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A short movie which is my entry for the Blender sci-fi competition dated April 2013 it is 1 minute in length and very loosely based on a part of Downbelow Station, an excellent novel by C.J.Cherryh. it also relates to a picture of the same name which I did about two years ago.


The text below was also used on the forum, and gives some detail about how it was made.

Hi, as promised a slightly fuller post this morning. (last night I couldn't get out of the house quick enough!).

I would like to say how much I enjoyed doing this and that I have appreciated the friendly comments, and the help that I have had, since this is the first piece that I have done since joining the Blender forums. I thought that I would give a little background to this project, and how it came about.

Firstly, I would not consider myself an expert with blender, not at all. There are so many things I do not (yet) understand about this programme, my grasp of physics is shaky, I am only beginning to get my head around particles, I have so far not created or rigged a human character, and with the advent of cycles there is a whole lot of new stuff to learn.

I was with this competition able to play to a few of my strengths.
Firstly, I am a sci-fi nut. I have read all the classics, and seen most of the movies good and bad, at lunchtime at work I tend to doodle spaceships, and weird bits of machinery, so producing the designs came easily.

The modelling was mostly done in edit mode, with some use of the subsurf modifier. (again, most of the modifiers remain a mystery, but I do intend to learn more about them).
I first used blender to produce static objects for the Oblivion game. Which goes some way to explaining my lo poly hi texture approach, this is one reason that I went with blender internal rather than cycles. I am learning cycles, and intend to use it, but there appears to be a limitation to the amount of textures that correspond to your gpu (1gb in my case), and rendering on the CPU is just too slow, I notice that a few people were worried that they simply wouldn't have enough time to render their animations out, even though in some cases they were using much more powerful computers than mine. By comparison, the longest render time I had was about 3 and a half minutes on a frame. This was another reason for sticking with the internal engine, as it also gave me the luxury of doing things twice if they went wrong. (and there were several instances of that).
Also as far as texturing goes, I have pretty solid grasp of that area, (though there are always new things to learn), And if there is one programme that I really do know it is photoshop.

I also always wanted to make a sci-fi movie, in fact I am making one, which is also a music video, It is my first Blender project, and I still haven't finished it (18 months and still going). So I had some familiarity with the use of cameras and camera constraints for this style of picture. I have been very careful not to use any of the models from that project however, even with fairly simple stuff like the stardome, that was all made from scratch.

Where textures are concerned, when I started, I intended to make all the textures for this project. That didn't quite happen, but I have seen from looking at other peoples work, that they have used stuff from cgi. com and the like, so as I ran out of time, I did use a couple of outside ones in the end, even here though, they were my own. Texturing has been an interest of mine, I even take my own photographs where necessary. There are probably about 80 discrete items of texturing (including heightmaps, and specularity maps, and stencil maps), of those about 90 percent were created for this project, the rest drawn from other work of mine, and 2 or three from outside. One of these is the planets surface, which was kindly given to me by Journeyman, even that I have modified, to suit my own ends. There is also a cloud picture from NASA which I used as a stencil, and a bit of steel plating,
if there are any others I can't remember, but I thought that I would mention these.

Finally there is the soundtrack, that was a lot of fun, I said earlier that I played to my strengths. I have been in rock band for 20 years, and do my own recording and producing, (again this is sort of high end amateur, I am a groundsman in my day job as it enables me to have the lack of stress to pursue all these hobbies). The whole thing was done yesterday, and I drew in my wife and my son, who both do drama, to do the voice characterisations, the music track was done in about 20 minutes, by noodling along to the video, and I did the voice of the panicky stationmaster.

Again here I used Sonar X1 as the editing tool, as I am unsure that blender allows this level of audio
manipulation, even if does, I wouldn't know how to go about doing it.

That’s it, it's a long post, I would like to have a stab at winning, but only if it is fair, so I have posted this, with as much info as I can remember. And if I've stepped outside of the rules, then that's too bad. Whether |I do well or not, (And there are some really talented people on this forum!), I have to say that I have had an incredible amount of fun doing this project, and I hope it won't be the last!
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gothingarn Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014
I love this!!!
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
you might like to have a look at this too…
SpecterCody Featured By Owner May 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Oh wow that was pretty neat to watch. That spinning ring station was just great :) Great work!
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
This was a lot of fun to do!
discotechnology Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014
This is closer to ever seeing a true 'Downbelow Station' movie than I ever hoped to see.  I'm a huge fan of the Alliance-Union universe and this is awesome!
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
It would make a far better movie than most of the so called sci-fi of the last few decades, I'm afraid star wars has a lot to answer for.
discotechnology Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
Amen.  Wouldn't mind seeing the long-thought-extinct beast called "Writing" make a comeback in the wilds of cinema.
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
hoover306 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013

not quite how I pictured a 3 km warship docking at pell station - still,I woild like to have seen the great "space vanes"

being deployed from Norway---amazing conceptualization even so-I am in awe of your raw talent and expect to see

more fantastic futures being made "real" by yourself!!check out John Ringo's "live free or die"-heading for a cult

following with as yet no imagery to further inspire fans---someone with class should dream that world, and I believe

thats you!!good luck on your next works--hey,is that name a part of winterborn by the crux...?

hoover306 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013
Sapiento Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
Thank you
Celtezon Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Pretty cool little sci fi animation short. Got some great animation and the good start to a story. I don't know the work it is loosely based on unfortunately. I would recommend de-glossing the metallic textures a bit though.
CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013
The deadline for the competition was tight, and in retrospect, there is loads of stuff that I could have done better, it was in my defence only the second cgi animation that I have attempted,( the first one isn't finished as I keep changing things as I learn more).
AfricanObserver Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent integrated piece of work - visuals, sound and voice create a compelling, well paced story. So nice to find a videomaker who can do good sound! This really proves the talent over technology thing for me!
Really well done!
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CareldeWinter Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
To tell you the truth, its more of a case of an audio artist attempting to make a video!
The video conceptualization, combined with the sheer grind of having to do the rendering, and then redo the rendering when things went wrong, that was the stressful part, because at the end of the day, this is the part I am learning, and I still consider myself a beginner. Blender is a very deep and complicated programme, but it does reward persistence.
When it came to the soundtrack, I was on safe ground, it was the bit where I got to have some fun! I've been recording audio for over 20 years, so it holds few unwelcome surprises.
The big spaceship engine is the spin cycle on my washing machine, on which the bearings are packing up, so it is making truly unforgetable noises,
The Russian voice at the start is my 15 year old son, who has developed a talent for mimicry, and the starship captain is my wife,who always wanted to be the captain of a starship. Me I was the panicky stationmaster. The whole soundtrack including the music which was more or less played on the fly using one string orchestra patch, with about twenty minutes post editing. the whole soundtrack took about 4 hours to do.
k0xFA8nk6 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
Fabulous! If you want to help visions like this become reality in the future, I could really use help from someone like you on The Starship Vlog. Buck dot Field at fieldoperative dot com.
JediZisk Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Well, being a Sci-Fi nut myself, i thought this video was pretty damn cool !
Well done !
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Submitted on
April 28, 2013
File Size
50.8 MB


33 (who?)