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Thomas-Peters's avatar

Argosy-Putting on the Brakes

The Mars expedition's NERVA nuclear engines come to life to slow the ships into an elliptical orbit abound their objective. The manned landers are exposed now at the forward end of the ships. Also visible are the two probes to be dropped into Venus during the return leg of the journey, and the airlock tunnels which lead to the forward off-axis docking ports. The thrust plumes are artistic license- the exhaust of a hot hydrogen rocket is nearly invisible, in reality. Also, the Mars depicted here has been slightly exaggerated to reflect the more moon-like Mars that was in vogue, after the Mariner fly-bys of the 1960's.

Modeled and rendered in Lightwave 10, and Photoshop. Thanks for taking a look!
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© 2011 - 2021 Thomas-Peters
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RobCaswell's avatar
Yeah, even if the shock diamonds aren't 100% accurate, they're still cool and add impact. Neat idea of using the "period Mars". Cool composition, too - I love the widescreen aspect, here.
Eagle1Division's avatar
Awesome picture, once again!
The photorealism if your gallery is amazing!

Actually - I was just wondering if there'd be mach diamonds if the exhaust stream is in a vacuum, since I thought mach diamonds were related to the speed of sound :P then I read that artistic license bit, lol.

Neat idea to change Mars to look more appropriate to the era :)
StudioOtaking's avatar
Artistic license or not, I love the shock diamonds!
Thomas-Peters's avatar
Me too! Sometimes you have to exaggerate to communicate visually whats going on. Also, they're COOL!
karanua's avatar
:clap: Excellence as always, congratulations on another epic :clap:
SMPritchard's avatar
Fantastic series you have going here! One question though; how do you create those amazingly realistic thrust diamonds in the exhaust plumes?
Thomas-Peters's avatar
The shock diamonds are a bit of a cheat, I suppose, because I add them in post, with Photoshop. But I think they end up looking pretty good. They're pretty easy--make a new photoshop file thats fairly long and thin. Make visible the grid, and use a hard, square brush to lay down a single white or near-white square. Rotate the square 45º, then use distort to elongate it a little into a more diamond shape. Then use filter-Gaussian blur, and blur enough to soften the hard edges. Then use the grid to duplicate your diamond at regular intervals. In a new layer you can use a soft brush at 40% opacity or so to connect the diamonds with a hot core. At this point you can crate another new layer and create a tapering outer thrust area, also hazy. If it looks too solid, hit it with some gaussian blur. I usually rearrange this layer to be below the shock diamonds. Then, merge visible, copy the whole thing, bring it into your main file, and use rotate to get it going in the right direction, and scale. If needed, like in this image, use the perspective distort. Then just fine adjust, and mask as appropriate.

Hope this helps, if you have any troubles, just let me know, and I'll see if I can help out. :D
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