Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nick Oberg: Google Mars Impression

"Mars Direct" rendering by Nick Oberg

The following post was provided by our friend and fellow SketchUpper, Nick Oberg. He explains how he made the beautiful Martian landscape seen above, and why.

Before we get to that just a few news items!

One, if you entered the Shaderlight rendering contest this summer, the announcement of the winner will take place this September at some point! Good luck to all who entered.

Two, 3D Basecamp will be taking place in Boulder, Colorado this October. I'll be there to meet or reunite with some of my worldwide SketchUp compatriots, including modelers CS3Design, and Athinaios, Zack Mertz (Concept3D), Mike Tadros (SketchUp School), and Martin from Shaderlight.

It should be a fun three days!

... And now, we hand it off to Nick Oberg and Google Mars:

Ever take a look at Google Mars?  It's right there, hidden inside Google Earth under the ringed-planet button (right between the sunlight button and the ruler). Some parts of Google Mars have 3D terrain rivaling the best Google Earth has to offer. I decided to take advantage of that on a recent small project.

Nick's SketchUp model in Google Mars

Confronted by copyright regulations, my quest to upload an art piece to Wikipedia was thwarted. So, I decided to render my own art concept of the Martian landscape with the "Mars Direct" spacecraft on it! Being a stickler for accuracy, I headed over to Google Mars.

I chose a spot the first humans to visit Mars might like to explore, Mawrth Vallis. Mawrth has some absolutely stunning landscapes, so I zipped about trying to find a nice flat spot for the ships to "land" on.  Once I had a good angle, I moved to SketchUp for phase 2.

In SketchUp, I put together some simple mock-ups of the spacecraft I'd be digitally painting. Dropping them onto Google Mars was a cinch, and soon enough I had my starting point. A few hours work in Photoshop paid off, and I shipped my new picture right on over to Wikipedia where it currently sits.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of all the ways SketchUp can lend a helping hand!

-Nick Oberg