Movie Effects – District 9 research (2005 -2010)/ Plans for 3D models/footage

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.



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