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Old 18th Jan 2017, 02:19 PM   #1
red bellpeppers
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Default LightWave - Sky domes and star spheres

Hello all.
I am an occasional user of Lightwave 2015.
Just as a point of reference, I originally hail from Truespace 3D.

That said, here is / are my questions(s):
When using Truespace, I used to map a star image map onto a sphere and use that as my "outer space", with my subjects (ship / planet) in the center. This would allow me to get good star panning when moving the camera.

I also used to map a photo of a cloudy sky to a half sphere for my daytime scenes.

I can't seem to do this any more, unless I am doing something wrong.

Now I see tuts using a method of... spray painting points? to create stars. Similarly I have seen a star sphere object plug in- both of these seem over my head.

Can someone out there in Lightwaveland help me understand the err of my ways?
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Old 19th Jan 2017, 06:54 AM   #2
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You can indeed do it just like that. Create a sphere in modeler, flip the polys so that it is inward facing and scale it up to a large size. Find a spherical starmap and apply it as a texture to the sphere with spherical mapping. Ramp up the luminosity of the starmap so that the stars glow.

That'll do it, but you do need a very high resolution star map to do it justice.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 06:22 PM   #3
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Wow.
You are absolutely right about needing a hi-rez map for that.

I've also been discovering how to create an environment map. Using a texture I can get a pretty clean star field.
There are star maps that depict the galaxy I'd like to find and use tho.
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Old 21st Jan 2017, 07:40 PM   #4
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This YouTube video seems to go over the basics of a point-cloud starfield, which is the technique I've always used, and will probably continue to until I decide to splurge on a paid solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLoPm-rxlBc
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Last edited by David cgc : 22nd Jan 2017 at 01:35 PM. Reason: It'd probably help if I linked to the video.
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Old 22nd Jan 2017, 11:34 AM   #5
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If you go to our resources section, downloads and search by author for starbase1.

He has uploaded a sky environment, including a collection of photos for it. He uploaded a 16k starfield texture. And take a look at his Deep Space environment, which is rather effective.
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Old 23rd Jan 2017, 06:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for the vote of confidence!

It might help to think of it this way:

For 1080p HD, your image is about 2k across.

So if tour field of view is 45 degrees (rather wide!), that's 1/8th of a circle, so you need x8 that for it to stay sharp. Or about 16k pixels.

I've also had decent, (but somewhat stylised) results using a few thousand tiny lens flares.
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 08:27 AM   #7
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I would do point polys in lightwave - it works easily, with layers you can control point size / colour. You can (with a bit of work I guess) import star data so for Earth renders you get an accurate sky. The beauty of it that you can render at any scale and it works. An image map just won't scale up to 2k, then 4k etc. Galaxy and nebula backgrounds can be done in post easily enough.

The advice I have from my own work is render out your stars as a separate layer, and reduce the brightness / contrast a lot in post. Bright sharp points don't work well at all. A good example that I'm still happy with is my recent 'shoreleave' image (search for it if you can be bothered).
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Old 27th Jan 2017, 09:44 AM   #8
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The content you used to get with Lightwave included 2 or 3 example star fields done with 1 point polygons. I don't know if you have that content CD or not.
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