The Making of Galaxy Explorer Spaceship
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Following the announcement of Galaxy Explorer 3d/cg Contest winners, We decided to feature the Making of Galaxy Explorer Spaceship by CG Artist Aamir Khan; the first Runner up of Galaxy Explorer contest. Galaxy Explorer contest is quite unique and the idea behind providing the contestant with the base 3d model to work upon, is for making the contest much more competitive, giving a sense of live project (paid project you do in your studios) as well as too - give every contestant equal opportunity to Win, by asking contestant to work on the same 3d model rather than giving a loose theme in which artists tends to work only in the line of their strongest skill. Aamir Khan not only made a very detailed 3d model of spaceship keeping the contest guidelines in mind, infect his 3d model of Galaxy Explorer gives us a sense; that it is, quite Realistically possible in modest terms. In following write-up CG Artist Aamir khan tries to explain about his concepts and the making of his “Galaxy Explorer - da Evolution' 3d/CG Contest” prize winning Entry.

CG-Artist Aamir Khan;
Firstly I would like to thank CG-India for such a wonderful and unique contest and congratulate the winners.When I first stumbled upon this contest I was eager to participate but had no idea as how I would complete it on time because I came to know about the contest 13 days earlier before the deadline. But the moment I saw the base model an Idea popped up in my head for the wings as for everything else there wasn’t any concept, I just kept on modeling and tried out different things and I continued working like this up until, I was satisfied with the 3d modeling changes; I made to the 3d model.
Concepts and 3D Modeling

I used the 'Editable poly' feature in 3DS MAX 8 for modeling the Spaceship. My biggest concern was keeping my 3d model as close as possible to the base model. As you can see that the base 3d model itself acted as a foundation for various extrusions.

First I started off with the back of the 3dmodel, I really like big afterburners so I modeled three afterburners and some more on the tail wings, the round shape of the model acted as an engine for these afterburners.

Basically I wanted to create a multipurpose spaceship which would use it's wings for flying in the earth's atmosphere and use the engine for flying in space. Then I started working on the only concept I had 'the wings', The concept was that the ship should have some kind of a chopper like thing which could rotate 360deg on the axis of the wing, which will also help maneuver the ship and the entire wing could move vertically.

As far as other thing's are concerned for that I just kept on modeling like one would doodle on a sketchpad and added, deleted or changed things which I didn’t like. This doodling sometimes can be time consuming if you aren’t getting what you want but it is quite fun and the things you create can be reused in other projects.

Later on I went on adding details to the 3d model of Spaceship, there are some very fine details which are only visible from a reasonable distance. The Guns on top of the front-end were really special as I wanted them to act similar to our hands just like the Matrix APU guns which are very flexible.

The station in between the wings is shaped in a logo which I had created for the ship. As one can make out from the image that I have spent more time and concentrated more on 3d modeling and very less on rendering, lighting and texturing.


Well, anybody can notice that the model isn't textured due to the lack of time. I just gave the ship two colors using 3ds MAX's multi-sub object material just to differentiate the parts of the ship which were appointed separate material ID's. I was planning to give the ship a weathered look which I may do so in the future.

Lighting & Rendering

Mental Ray was used to render the Spaceship. GI & Final Gather were used for the final image. I wanted to give a daylight look to the image and wanted to portray that the ship is still in the Earth's atmosphere. There's only one MR Spotlight and one Skylight in the scene, these are the settings for both the MRlights and mental ray.

Later on I planned to add a futuristic city as a backdrop which I couldn't but I will certainly add it later but it will take some time. Just to get a feel of the look I made this image after the contest was over. There will be a lot of changes in this image as it's just a basic concept of the final image which I will create.

View High-Res. Image

About Me
I was born in 1983 in Mumbai, India, I recently graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science although I was always interested in art from childhood. I used to get more certificates for art & craft and less for math and science. I grew up watching a lot of cartoon's and used to doodle around in my school books but I was lucky enough to never get caught. I was fascinated by 3d when I saw movies like Jurassic Park and Toy Story and wanted to lay my hand's on any 3D software I could get but my PC did'nt meet the minimum requirements so I couldn't continue. Then in 2000 my dad upgraded my PC and I was introduced to Rhino3D demo which I found in a CD with a magazine. I started learning with the help files and tutorials included with the software and then migrated to 3DSMAX R3 and started learning the software by my self. I'm a self taught and have no art background, the internet has been my teacher for all these year's and I also couldn't afford lakhs of rupees for joining a good institution or art school. I still consider my self as a newbie and still have got to learn a lot.
Thank you, CGIndia Once again.

CG Artist: Aamir Khan
E-mail: eaamir[at]hotmail.com

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