have asked some people for their opinion, and while some of them stared at the images the same way I did, others didn’t see anything at all, so I won’t bias you (or your imagination) by telling what you’re supposed to find. I´m most impressed about the first one, since the surroundings of the “feature” are very interesting too (I’ll just say that you may find it better by tilting your head to the right).
A pulsar is a highly magnetised neutron star, with a radius of 10-15 km, having somewhat greater mass than the Sun which has a radius of approximately 1 million km. Radiation is beamed out along the magnetic poles and pulses of radiation are received as the beam crosses the Earth, in the same manner as the beam from a lighthouse causes flashes.
Saturn is a source of intense radio emissions, which have been monitored by the Cassini spacecraft. The radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of the planet. These auroras are similar to Earth’s northern and southern lights. This is an audio file of radio emissions from Saturn.
POM is the short for Petit Objet Musical, that is, a Little Musical Object (…)They are offered as landscapes or “living sculptures”(…)I record typically two to three minutes as to get a detailed image of all the nuances in the sound, but these are only windows into conceptually infinite pieces.
For most people, the thought of going into space and exploring such sights is an impossible dream. But no longer; Noctis allows you to do just that.
Warning(1): if you only like games with luscious graphics, surround sound and the like, this game is not for you.
Noctis is a space exploration game which relies much more on your imagination than on your computer’s graphics card. This fact, and also that the controls are difficult to understand in the beginning, will discourage many from trying it. However, those adventurous people who aren’t afraid to put something of their own in the game will embark on an amazing journey into the realms of the unknown. There’s a peculiar sensation which accompanies the traveller when finding a planet to which no one has ever been before, releasing the pod and landing, to be finally confronted with a surreal landscape of vivid, silent colors, spattered with odd trees and animals; when walking along the shores of vast seas, along the walls of vast ruins; when drifting among endless words of endless stars…
I personally don’t mind that this game looks as though it is from another era. It is, literally, another universe. And even though I wish there was some investor out there that could help it develop to its full potential, and I dream on how a crossbreed between Noctis and Mojoworld or Bryce would look like, I just love it the way it is.
Warning(2): if you plan on trying the game, be sure to update your imagination’s drivers 😉
Even though its development seems to have been stagnated for quite a long time, aiplanet is still a delicious piece of software which will always be worth downloading. The initial screen shows an empty blue sphere (actually covered by some water and an atmosphere too), which can be transformed into a living ecosystem by raising land, planting trees and placing animals on it. Are your oceans empty? just add some fish. Too much fish already? let the shark do its work. You can make all sorts of experiments in and with your small planet, from draining the ocean to flooding the lands, from modifying the climate to smashing asteroids (unless you place a missile defense, that is). All of this results in an experience which is half documentary, half game, and all fun. Thanks Dave, and good luck with your music!.