Monthly Archives: October 2011



Star Wars  Spaceships

What gives this spaceship an interesting texture is the inconsistancy of the grey shapes and also showing strange engine parts outside of the spaceship refirms that it is from the future and the segemented panels make it more interesting than a flat surface.

The contrast between the silver trim around the main texture works well to make the spaceship standout. The use of red lights effectively draws your attention to the design. The colour red with the the other colours convey an evil/dark spaceship. So when choosing my spaceship i need to make sure its neutral colour as in the district 9 film they aliens arent coming to invade.

An interesting route i could go into is adding an extension to the main spaceship like for instance the left look out post. This could also of been an engine or could of been the main cannon in which the spaceship defends itself. I also think adding a communication dish adds to make the ship for surreal.

Reference Links

Chicken little a family Sci Fi /comedy film made in 2005. What works effectively about the 3d town is its vibrancy and how colours such as yellow and dark pink walls of buildings complement each other well when placed closely together to make a 3d town. This could possible of been made in 3Ds Max as its less about surrealism and more child friendly and being visually excited for the audience.

The interesting thing about the alien is the life like hair. I think a tutorial like this could be interesting way to re create this.

What makes this appealing to children is the interactiveness of the hair and also the emotive eyes which convey response such as sympathy if the character is sad.

The contrast between the blue and the black is strong in colour. Which attracts the eye. Whats good visually is the beam of like pulling the character up with a blue light that also mixing with characters colour to make it look more surreal.

Using a low opacity or fading technique conveys distance and also in comparison to other spaceships look larger. Which could be useful when making my spaceship for my district 9 look look that little more surreal.

Whats interesting about Chicken littles spaceship is the curved shape thats wrapped about the cannons and the patterened hexagons underneath which give it that alien like appearance.

reference for spaceship –

District 9

Reading this article. It is said that some parts such as the aliens interacting with humans are created via motion capture.

A possible way to re-create the district 9 spaceship arrival part is to use after affects.

This tutorial looks useful as the next step after shooting your footage. Would be to add the 3D spaceship and also use motion tracking could be a good way to get some the camera movement that you wanted.

Part of one the scenes is a car passing and the camera facing where attack has happened. The effect added to the footage was a fire/smoke effect to create drama.  (useful link to create effective particle like effects). For my footage and trying to discover i would do this effect i think maya fluid effects might be a good think to persue from seeing a youtube vid like this.

However i think i need to keep looking so that i get smoke and fire together.


A lot of the alien characters were apparently created by using motion capture as one technique. I think the alien it self was probably made using Maya and Z brush a basic combination of the two. What intrigues me about this alien is its similarity and bearing on numerous animals today such as squid (tentacles and head structure) and a prawn like texture and similar shell formation.

Paulo Mendes Da Rocha a Brazilian architecture built in 1928 in Vitoria. Looks similar and could have been one of the inspirational pieces to creating the District 9 spaceship. The similarities are the disc like shape and also the shape sticking out looking like it could have been the inspiration for a part of the spaceship.

Skyline 2010

The Sci Fi film Skyline directed by Brothers Strause and created in 2010. What makes this spaceship look so complex is its outer extremities that look extravagent.

The use of a distant shot Is that it gave a good visual idea of how big the alien ship was in comparison to the buildings in the city.

The use of smoke creates a dramatic feel as you know that innocence civilian are dying in response to these attacks. The use of overlooking the city from a height helps to give emphasis on how the relational size between the buildings and the ship that looks enormous. The use of front view with human aircrafts coming from all angles behind depicts an element of viewer participation. This is because it gives the impression you are also one of the aircraft and going in an attacking as the camera moves.

What works effectively is the 3d models lighting which helps give natural look. I also think the skin texture looks dangers because the contrast between black and yellow which depict warning to others.

Movie Effects Harvard Referencing

District 9 2009

Close up of bottom of spaceship district 9,r:9,s:32


Screen shot of burning / smoke whilst moving

comparing building and spaceship idea.

 Research for dist 9 drawing,r:0,s:0

Skyline 2010


Spaceship under attack

Spaceship attack effects

Spaceship on its own,r:0,s:0&tx=118&ty=55

3D model


Trailer 2010 skyline

Chicken little (2005)

alien ship

the alien

spaceship attack

title with city scape

The terminator judgement day 1991

attacking spacecraft

evil terminator coming from ground In metal effect


terminator damage behind scenes

Blade runner (1982)

police car / spaceship

the aircrafts over city

city building close up 3d

building that took inspiration from american ones

Helicopter Research

helicopter  1

helicopter  2

helicopter  3

helicopter  4

Plans for 3D Spaceship / Helicopter

What I plan on doing is for either create a 3D model or find an alternative such as Uvw Mapping. For creating a 3D example I was thinking of taking elements if the original and simplifying parts to something like the spaceship on the right. This is because this will save time on finer details and also still give the impression that it is a district 9 spaceship and not any spaceship.

How I am going to create this is use a software called 3DS Max. I am going to source images for textures either on websites such as flicker/ google or scan in textures at a high DPI to use so that there is no pixelation. The size of the images need to be taken into account as the spaceship will be quite big.

I plan on doing the same as the spaceship but for the propeller. I will need to find an effect or blur to disguise the movement and depict that it is moving and not just moved by moving a key framed image. For the texture of the helicopter I was thinking of going for a plain white or green similar to the first image so that your eye doesn’t distract from the main importance which is to get/look at the spaceship over looking the building from the footage.

Useful pdf to create helicopter in 3ds max

How to model a helicopter in 3Ds Max

From looking on the web I have found these images to give the look and feel for the scene where the helicopter investigates the spaceship. I also think drawing the helicopter  in front,rear, side and top view and then using the technique in the video could work well to creating the helicopter. However I need to find out a better tutorial to follow before I start creating my final outcome. I also could adopt the same process for my spaceship and hopefully speed up time.


Video Shoot Plans

For the Disrict 9 video shoot. I am thinking of possibly filming in either Woodhouse lane near Rampart lane or on the top level of Woodhouse Lane Car Park and using the area around it to create my filmed scene.

I also plan on taking some photos of my intended scene that I am going to film so that I get an idea for my storyboard and where abouts to shoot in my chosen location.

 woodhouse lane near rampart road

The reason for choosing Woodhouse Lane is because its a fairly steep hill where you can over look lots of houses for miles which is going to be useful when trying to give the illusion of a massive spaceship. Its near a road that dips down low . Which could be good to re create the few second clip of the cars.

looking down rampart road

The reason for the Woodhouse Lane Car park is because of the height of the building and also it could give that dramatic alien attack city effect. I also think if I get the right time of day. The look over the car park will give stunning horizon.

woodhouse lane carpark

I am also going to use of the HD video camera as required by the brief to be in HD and get a risk assessment form and fill it in for off campus and either Sony or the other camera.. As your allowed to have team members help you film. I have chosen Nathan burns and James hindle.

Another possible location could be 113 ramshead drive in seacroft. This is another option instead of the car park as it is going through maintence.

My Photos

Found the handle part of the tri pod very useful in controlling speed of the camera. Fortunately on the day it was a little misty but to a slight advantage gave me the horizon i needed.



Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner police car

The space police car I think was created in 3D Studio Max with hi poly as there is a high level of detail. It is visually intriguing as some elements you can recognise from a normal police car such as there is a similarities such the spherical shape at the back of the space car looks like a wheel but instead of it being for driving its used to land/park.

3D Cityscape

This depicts a futuristic building well. This is because of its sheer size and as you can see there is a aircraft landing strip. I also think the use of small and fairly big patterned yellow light contrasted against the black walls gives a modern appearance alongside the light of the 3d buildings helps to confirm that it is.

Similar city to Los Angeles

What works well is the the use of familiar american buildings from Los Angeles that some times in scene in films and mixing it with come 3d buildings to make the city look more realistic because its something that known and not all complete CGI. The cityscape looks like it has some bearing on Los angeles this because of the design of the classic comic style window pane on the some of the buildings.

Police Chase

The futuristic police car is effective because it still has similar elements as normal police car such as the same structure, the police light are the same place the top. This helps the viewer to relate to the 3D design. What makes it striking is its lights either side of the centre part. This because it looks unusual and has create shape. I also think theres similarity to los angeles. In the way that buildings are structure and also the light in the dark looks like.,r:11,s:0

Terminator 2 Judgement day (1991)

Behinds scenesTerminator 2 judge day directed by James Cameron. The film is well known for its breakthroughs in visual effects such as its natural human motion for computer generated characters in 1991. What I thought was interesting is the use of hand crafted effects which depicted metal coming through the terminators skin and the skill that went into making it look surreal and also most CGI like.

Terminator Scene

To be more efficient in where my is spent Is cheaper to create a CGI model than create a robot physically. Techniques such as motion capture would be used to animate simultaneous  terminators moving at once. The appearance of the piece of the terminator brings strong bearing on humans which sometimes can be frightening and also dwelling on the point where will robots replace humans?.The use of red eyes depicts warnings as red is often used and conveys that this character could be dangerous.

Evil Terminator Cloth simulator

The effects I think they used were a cloth simulation in 3DS Max do give the effect of the floor reaching up and at the same time key framed with the 3d human with metal effect rising out of the ground. What’s striking Is how they might of used a cloth simulator in 3Ds Max to give the impression the evil terminator is forming into a human shape out of the ground.


What I like about the spaceship from terminator is the silver texture which is kept simple clean looking. The use of a lighting effect from After effects make the spaceship look more surreal.