Space Suite: Artist Animates Cassini and Hubble Images to Visualize the Universe

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 - 11:26AM
NASA
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 - 11:26AM
Space Suite: Artist Animates Cassini and Hubble Images to Visualize the Universe

Realistic animation of space is all the rage these days, but even so, this beautiful video stands out among the pack. Visual effects artist Lucas Greene created this video as a proof-of-concept for a larger project, taking real NASA images and using some "simple 3-D tricks" in order to portray outer space phenomena such as the Milky Way, Jupiter's red spot, Saturn's hexagonal wind, and more.

 

 

He also posted a detailed breakdown of his favorite shots from the video. First, he described the making of Saturn's polar vortex, a strange six-sided jet stream on Saturn that is thought to be unique in the universe: "I found a timelapse sequence of images taken by the Cassini space probe from directly above the polar hexagon, showing the enormous vortex swirling slowly over a period of several hours."

 

Here is the original time lapse: 

Space

[Credit: NASA]

 

And here are all the shots in the time lapse laid out sequentially:

Space

[Credit: Lucas Green]

 

"Twixtor was used to stretch these eight short frames into a seamlessly smooth 240-frame long animation, which was then layered onto my 3d model of Saturn. Once it was lined up with the photography, the animated polar hexagon element was then blended into the rest of the shot."

 

Space

[Credit: Lucas Green]

 

Here is the final shot, which includes animation of the hexagonal wind in the video:

 

Space

[Credit: Lucas Green]

 

For the shot of the mountain in the center of Tycho, an impact crater on our moon, the source photograph (below) "was projected onto a low-resolution 3d model of the landscape in Maya."

 

Space

[Credit: NASA]

 

Here's a short video of the production of the shot:

 

 

And finally, the shot of the surface of Saturn's moon Iapetus was created from this NASA image:

 

Space

[Credit: NASA]

 

In order to create this shot, Green "sculpted out ridges and craters in Mudbox and staged the scene in Maya. One of the happy side-effects of working off real photographs is that the 3d model inherits the light and shadows of the photograph being projected onto it, so there is no need to worry about placing lights in your scene."

 

IapetusLandscape from Lucas Green on Vimeo.

Science
Space
NASA
Astronomy
Space Imagery

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