Nebula Backdrops

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by cliffski, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    Getting decent nebula effects from scratch sure aint easy, I'm combining some real nebula pics with some photoshop fun and games. How does this look?
    (ignore the crappy GUI)

    http://www.positech.co.uk/blog/st2_1.jpg
     
  2. bard

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    I'm no graphics-guy, but I think it looks pretty good. :) For some reason, though, it seems as if it was artificially flattened, almost like the nebula wants to be 3D but isn't. Kind of an odd comment maybe. I'll go hide in the corner now. :cool:
     
  3. Andy

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    deserves solid C ;) Much better than loosy graphics in Kudos and Democracy. :D

    PS And yes. I do know how the mentioned titles sell. :)
    PSS Is it just me or you really used the scandinavian's area to produce the picture backdrop?
     
  4. Ratboy

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    Not bad at all.

    If you'd like to paint 'em by hand, you might find inspiration here.
     
  5. undersan

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    The nebula has the look of blown-up pixels. Try running some filters over the source photo (blur, remove noise, or remove jpeg artifacts) before blowing it up.

    To get a nice halo effect for your pixel stars, try adding the same "brush dot" you used for that bright star near Tattoine, but set the opacity to something like 40%.

    FYI, If you're looking for more space photos, NASA photos can be freely used for basically any purpose (linky).

    BTW, nice social commentary on us unruly Earthlings!
     
  6. Philippe

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    "The nebula has the look of blown-up pixels."

    I have to agree. If you're going this route, you might try blurring the image, then apply a fine grain to it, perhaps with regionally varying intensity. I'd also increase contrast and make the nebula a bit darker, perhaps even tint it slightly with a hue of your choice. It looks a tad strange with the hard shadows on the planets.
     
  7. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    yeck, no lossy jpg's for screenshots please! I can't even seen the game for all the graphic artifacts.
     
  8. David De Candia

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    I have an old trial version of Ulead's PhotoImpact that produces very nice cloud fx. These could be overlain to produce a good nebula I think. I'd be surprised if the latest version didn't still have it.
     
  9. Lamoot

    Lamoot New Member

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    It's definitely worth checking the link Ratboy posted ;) along with this pdf. http://gallery.artofgregmartin.com/CapturingHeaven.pdf

    Right now your nebula has no real personality, it's too flat. First thing you could do is variety of gas density. See how some parts are usually much thicker than other:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ix.jpg/455px-Reflection.nebula.arp.750pix.jpg

    You do have some variation of density, but you should make it stronger.

    Then you should randomise the whole nebula. Give it some motion. Use a small soft brush with somewhat low opacity and simply paint wind. Use repeated strokes and paint enough curves to get a decent effect. You can also use a different brush type than the regular round for more chaotic effect. Phostoshop comes default with some quite usable ones.

    http://www.immediart.com/catalog/images/big_images/new-hubble-orion-nebula.jpg

    http://www.biologydaily.com/biology/upload/thumb/7/76/180px-Triangulum.nebula.arp.750pix.jpg

    Another thing to mention is the colours. Right now your nebula has rainbow colours and they are all too calm. I'd use less colours and make them mix more, invade one another. Try using the most riduculous colour combinations. I once used pink with green, some orange and a few strokes of white and it came out very nice. Make the colours dance with one another.

    A very useful tool for this is the eraser tool, no need to undo that thick cloud you just made, simply masacre it into something usable with the eraser.
    The last thing to mention, is to add some stars to the nebula and make the cloud around it denser and perhaps also brigther.

    Well, I hope this will help you at least a bit with your nebulae :)
     
  10. digriz

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  11. Geom

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    Not being terribly familiar with Nebulae, it looks fine to me.

    Another place to look for inspiration is the game Homeworld. It had some good space backdrops.
     
  12. Rainer Deyke

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    I don't like your nebula at all. Image quality issues aside (and jpegs really do suck for screenshots), I would say the main problems are:
    • Ugly color scheme. Basically it looks like a bunch of colors thrown together with no consideration for how well those colors work together.
    • No real shape. It just looks like a blob with no distinctive features.
    • Ugly stars. Not really a part of the nebula itself, but ugly enough to seriously detract from the whole picture. Not enough of the tiny dim stars that would realistically fill every square centimeter of the screen. No variation of colors. The big blurry stars are too blurry. The small bright stars are not blurry enough.
     
  13. dxgame

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  14. svero

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    I think you're making enough money at this point that you should seriously consider enlisting professional graphics help. Your art & sense of design improve with every title, but it still comes off as "programmer art". Just finish the game completely with placeholder art and then put out a few grand to have a pro skin the thing. I suspect the increase in downloads from improved screenshots will pay for itself.

    If you insist on doing your own graphics check out the following photoshop plugins...

    http://www.flamingpear.com/lunarcell.html
    http://www.flamingpear.com/glitterato.html
    http://www.flamingpear.com/solarcell.html
     
  15. cliffski

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    Yes, I've fiddled with them a fair bit a few months back, I think I'll use the planet one, not sure about the nebulas. Because My game has parallax scrolling over large areas, I can't embed the stars in the graphic, they have to be separately rendered. It's getting better...

    I am actually spending money on art this time, mainly on the backdrops for each planet, different landscapes etc.
    The trouble is, this game will need a lot of art, and although its cool to spend a few thousand dollars on art for it, I'm not sure its viable yet to have an artist do absolutely everything. But your point is well made, I need to put more effort into the art side.
    When I look back at the original Starship Tycoon, its embarrasingly bad. I hope to improve on that by huge margins.
     
  16. Frozen In Ice

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    I used a program called Universe Creator from http://www.diardsoftware.com/

    Seems there are some plugins for Adobe as well. Not sure if it will fit the requirement you need cliffski, but there you have it :)
     
  17. gummikana

    gummikana New Member

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