Mars 2050

This is my second attempt at creating an image using compositing. There has been a lot of "news" about possible manned-Mars missions recently, nothing - of course - to do with the success of the film "The Martian"!

Mars 2050-thumb

The background image is from one of the NASA Mars Rovers. These images are great in many ways - especially as NASA has learnt that the public love to see the Rover's tracks in them. However, they are often built from images taken by the Rovers panoramic camera - and that does present an issue with regard to shadows. I tried to minimise the issue of shadow direction by selecting a chunk of the original image near the centre. In the original, the Rover had obviously done some manoeuvring and I didn't want those tracks in my image. That meant a bit of Photoshop work (the shallow gully/dry river bed-style terrain in front of the vehicle is not there in the original). However I did shoot myself in the foot, as you can see the shadows are a little different.

My Mars Crawler is based on a mesh by Kenny Mitchell (I think). I turned it into an open back configuration, added the crane, observation bubble - and also tried to give it some Chris Foss-style wheels. They didn't turn out the way I was hoping, but they look OK. I also gave it an interior, but you can barely see it.

The base in the distance is actually one I built for a moon base image - I may get around to it at some point. The ship is based on a super retro magazine or book cover I snipped from somewhere - I think from Dark Roasted Blend.

Again, I put a deformer under the plane object to give more realistic shadows.

My biggest issue with this image has been the sky; it's quite featureless and after some processing (rendered in C4D then into Photoshop) it began to show some banding. I have done all the usual things to reduce the banding, but it's also why the imitation vignette effect is a bit heavier than I would normally do.

Again - like Solar Observatory - this was lit with a single sun and HDR sky. The HDR image was coloured to get it as close to the Mars sky colour as possible.

Great article on artist Peter Jones

Toward the end of last year I posted a new image - "Explorers Of The New Frontiers" - that was inspired by a fantastic image by artist Peter Jones.

As a fab follow-up, scifi author John Guy Collick has a great article on Peter over at his blog - well worth reading!

Solar Observatory

I decided to learn about compositing; I have been trying to create a number of images with mesh terrains, and they have basically killed my computer when trying to render. Compositing seemed offer me an optional way of crating some of the images in my head with fewer polys!

Solar Observatory-Thumb

This is a follow-up to this image, and takes place on a mostly terraformed Venus. This is an early outpost, a scientific community established to study the sun, particularly the solar wind (Venus has  little or no geo-magnetic field)

The main issue I ran into was building colour; the logical choice - white or off white - simply made it look like Mos Eisley!

The dome building was a simple half sphere; with my first thoughts for the image I did start modelling the interior and there are still remnants of that - a floor and lift shafts. The tower isn't mine at all - it's by Serg Sobolev and is part of the DCCGI Buildings collection, available over at

The solar wind detectors (the top) also started life as simple sphere objects.

The radio telescope is a NASA model, hacked a little bit, and sat on a version of the base used for the solar wind detectors.

The vehicles were actually built for another image - a Mars colony idea. They are essentially a single decker bus-sized vehicle on balloon tyres. They didn't turn out very interesting, but are fine for distance shots like this.

The background image is the Yelan desert in Iran - I came across it on the interwebs and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. You'll get an idea of its real scale when I tell you that the tracks my vehicles are following are actually the single set of tyre marks left by a 4x4!

To get some irregularities in the shadows of buildings and vehicles, I added a deformer object to each of the plane objects. This also enabled me to create an irregular terrain around the base of the buildings.

I kept the texturing pretty minimal; the concrete texture on the buildings is from Total Textures "Aged & Stressed", the Solar Wind Detector top is from Total Textures SciFi. The texture on the base of the SWD is by Philip K. The windows and the telescope whitish paint texture are mine.

The scene was lit with a single sun and HDR sky.


I mentioned in my post a month or so ago for Progress that I have several robot/mecha style projects on the go. So here is another of them: Prototype.


Some time in 2013, when I still bothered to subscribe to Daz3D stuff I got a freebie model of some sort of hanger for Mecha's which looked interesting. I thought that it could be useful for something and so filed it away. By chance, later the same year, I came across an mecha with a cool design and so filed that away with the Daz freebie. Then forgot about them for 3 years (I am fairly certain it came from Turbosquid - but after a few searches can't find it there now. However, I wasn't searching for mecha or similar when I found it… Usually I'm looking for background scene elements that I can't be bothered to make myself. So, it must be up with an odd description).

Watching the recent Ghost In The Shell (animated) movie made me think about doing something with a mecha in it. Ghost In The Shell movies always have great hardware, including armoured vehicles and mecha and I was interested in doing something along those lines.

Hunting through my snippets folder for ideas, I found the Mecha bay/hanger/workshop thing and mech walker thing. I could see the image straight away - which wasn't what I ended up with!

The original idea was an shot looking up at the mecha from low down, so that it towers over the viewer, the hanger around it. So, firstly I built out the hanger - gave it walls, ceiling, fluorescent fittings around each floor and the main ceiling. I put in an open lift/elevator at the back and then started fleshing out mainframe computers and so on, on each level. There are ceiling air ducts… You name it.

The mecha model was good but too spindly. Also, I wanted to give the impression that it was being assembled as a prototype with parts being supplied from different manufacturers. So, the first thing I did was add a new rotator for the legs and body, as the original was too spindly/lightweight. I Also added more armour around the top of the leg joints and replaced the feet. I then altered the cockpit a little so that I could get the pilot seat in there, put a hinge mechanism on the cockpit cover and so on.

I played with various weapon combinations, including some rotating turrets and a Gatling gun, but eventually chose a classic combo of missile launchers, "hand" cannons and some front facing machine guns.

To make the mecha look like it was being assembled from different sources, I textured them in various colours. I went through dozens of iterations of this. For example, the mecha shown on the screen on the ground level, comes from a period when I had some parts of the mecha in jungle camo, others in flat grey paintwork.

I could never get this idea to work though and gave up, settling on digital camo - though even that went through several iterations.

After all of that, I could not get the image to work with the camera looking upwards. I tried every possible angle, I tried all sort of focal lengths… But it simply never worked. Then one day when I had all but given up, I was whizzing around with the default camera and stopped pretty much as the render image.

Lights. The scene has LOTS of lights. There are 20 lights over the ground and first floor, each for the fluorescent tubes I put there. Then a load more for the upper level. All of the lights are tinted the colour of a cool fluorescent tube.

Textures: the mecha's digital camo is mine and in the Downloads section for you. A lot of the textures used for the hanger are Philip K and available from his ace website.

The mainframes are all simple shapes, again sporting textures by Philip K. A lot of the desktop computers and screens are supplied with C4D. Other scene elements are by Dex or freebies from TF3DM. The mecha control screen and one computer screen use textures from Total Texture Scifi pack.

Way Station

Way Station is an attempt to do 70's -ish space station image; now the interesting thing about that statement is that you don't actually see that many space stations in the art of that period. Look through the work of Foss, Hey, Elson, etc, etc and weirdly, space stations are strangely rare (especially given that they are a staple of the genre).

Way Station-thumb

Anyway, I had the image in my head - more Elson than Foss…. So off I went. In fact I was extremely lazy about things. The wheel part of the station I stole from my Tennhauser Gate image, so most of my effort went into the central section.

For some reason, I really struggled with the windows on this mage - I tried dozens of window textures: made from real, totally Photoshop, hybrid, different scales, colours…. You name it. However great they looked when I was making them, they didn't really work for this image. I remain deeply unhappy with the final effect.

I'm also unhappy with the visiting starship; this looks really interesting in any other image - but just looks like a butt plug here.

You have probably formed the impression that I'm unhappy with this image - and I am. It just isn't working for me at all. I have tried different lighting (it started off with lighting taking their colours from my background nebula image), angles, etc. Nothing has really brought the image alive for me.

So… Station textures are mostly Dosch. The windows are obviously mine the docking bay are Philip K. The starship textures are mine.

There were three lights for the scene (one backlighting, the sun and a fill for the shadows), plus an extra light in the docking bay.


I'm not sure why, but I have become a little bit fixated with robots recently…. I have 3-4 projects that I have been tinkering around with that feature a robot or mecha of some description.


This project, actually, wasn't ever intended to see the light day - it was a personal project for exploring volumetric lighting. Following the problems had had with volumetric lights in both Gold Rush and Wreck Of The Shuttle Peredur, I have continued to look for answers/solutions. This project was just a plaything for fiddling round with volumetric lights. I did discover some Sample Distance tricks which I need to try in both of those old projects.

Anyway, as this was about playing, I modelled absolutely nothing in this image. The robot is a freebie from PIxelLab (I did give him different hands). The pallet comes with C4D, the barrel, tools, cat and soft drink tin are all from TF3DM. The grass is by Nobiax on DeviantArt.

Part of the trick with this image was dirt; everything - including the cat - has dirt added in to the diffuse layer of the material. The yellow door material and red/white chevron are mine… The concrete is from Total Textures. The textures on the robot are built from images I found around the interwebs and created the additional layers in Photoshop and CrazyBump.

So eventually I ended up with this image and thought it actually worth sharing… In the end, it became as much about telling a story as it did learning about volumetric lights.

Sub Orbital Manoeuvres Sub Orbital Manoeuvres- 7-April-2016

Long time no posts, once again! :-/

This one has had quite a long gestation… I started the project last summer (2015), influenced by some articles on ESA's future shuttle project and the film Gravity.

Sub-Orbital Manoeuvers-thumb
Anyway, I decided to design my own shuttle, which didn't end up especially radicle, save for the outboard engines (and of course, they are recycled from other projects!). I did try to spice up the design by giving it a Syd Mead style cockpit design, though that didn't work out exactly… Trying to do that on a cylindrical mesh did my head in for some reason!

As the shuttle is intended to be an ESA vehicle, I wanted to show it in orbit over western Europe - as usual using Michael Welter's Atmosphere plug-in to create the Earth ( However, I just couldn't get that to look right… After 3-4 months of playing around with it when I could I gave up and tried some other ideas.

The one I settled on was this - the shuttle sliding into the night side of Earth as it adjusts its orbit for re-entry. That big cockpit allows some human drama to be created by revealing the crew. For me the major shame of this version is that you don't get to see the nice ESA mission decals I created for the shuttle.

Lighting was simple - the sun (from that direction obviously, but not the one you can see) and a little bit of gentle blue fill to give the shadows that touch of earth light.

What you see is pretty much what came out of C4D, though - of course - I did add the sun and I did adjust the colours just a little bit. I always find C4D renders a little flat.

Explorers Of The New Frontier

So… Full retro scifi mode here! I’m attempting full-on 1970’s - 80’s book cover, so including every trope I can:

• Futuristic spaceship/vehicle, centre stage - check!
• Yellow, orange or red sky - check!
• Lots of planets, one of which is a gas giant - check!
• Wispy atmosphere - check!

Explorers of the new frontier-thumb

The inspiration for this one is principally artist Peter Jones excellent cover for Heinlein’s ‘Orphans of the Sky’, but mixed with a big dose of Peter Elson (variously this one, this one, and this one)

The basis of the ship mesh comes from (I’m fairly certain) an unfinished project available on Kenny Mitchell’s (now defunct) website. I really liked the cockpit on that, but stripped away the wings and engines rebuilt the bottom, top and sides. 70’s, scifi was definitely about ducts and vents!

I added new wings (gull-wings, which I’m so proud of I will find another excuse to show this ship) and engines (which are from the ship I built here)

The alien language used in all the ship icons and logos is Marain, from Iain M Banks ‘Culture” books, care of the MarainScript font by Daniel Solis.

The ‘hexagon flower’ logo is a little tribute/nod to Peter Elson - he used it in this brilliant image.

Lighting was a Dosch HDR sky (I bought the pack over a decade ago and use them all the time, well worth the money). No 43 in the pack is a lovely golden cloud-filled sky, which provided a nicely tinted light for this image. I augmented the HDR with a fill light to create shadows at the angle I needed. The background I built in Photoshop, using a cloud stock image and planets I created years ago and have used many times in images you’ll see here in my gallery.

Texturing I kept very simple - the main texture is just a really pale grey in the colour channel with dirt in the diff layer. I did try a sort of Jonathan Ive look first - glossy and clean - but that did’t work.

My only niggle with this is image is the pilot(s) figure; my own astronauts aren’t ready - still rigging them - and so I dropped in a low-poly pilot figure by Christopher Schell. I really, really need to find time to sort the rigging on my figures!

Another Site Refresh!

So, as you can see, another refresh of the site!

I have decided to ditch the 'faux book cover' galleries, largely as I think the latin placeholder text confused many people. The down side of this is that there are a lot of links in past blog entries that point in the old gallery direction. Oh well!

I think the new layout does what most visitors want in that it immediately serves-up images.

Space Elevator, Kepler-22

Finished off another abandoned project - this one I originally started (so the Finder tells me) in July 2014.

As I have discussed elsewhere here and on dA, I grew up on the works of Arthur C Clarke, and so first encountered Space Elevators in The Fountains of Paradise (still have my copy!). Of course the concept was not even remotely new when ACC wrote about it; Konstantin Tsiolkovsky had beaten him to it by over 80 years. Space Elevators have become a common plot device - Iain M Banks ‘Feersum Endjinn’ is set in a crumbling, enormous State-sized city structure that includes a space elevator (referred to as the Tower or Fass(t) Tower). Ken Macleod’s ‘The Night Sessions’ has climactic scenes that take place on a space elevator (trying to avoid plot spoilers!).
Space Elevator-thumb
At the end of Banks’ Feersum Edjinn there are descriptions of the top of space elevator - it features hotels, museums, sports facilities just like a modern airport… And that was the picture I had in my mind when I came design the space elevator. In particular, how like today’s airports, do you manage thousands of travellers? So, here are hotels, parks and so on. My design has an internal dock for small (inter-system?) ships, but larger interstellar ships dock at one of the four arms at the top of the elevator.

My space elevator - like Bank’s - is a compression structure; that is, a structure but from the ground up (as opposed to the cables-plus-counterweight structure generally now proposed). Why did I put it on Kepler-22? Kepler-22 is larger than Earth and therefore a greater gravitational mass, requiring a greater escape velocity (and therefore fuel) to get in to space. Using space elevators therefore makes sense.

The mesh is a bit of a kit-bash; the central components are the base mesh I used in Cities in The Sky and Colony Station. The “environmental supply & control systems” on some the arms were also used in Colony Station.

The living quarters - the discs around the central column - are a little in-joke… They started off looking a lot more like one of the famous 1950 UFO pictures that you find around the Internet… .

I borrowed quite a lot from other people for this too: the large circular frame is from “Low Earth Depot S1” by Ignus Fast, available at Foundation3D. The girdered arms and also “power generators” (the rectangular boxes) are from a sort of spaceship building kit called “Truss Pack” which is (I think) by Kenny Mitchell.

…and, of course, everything is greebled to death!

Texturing is extremely simple, being basically the hull and the girder textures, which are both mine - the hull colour is available in my resources gallery here on dA. The textures used in the hanger entrance at the top of the space elevator are by Dosch. FYI, the texture under the dome at the top of the space elevator is actually the architects impression of the recently cancelled Japanese Olympic Stadium ☺

The planet - Kepler-22 - was created using Michael Welters Atmosphere plug-in for C4D. It uses my own “Water World” texture (I know, there is a big continent there - in fact the texture has 3 Australia sized continents and lots of island chains). I used this mask from my DeviantArt Resources gallery here to create it.

The Gold Rush, circa 2050

OK.. Firstly, I promise this is the last image with the giant glarey sun-thing going in…

The image I wanted to make here had shadows fanning out from each of the objects in the scene. I tried every type of light object, CSTools Fog, you name it… No cool shadows; if anyone has any idea how I would do that in C4D, I would definitely like to know!
asteroid mining ship-thumb

So… Asteroid Mining; regular watchers will know I have touched on this subject before, here. It’s a subject I’m interested in and it’s in the news - we’re burning through the Earth’s resources at an accelerating rate and based on known reserves, key elements such as phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold and copper will be exhausted in 50–60 years.

The mining of asteroids for these elements has been suggested as our ‘Get Out Of Jail’ card. The idea is that platinum, cobalt and other valuable elements are mined from asteroids and sent back to Earth. That’s despite that fact that we have yet to design a spacesuit glove that doesn’t tear astronauts finger nails out, have no method to protect against the effects of long terms weightlessness, nor exposure to solar radiation. Hacking back on NASA’s budget for the last 40 years might not have been such a good idea after all.

The ship in the image: the core of it - the containers and frame - I stole from someone else’s model… I’m fairly sure it was by avalon3d. I added detail to the frame (and I’m slightly annoyed with myself for putting the ship in shadow, having lovingly textured each of the containers… Oh well!). I stole the front-end of one of my own ships and (imaginatively) gave it a long skinny fuselage, ending in a Discovery-like propulsion unit.

The (really lovely) main asteroid with the tiny astronauts on top is by Starbase1 and can be downloaded from the resources at I retextured it to give a slightly dustier look, based on photographs of asteroids on various sites.

I have made my scene as busy with asteroids as it usual for scifi visualisations of our solar systems asteroid belt; in reality, of course, the average distance between any two asteroids is around a million kilometres and given their generally small size, you simply wouldn’t be able to see another asteroid whilst you busy mining one! This is why we have been able to happily send our probes out to investigate the outer planets without fear of them being trashed during their passage through the asteroid belt.

The scene was modelled and rendered in Cinema 4D. I’m going to skip my usual run through of the textures used as you can’t really see them anyway!

Post production - actually not as much as you might think, mostly blume and sharpening - was done in Photoshop. Most of the colour in the image came form using light objects coloured to match the background.

Pulp Horror Magazine Cover PSD Template

A couple of years ago I released a Photoshop template for creating faux1930’s-style pulp sci-fi magazine covers (available in my Resources gallery here: ). At the time, someone asked if I would do a horror version, so quietly, and very sloowwwwly I have been chipping away at one on the background! So, finally, here it is; my Do-It-Yourself 1930’s Pulp Horror Magazine Cover Creator ☺ Download link on DeviantArt, see the ilnk below.


The point of the template is a simple means for you to create your own pulp horror covers in the style of the classic 1930-40’s pulp magazines. The template provides (editable) magazine titles, story headings and lots of hyperbole! I also include various style FX for adding dirt (like an old, used magazine) and colour layers to give your cover mood and atmosphere. There are also some villains, creatures and monsters - but really these are just to get you started, as are the backdrops.

Horror is not really my thing - I enjoy the old Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney movies, the Hammer horrors and so on, but I quit watching horror films with the rise of slasher movies in the 80’s. I don’t have a natural feel for this, therefore, so did plenty of research - this site was especially helpful: All the same, I found getting the ‘look and feel’ right quite difficult.

From my research, a couple of things…
• The pulp horror magazines were not as sophisticated in their design and layout as the pulp scifi magazines. If you’re going for accuracy, you will probably want to make a number of changes to the layout options my template.
• Few of the pulp horror magazines lasted more than a handful of editions
• We think of torture porn as a recent invention - don’t believe a word of it! These magazines are chock-full of torture porn stories. In fact, I willing to bet that much of Hostel was lifted from these magazines.
• …and what is with with bad guys wearing cowls?

There is lots more information, as well as a download link, here on DeviantArt

A Meeting With Medusa

Something of a quicky, this one… Author Alastair Reynolds mentioned on his blog that he and Stephen Baxter have co-authored a follow-up to Arthur C Clarke’s “A Meeting With Medusa”.

ACC’s original “A Meeting With Medusa” is one of my all-time favourite stories; as I have discussed elsewhere on dA, I first read the story serialised in a magazine around 1973, accompanied by excellent quality artwork. The same magazine also printed (in other editions) “Summertime on Icarus” and “Into the Comet” - all with fabulous accompanying artwork. A year or so later, I had moved to Secondary school and the school library ran a book shop - I found there two collections of ACC’s short stories, which between them had all of these stories - I was hooked!

Kon Tiki Portrait-thumb

So, I enjoy both Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter’s work and the prospect of them continuing the original story inspired me to do a piece of art based squarely in the general plot. I have imagined a ‘Kon-Tiki 2’, a larger balloon than the 1-man vehicle of the original - though it has all the features of the original, including a pulsed laser for heating the envelope gases and a nuclear-powered engine for escaping Jupiter at the close of the mission.

The image you see here is a crop; the original has both the creatures that feature in Arthur’s story - the mile long dirigible jellyfish-like creature (Medusa of the title) and the 100m-wide manta Ray-like creatures that feed on them. If you look closely, you can still see a flight of Manta Ray’s in the background. I have exorcised the Medusa because, frankly, it is crap. I followed the original story closely, but mine just doesn’t look believable. I’m going to go back to it, and you may still see a wide-screen version complete with Medusa, but don’t hold your breath!

The Kon-Tiki 2 and Manta’s were modelled and rendered in C4D. The Kon-Tiki’s envelope is supposed to be like the original Montgolfier balloon, but with its little peplum replaced with photo-electric cells. I have modelled almost the entire interior, so I may do something with that too. I put in quite a lot of research on the colour of ambient light in the Jovian atmosphere, including this article In the end, I gave in to what looked about right Happy

The background is a quick and nasty Photoshop job on a montage of clouds; you don’t have to look too hard to see how rough it is… Does the job though!

Starship - in the style of Peter Elson

Another image ‘in the style of…’ and another Peter Elson… If you took a look at his site and the images I linked to for ‘Science Vessel’, you won’t have any trouble recognising the inspiration for this one.

Images drawn looking toward the back of spaceships are common in Elson’s work, but you’ll see clear inspiration for my image here, Galactic Cluster here, Sunburst and here The Best of Isaac Asimov 1954 - 1972
Multi-Engined Frigate-rear view-thumb

The ship used here you have seen before - it’s the ship in The Tannhauser Gate I have made a few mods - but not many - and retextured a la Elson ☺ The fins that I added to the back are a sort of tribute/reference to the Anime film of EE ‘doc’ Smith’s ‘Lensmen’. The ships in the shuttle bay are from this image and the engines I have used before too - here . The engine exhaust trails are created with light objects. The principle textures are available in my Resources gallery here on DeviantArt :Generic - Hull Plate 3 (used with a blocky plates texture in the diff channel) and Red Worn Metal Plate Texture.

I did a version of this image with the ship coming toward the camera, but it looked so much like a screen grab from ‘Homeworld’ that I felt I couldn’t use it.

Created, textured and rendered in C4D as usual - I do love that software! The lighting is a bit of a cheat; given the apparent light source, the ship was pretty much a silhouette, so there is another (warm, weak) light source behind the camera for some infill.

Post-production in Photoshop as usual, too; principally colour adjustment, adding blume and sharpening. I also (surprise!) exaggerated the glow over the engines.

I’m tempted to one now in the style of another artist who did some great covers in the same time period, including images in the Terran Trade Authority books - Colin Hay Though, it will need a lot of texture development!

Science Vessel - in the style of Peter Elson

So: my bachelor students have finished the term, taken their exams and I have marked their papers… The project I have been doing some marketing work on has pretty much drawn to a close with the start of the Paris Air Show… Hooray, some free time!

After the Chris Foss style image, I thought I would do images in the style of some other of my favourite artists. That has actually proven more difficult than I expected!

science vessel-thumb
‘Science Vessel’ is an attempt at capturing Peter Elson’s style. If you take a look at the site his sister maintains as a memorial to his work, you can pretty much see which images I have used as input - ‘A Sense of Wonder’, ‘Oceans of Venus’ and ‘Welcome to Mars’ influenced the spacecraft, and ‘Pebble in the Sky’, ‘Galactic Cluster’ and ‘Sunburst’ determined the colours and perspective. Take a look here

What else can I say about the image: well, the back story is a future ESA science mission to examine the nova ejecta nebulae of a dying star.

The ship is one I started about 4 years ago - it’s a companion to the ship that appears in Asteroid Base: Final Approach : I gave them exactly the same cabin/bridge design - particularly the windows. I was imagining a sort of common design criteria for various spaceships.

I used a lot of other people’s greebles on the back of the ship - especially from Jedilaw’s greeble pack. Also, the things on the side of the ship with the bluey-purple glow are by 3D-CG, available at Foundation3D (here, they're supposed to be heat dissipators for the engines)

The 3 main textures used on the ship are all available in my DeviantArt resources - riveted hull plates, generic hull plate 1 and blue worn metal plate. The patterned ‘sensor array’ texture is from Total Textures Scifi pack. The side window textures are mine - one day I will post them - and the main bridge is all modelled. There is even a little figure at the helm. The glowy things at the front came from someone’s Star Trek model - if they’re yours let me know and I’ll credit you.

Modelled in C4D, rendered using C4D’s Physical renderer, post work in Photoshop. Recently I have moved from using hard to Area shadows and throwing in AO. I don’t think it’s as realistic, but it’s definitely more cinematic!

Chris Foss Style Starship

I actually found myself with 5-6 hours time - enough for a quick render… The first time I have been able to create an image since October 2014!

It certainly wasn’t enough time to do any modelling, so I looked in my unfinished projects folder and found an old tutorial I did in 2007 - you can see here at this blog entry.

The ship is based on a tutorial by Adam Benton, creating a Chris Foss-style spaceship with some basic box-modelling and C4D’s hypernurbs.

I created a new background in Photoshop - I wanted colour in the traditional Chris Foss style. The ship textures were mostly mine; the hull texture is from my “riveted hull textures” you can find in my Deviantart resources.

Hypernurbs generally create some issues when texturing, though you can reduce these by clicking on the hybernurbs object and selecting ‘Current State To object’. This creates a new object with the shape of the hypernurbs object, but which behaves like a normal, editable object. I would normally clean up the mesh at this point, but didn’t have time - perhaps for a V2 at some point.

chris foss style ship-thumb

Anyway, some quick texturing, render and away.

Post-render touch-ups were in Photoshop.

The mesh defiantly could have done with a clean-up - but I think the image captures the spirit of Chris Foss! Happy

New Spaceship Texture PSD Templates

More clearing and cleaning out space on my hard drive… Here are two Photoshop templates I use for creating spaceship hull textures (that can be tiled) for my C4D materials. I have cleaned them up a little for public consumption. This means the layers are grouped and coloured to make sense of the template, and the detail layers are gone, because they were a bit crap, really!

The new spaceship texture templates and can be found in my DeviantArt Resources Gallery
panels_and plates_2-rusty

Size: 1024 x 1024 px
For those of you working in 3D apps, I have included the Normal and Specular layers.

hull panels-merged

So, what you get are the following grouped layers:
Dirt - choice of 7 dirt layers
Scratches - choice of 6 scratches
Grunge - 2 grunge layers
Hull Lines - 3 layers that include the lines that create the hull panels. This includes one rasterised layer and the original, unaltered lines so that you can modify it as necessary
Rust Texture Overlays - 2 rust overlays for creating the classic ‘battered freighter’ look
Panels - 4 layers containing various shapes to create paneling effects
Base Hull Textures - 3 choices of base hull texture/colour
Normal & Specular Layers - 1 each Normal and Specular layer for those creating materials in 3d applications

Besides these groups and layers, I have included a few ‘demo’ samples to show what can be done with the template.

Use : other than claiming that these textures are your work, knock yourself out with them - I hope you find the textures useful and It would be great to see how you use them in your art.

Multicolour Scifi Warning Signs - Multiple Shapes, PSD's

It seems ages since I have worked on one of my own projects - and anything scifi or 3d. All of the projects I’m involved in at the moment a bit on the dull side - but at least they pay! I’m clearing lots of stuff from my hard drive as one of the projects I’m working on involves creating lots of content including video. Thankfully, I’m able to push stuff out to cloud storage (thanks, Microsoft for 100GB of free OneDrive!)

Sifting through I found a coloured version of my Warning Signs template - no idea what I did it for and have no recollection of ever using it… It looked pretty cool though, so I spent an hour or two applying the styles to the other Warning Sign templates.  I suspect these will be more popular than the original, as these colours blend into more environments than my originals, which have a very strong identity of their own.

The new colourful templates - 6 in total - as well as the originals, can be found in my DeviantArt Resources Gallery

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.38.39

Base colours always
Orange: d48639/R212-G134-B57
Green: 727e62/R114-G126-B98
Blue: 3e4e98/R62-G78-B152

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 14.35.50

Groups & Layers
I have updated all of the layers and colour-coded them. To minimise the file sizes, wherever possible I have removed most of the rasterised layers and left the original PS Shape layer - this also allows you to easily change the colours. However, occasionally you will find the original shape layer missing - this is where I forgot to duplicate the Shape layer before rasterising or merging the layer.

The available Layers are:
Warning Sign  - pill
Warning Oval Sign Base Shapes
ID Holders Only
No Access
Scratches Dirt
Masks (alpha masks for clean and damaged)

A word about fonts
I have adjusted these templates so that the text layers use Arial Black, as both Windows and Mac machines should have this font as standard. The signs look more effective with any of the following fonts available from

Jacinto Sans
SF Automaton

The PS Brushes used to create the Dirt and Scratches layers include, but are not limited to:
Scratches by Katrina Rempel
Grunge Notion by Blazter
GrungeBrushes3 by KeReN-R

For the Biohazard sign I used Hazard Brushes 1 by AscendedArts

Personal Use
Have a ball - do whatever you want with it!

Commercial Use
No restrictions beyond checking those of the font you use.

Whatever you do with the template, I would love to see it - I had loads of fun making images with it and I hope you do to!

Inerviewed By Your Cavern Art Blog

I was interviewed recently by Guillaume from Your Cavern, a really great Digital Art blog. If you don’t already know it, Your Cavern is a really great site for discovering digital artists of all genres and styles - well worth a visit!

You can read my interview here

Site Update

as hopefully you have noticed, I have updated the site - it’s the main reason that I haven’t posted too much recently.

As well as a new look, the site features improved galleries - with a move to non-Flash image animations. Do let me know how it looks for you.

I have also resurrected the ‘Downloads & Links’ page, adding a selection of resource links that I find useful. These are principally for C4D/modelling resources.

Any feedback you have can be sent to me using the ‘contact’ link at the foot of the page or the Contact Form.

Latest Work: The Tannhauser Gate

The origins of this image… A month or so ago, I re-watched the original Cowboy Bebop TV series, and I was reminded how much I liked the concept used for hyperspace travel - particularly the design of the hyperspace gates. The design reminds me of an old fashioned monocle… That got me thinking about doing an image that involved a hyperspace gate and the gate as some sort of lens (as in focusing energy).

Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and I watched Blade Runner for the zillionth time…Roy Batty’s speech, uttered just before he dies, contains the lines “I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate” - and I knew the gate that I had to show in my image.

Tannhauser Gate - Thumb

As I set out modelling the gate, I still had the concept of a lens in my mind… When I was a young teen, my parents bought me a Russian Zenit E SLR one Christmas. The funny little lens that that camera came with is essentially the model for my gate design. In terms of modelling, it is very, very simple - so simple in fact, that I felt compelled to dress it up a little with the “field generator” thingies sticking out the front!

The worm hole effect in the centre of the hyperspace gate went through a lot of iterations before I got to something that didn’t look too cartoony, but still gave the type of effect I was looking for. The texture for the worm hole is on a funnel-shaped mesh to give a feeling of depth appropriate to a vortex effect producing a tunnel.

Now. To get very arty on you: The composition of the image is very deliberate and a homage to the British scifi illustrator Tony Roberts. If you are a fan of 70’s scifi book covers or the Terran Trade Authority books, then you know Tony’s work. In his images set in space, Tony played visual games with the arrangement of the planets (and sometimes spherical spaceships) - I’m (trying to) do the same here; I set out principle spherical shapes of the main planet, the principle body of the gate, the “mouth” of the gate and the multiple shadows created by it. Then, there are the counterpoint spheres of the two moons and the centre of the wormhole(!!!) Happy

That’s about it.

Rendered in one take in C4D, post production in Photoshop with Nik Filters.

The main planet was (as ever) created using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug in. This is the first outing for my own (16k px) “Star Trek planet” textures - an attempt to create a planet similar to those from ST-TOS and the first few seasons of ST-TNG. I’m not sure I succeeded - but the planet does look OK. The star ship is actually an unfinished ship from another image I’m working on, so you’ll see that again at some point!

As with most of my recent work, I’m still in “realistic” mode - so there is a single point of (distant) light to simulate the system’s star.

In terms of textures, the main planet textures are mine, the moon textures are (I think) from Marlin Studios, as are the principle textures of the hyperspace gate. The gate also uses a few textures by Philip K. The starship textures are mine, not that you can see them! The star field is one the 3 that I recently added to my DevianArt Resources gallery for people to download.

Riveted Hull Plates Texture - PSD Template

Hot on the heels of the starfield resources, I have been making some more hull textures...

You can find the PSD template over at DeviantArt, in my Resources gallery

I wanted an irregular riveted hull look for an image and most of the existing textures I had were rubbish - including the Total Textures scifi pack (which I have paid for twice now, and many of the textures still don’t have Normal, Specular or (where necessary) Luminance maps - more fool me!)

However, I did like the pattern of one of the textures in the Total Textures scifi, so using that as inspiration, I created this set of textures. I used a number of base source metal textures, dirt maps and so on, to get a variety of different hull finishes. I have added a choice of bump maps and Normal maps (strength, level of detail) as well as a Specular map

Size: 1024x1024 px
Colour Mode : RGB

Riveted Hull Plates

The layers in the PSD download are as follows:

Riveted Hull Dirty Grey Metal
Riveted Hull Dirty Silver
Riveted Hull Dirty White
Riveted Hull Green (was going for a sort of beat-up dropship look)
Riveted Hull Mottled Metal (this is the texture used in the sample image)
Riveted Hull Silver-Blue

Riveted Hull Bump 1
Riveted Hull Bump 2 (Strong)

Riveted Hull Normal 1
Riveted Hull Normal 2 (very strong - it’s at 30% in the sample image)

Riveted Hull Specular

For those non-Photoshop users out there, you can download the textures as a zipped pack of PNG’s here.

Use : other than claiming that these textures are your work, knock yourself out with them - I hope you find the textures useful and It would be great to see how you use them in your art.

Starfield resources

I have posted three Starfield images in jpeg form over at Deviantart

The three starfields feature various densities of stars, from sparse (ish) to busy. All are as follows:

Size: 5400x3600 px
Colour Mode : RGB


If you use them, let me know over at DeviantArt.

Chris Foss Inspired Image

Found some more time for a quickie render… This time, I chose as my inspiration this image from Chris Foss. My intention wasn’t to reproduce the image, but to try and catch the spirit of the image…

In to the Nebula-final

As I’m still pretty busy with other work at the moment I saved time by using a free model as the basis of the floating city (by Avalon3d and available here). I modified this by building cylindrical towers for top and bottom, removing a lot of detail from the edges, adding a comms system and, finally, greebling the crap out of the upper hull plates (using the Greebler plugin).

Foss’s original image has several delta-winged ships of varying design which I melded into a single ship as I wanted a simpler overall image.

The main hull texture for the floating city is from the Dosch Scifi textures collection. All other textures on the floating city, including the windows, are mine. The main hull texture for the delta-winged ship is from the Marlin Studios scifi collection. The decals/markings and windows are, again, mine.

As ever, the image was modelled and rendered in Cinema 4D with Photoshop post-work.

Arthur C Clarke Style Personal Space Pod

I don’t have much spare time at the moment, so in what time I do have I’ve been picking up partially completed projects and trying to finish them off...

A project that I started in 2011 (and which was supposed to be a quick and simple modelling exercise) was to realise the original space pod design from Arthur C Clarke’s short stories of the 1950’s and 60’s. Most people know ACC’s space pod concept as realised in 2001: A Space Odyssey, however the design as described in his short stories such as ‘Who’s There?’ and ‘Summertime on Icarus’ is much more of a stubby cylinder.

Clarke-style Spacesut Pod

I first came across Arthur’s short scifi stories when some were included in a (British) comic I read (and which included some fantastic accompanying illustrations - I would love to know who did them). Later as a young teen, I found two collections of ACC’s short stories in the school book shop. The books included his “The Other Side of the Sky” and “Venture to the Moon” series of stories. ACC imagined that much of the space station building that would occur in the 1970’s (!!!) onwards would essentially require a tiny spaceship with arms - for manoeuvrability and also because spacesuit gloves have many issues for astronauts.

This was the future I expected to grow up in....

Sadly, ACC entirely missed the fact that transistors would quickly replace vacuum tubes and make the need for space stations redundant - they would be replaced by purpose specific satellites. The geostationary orbit that ACC described for space stations and satellites in a 1945 technical paper is still sometimes called the Clarke Orbit.

This image was modelled and rendered entirely in Cinema 4D, the Earth was created (as ever) with using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug-in. There was a tiny bit of Photoshop post-production.

In terms of style I have tried to bridge ACC’s description with the production style of 2001: A Space Odyssey, including the lack of background stars. The girder is red, of course, because the bare girders of the under-construction space station we see in 2001 are red. Happy

The pod’s combined camera and lights module, fitted to the top of the “helmet” is a little in-joke: Without the strong sunlight and shadows it looks just like Wall-E Happy

Changes to the site

I have made some changes to the site and in the process taken the opportunity to move all downloads to my DeviantArt gallery. From now on, all free wallpapers and resources will be on DeviantArt only

Updated Galleries

I have updated the galleries with several new images

Latest works: Freighter - April 2013

Having see ‘Moon’ finally, as well as reading quite a few articles on asteroid mining, the concept of the ‘space freighter’ has been playing on my mind and this image is the result!

So here we go - totally produced in Cinema 4D; the Earth was created using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug in. Freighter was also modelled and textures in Cinema 4D. For a while I strongly played with following the scifi trope of the battered, weathered freighter look. Thankfully, common sense prevailed! However, at least one of the textures I created for that has made it to my DeviantArt Resources - just follow the link, below.
Freighter Front Page

The ship hull texture is my own (the Colour, Specular and Normal layers are available from my DeviantArt page) as are the stripes and star decals. Other textures are by Total Textures and Marlin Studios.

My Work Featured On Interstellar Fiction Magazine

Interstellar Fiction, an online scifi magazine, is featuring some of my work in their April edition - you can check it out here and get your fix of scifi too! Happy


1930s Pulp Scifi Magazine Cover PSD Template

If you check out my gallery here or on DeviantArt regularly, you know that I have been having a little fun with some faux 1930’s-style pulp sci-fi magazine covers. Having done quite a few of these, I realized I had ended-up with quite a set of resources in Photoshop - ideal for a template.

So, I’ve done just that - pulled the resources together to create my Do-It-Yourself 1930’s Pulp Scifi Magazine Cover Creator. You can get it over in my DeviantArt Resources Gallery


Pulp Scifi Covers For March

So, here’s another faux pulp scifi magazine cover… I’m accidentally creating a Photoshop template for creating these, which I think I’ll post soon over on my DeviantArt page. I’ll let you know when I do. These are just so much fun do to. Happy

Nemean-web Science Mar2013-1024x768

More Pulp Scifi Covers!

Having started developing my own pulp covers, I can’t stop! Here is the latest… Laugh

Nemean-web rocket feb2013-1024x768

Pulp Scifi Covers And Guilty Pleasures!

One of my guilty little pleasures is spending far too much time playing with Bradley W. Schenck’s brilliant ‘Pulp-O-Mizer’ on his site Thrilling Tales.

The Pulp-O-Mizer allows you to build your own faux 1930’s pulp scifi covers… The only problem - for me - is that you can’t use your own content or save them… So, I’ve started to make my own!

Here is the first...

Nemean-web Saucersjan2013-1024x768

More Gallery Updates & New Images - Oct 2012

Yes I know, it’s been a while! I have been fighting something of a creative block of late - I’m sure brought on by the realisation that (the dismal) summer is over and that is as good as the weather is going to get this year!

Anyway, I have a new image for you - an idea I have been kicking around for a while. It’s called ‘Preparing For Take Off’ - yes I know, very original - the background is an image I took on a flight from Paris to Ajaccio.

Preparing For Take Off

I have added this book cover design as a faux covers to the Spacecraft gallery - so please take a look. Happy

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

New Images & Gallery Updates - Sept 2012

I have been working on a few new book cover designs over the last month or so - both featuring spacecraft that I designed some time ago.

The first features my freighter; I built this model just over a year ago, the design is inspired by various craft from Gerry Anderson series - including Thunderbird 2, the moon shuttle (and its mother craft) from UFO and the superb Eagle from Space 1999. The Sikorsky Sky Crane was also an influence. The distinctive blue-and-white striped pain job is a direct steal from Chris Foss’s excellent cover from ‘The Early Asimov, Vol 1’.

Asteroid Mining - Special Delivery-thumb

The second image features the flyer that previously made a guest appearance in my September 2011 free wallpaper ‘preparing For Take Off’. In this new image you can see it’s slightly bizarre design much more clearly... The design of the flyer comes from two main sources; firstly, the space pod from series 3 of the 1960’s TV show ‘Lost In Space’ and secondly this piece of concept art for Homeworld.

Low Orbit Thumb

I have added both of these book cover designs as faux covers to the Spacecraft gallery - so please take a look. Happy

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

September Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Whooopps! I’m very late with my September wallpapers!

For my September wallpaper and calendar collection I wanted to do a big planet with a really gnarly texture - I ended up doing three! Imaginatively, the illustration is called ‘Trinity’ and is 100% Photoshop.

The planet textures came from all sorts of places, and each of the planets comprises multiple textures in layers - textures include slate, granite, moss covered rocks and so on.

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 3200x2000 (2560x1440 for the calendars). The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone. I have also added an iPad retina hi-res version.

Get it from the Downloads & Links section

Gallery Update & More Resources @ DeviantArt

I have added some additional book cover designs to each of the galleries - so please take a look. Happy

I have also added some additional resources (textures) to my DeviantArt Gallery

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

August Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Hey all,
this months wallpaper is a draft image I produced for the “Sol” competition by #Inner Space Group over at Deviantart . You can find my final image and competition entry in my DeviantArt gallery. The Sun, planet and starfield were created in Photoshop.

Out of the fire-Aug2012-thumb

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 3200x2000 (2560x1440 for the calendars). I have also added an iPad retina hi-res version. The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone.

Get it from the Downloads & Links section


Latest works: Starship Arrival

I have been in a Chris Foss mood over the past few days and this image is the result!

So here we go - totally produced in Cinema 4D; the large planet was created using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug in. Not that you can really tell, but I used my own textures with Atmosphere for the Earth-like planet. The small moons were produced with PXG Planet, with NASA textures from the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.


The ship hull texture is my own (the specular layer is available from my DeviantArt page) as are the stripes and star decals. Other textures are by Total Textures and Marlin Studios.

Latest works: Artifact

I have always liked producing images of alien terrains; I started (in what now feels like a million years ago) with Bryce, then Cararra. However, as each successive build of Carrara becomes ever more unreliable on the Mac I have attempted to do more terrain work within Cinema 4D.

I don't have V13, which has additional terrain features, but it's still possible to produce some passable terrains for 'tight' scenes. My main problem has been the terrain materials having too much specular reflection, which I just haven't been able to kill.


Anyway, overall I think this came out pretty well; it depicts a scene where two astronauts discover an abandoned alien installation. Having recently seen Prometheus, this image is very influenced by the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s film. The artifact is intended to suggest both the Engineers (iconic) ship and the domed structures they are buried beneath. I almost made the spacesuits blue, too, but settled for blue detailing - white gives a much more satisfying glow in post production.

There is also a faux book cover version in the gallery.

July Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

I have just uploaded my July wallpaper - it’s called ‘New World Reconnoitre’

New World Reconnoiter-Thumb
For my July wallpapers I wanted to produce an image that was totally 3d and also featured a realistically lit spaceship - I haven’t been happy with my space scene lighting at all.

So here we go - totally produced in Cinema 4D; the planet was created using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug in. I used my own textures with Atmosphere to produce ‘New Terra’ (including a 16k cloud texture).

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 3200x2000 (2560x1440 for the calendars). I have also added an iPad retina hi-res version. The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone.

Get it from the Downloads & Links section


More Gallery Additions

I have added some additional faux covers to the ‘Spacewrecks’ gallery..

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

Gallery Additions

I have added some additional faux covers to the ‘Spacecraft’ and “Other Worlds’ galleries...

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

June Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

It’s wallpaper time!

For my June wallpaper and calendar collection I thought I would create a space scene that celebrated Ridley Scott’s new Sci-Fi film ‘Prometheus’ which opened in Paris yesterday. In his original ‘Alien’ as well as ‘Prometheus’, the planet visited by humans is a moon around a ringed gas giant.
Gas Giant-Thumb
No 3d work in this months image - everything was created in Photoshop. The planet textures came from all sorts of places; for instance, the moon in the foreground is created from a montage of satellite pictures of Moroccan desert. Because of the angle, I had dreadful problems with the gas giant rings - it was very difficult to get the perspective right and to ensure they were recognisable as rings. I’m still not convinced they look right.

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 2560x1440. The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone. I have also added an iPad retina hi-res version.

Get it from the Downloads & Links section


Back From Hols, Added Resources Over At DeviantArt

So, back from sunny, beautiful Corsica to beautiful but incredibly wet Paris - it really is horrible!

Corsica is just a brilliant island; rugged inland with the most incredible mountains and a coast of lovely sandy coves. Whenever possible, my wife and I spend our May holiday there; early May is perfect as the island is still quiet. We returned to the area around Olmeto and Propriano for this visit. As ever, we took thousands of photos - and, I’m not sure why, but something triggered memories from my youth... As a teenager I was a big fan of Roger Dean and the granite rock textures as well as the shapes of the rocks themselves reminded my strongly of his work.
Campomoro - Roger Dean carved rocks - 6

...and this one also reminds of the derelict from the film ‘Alien’!! Happy

Anyway, you can judge for yourselves! I have added a selection of pictures and texture resources to my portfolio over at DeviantArt.

May Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Hey all,
the #Inner Space Group over at Deviantart is holding a competition for illustration with the theme of “Sol” and I have used my entry for that competition as this months wallpaper. The image was inspired by an Arthur C Clarke short story called 'Summertime on Icarus' in which a research spaceship gets to within seventeen million miles of the Sun, shielded by the asteroid Icarus.

The Sun and starfield were created in Photoshop, whilst the planetoid and spaceship were created in Cinema 4D. The spaceship is deliberately in the style of the great Peter Elson.

Safety in the shadows-thumb

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone. I have also added a ‘new iPad’ retina hi-res version for all of you new iPad users.

Download from on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

April Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Hey all,
Spring is here, it’s the end of March and time for a new wallpaper to brighten up your desktop! This month, my image is a Photoshop creation called ’Light Wave’. Following my wife’s request for ‘warmer’ images, I’m still trying to weave as much green in to my images to reflect the arrival of warmer weather.
Light Wave April 2012

As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. The standard iPad/tablet sized wallpaper looks great on my phone. I have also added a ‘new iPad’ retina hi-res version for all of you new iPad users.

Download from on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Book Release - Adventures Of Drachir Vol II from Daric Books

Hey all,
As you know from my ‘walk-through’ posts, I have been working on a couple of covers for Daric Books. The books central character - the eponymous Drachir - is a loveable rogue who wanders the universe in his ship, The Nevis. Daric Books have just released the second novel in the Drachir series. You can see the cover and buy the book at the Daric Online Bookstore

As with the first Drachir novel, to celebrate the release of the book I have created a wallpaper pack featuring Drachir’s ship in all its glory

You can download the pack from the Downloads and Links section. Enjoy!

March Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Curiosity on the way to discovery-thumb
I have just uploaded the March wallpaper and calendars - yes, it’s already the end of February! This month it’s a composite Cinema 4D render, with Photoshop backdrop. My wife complained to me bitterly that the previous few images were too cold and that she wanted colours that would remind her of Spring. So, here we go! An interstellar probe sent from Earth approaching a planet deep in the heart of a hydrogen-rich nebula - hence the green! I have named it ‘Curiosity on the way to discovery’, in honour of the Mars mission.

As usual, you will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. The iPad/tablet size wallpaper works great on my HTC phone.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Latest Book Cover Design

I have been doing some more work on book cover design, the result being very Peter Elson-like. I have called it ‘Grand Prix’, as it looks very much like a race to me - albeit a futuristic low-orbital one!

The cover currently doesn’t have a home, so if you have a project it would for, do let me know.


Dashboard Netnewswire Theme!

Dashboard Thumb

And to prove that my creativity hasn’t completely deserted me, i have made another theme for the excellent Netnewswire RSS Reader. Made with CSSEdit and Textmate, ‘Dashboard’ uses Lucida and Helvetica to blend in with your Mac desktop. As with my previous styles, it is intended to be easy on the eye and also provide ad-blocking.

You can download the Dashboard theme in the Downloads & Links section.


February Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

In a galaxy far away Thumb

Well, that’s January 2012 gone! I have to say, I found January tough-going... Just sapped my motivation and creativity completely! However, I have just uploaded the February calendars - I have created the image, “In a galaxy far away”... You will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes as well as one for iPads/tablets (looks great on my HTC smartphone!)

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

January 2012 Wallpapers & Calendars Are Available

All ready for the New Year!

Absolutely the final freebie of 2011, I have opted for a the cold-toned image, “Red Dwarf”...

Red Dwarf-Thumb
As usual, you will find English and French calendar versions, as well as a plain wallpaper pack that also includes an iPads/tablets size (works for most smartphones too). All the packs contain a choice of 3 widescreen monitor sizes.

As ever, you can find them in the downloads section. Enjoy!

L'hiver and Frimas NNW Styles Available

I have some final freebies available for 2011... First up, some new styles for Netnewswire: L’hiver and Frimas (French for Winter and “Wintry Winter” respectively)

l'hiver screen

frimas screen

The styles use Zapfino for the article header and Cochin for the article body text. As ever, you’ll find them in the downloads section. ENjoy!

December Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Emerald Thumb
I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by! December already! OMG! I have just uploaded the December calendars - thinking of traditionalChristmas colours, I have opted for a green-themed image, “Emerald”... You will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes as well as one for iPads/tablets

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Couple Of Additional Pieces In The Gallery

I have added some additional faux covers to the ‘Spacecraft’ and “Other Worlds’ galleries...

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!

Daric Books Release "The Adventures Of Drachir'

Hey all,
As you know, I have been working on a couple of covers for Daric Books. The books central character - the eponymous Drachir - is a loveable rogue who wanders the universe in his ship, The Nevis. You can see the cover and buy the book at this link:

To celebrate the release of the book I have created a wallpaper pack featuring Drachir’s ship in all its glory

The Nevis-Thumb
You can download the pack from the Downloads and Links section. Enjoy!

November Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Flyer Binary Image-merged
I have just uploaded the November wallpaper and calendars (I can’t believe how quickly time goes by!)... This month it’s a composite Cinema 4D render, with Photoshop backdrop. A classic SF image; spacecraft approaching a planet that is partly in darkness. I have named it ‘Binary’, as I have binary suns as well as two ships. As usual, you will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. The iPad wallpaper looks great in Photoshop - I have it looks as good on your iPad/tablet device.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

October Wallpaper and Calendar Packs Now Available

Hey all,
I have just uploaded the October wallpapers and calendars... You will find English and French versions of the calendars, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 2560*1440. Having left it out from the September pack, the iPad (or other tablet) portrait wallpaper makes a welcome return to the plain wallpaper pack .

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Automne Netnewswire Theme for Autumn!

Another free Netnewswire theme, this time with an autumnal theme (which seems bizarre, as temperatures exceeded 27 degrees today here in Paris!).

Anyway, it’s available in the Downloads and Links section - enjoy!

New Netnewswire Styles


In my continued search for the perferect RSS style sheet, i have made two more themes for the excellent Netnewswire RSS Reader. Made with CSSEdit and Textmate, Finder Blue uses Gill Sans to display text, whilst Papyrus uses Century Gothic. As with my previous styles, both are intended to be easy on the eye and also provide ad-blocking.

You can download the themes in the Downloads & Links section.


September Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!


Little bit late with these; the render took bl**dy ages!! I have just uploaded the September wallpaper and calendars... This month it’s a Cinema 4D render, with Photoshop post work. A classic SF scene, the space hanger!! As usual, you will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. No iPad version this time, though, as I just couldn’t get the image to work on that size/ratio screen.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

August Wallpapers & Calendars - for those not sat on a beach!


Hey all,
I have just uploaded the August wallpapers and calendars... You will find English and French versions of the calendars, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes up to 2560*1440. The plain wallpaper pack also includes an iPad (or other tablet) portrait wallpaper.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

More Netnewswire themes!

Another treat for Mac users... i have made some more themes for the excellent Netnewswire RSS Reader. Made with CSSEdit and Textmate, they are clean styles that use Helvetica and Helvetica neue as well as using ad-blocking. You can download the themes in the Downloads & Links section.


July Wallpapers & calendars posted with less than 40 minutes to spare!


Doesn’t time fly when you’re busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger? I have just uploaded the July calendars... You will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. Following further feedback I have added a 2560*1440 size for all those that are buying the 27” iMac!! (like me!)

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

June Wallpapers & Calendars are up....


I have uploaded the June calendars... You will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. Following your feedback I have also uploaded a plain wallpaper pack - that zip contains an iPad wallpaper size as well.


Netnewswire Theme

Special treat for Mac users... If you use the excellent Netnewsire RSS Reader you can download a Nemean-style theme in the Downloads & Links section.

May Wallpapers & Calendars Available

The May calendars are available for download in the ‘Goodies’ section. English and French language versions, as well as a choice of widescreen sizes.

Moving To New Domain

Soon I’ll be moving this site to a new domain - This is part of my plan to develop a career out my art, rather than continuing as a hobby.... Stay tuned for more news!

Lynda Cinema 4D Training 3: Spline Tool

spline leaf

And learning how to use the Spline Tools by modelling a simple leaf... Care of the Lynda Cinema 4D video tutorials...

Lynda Cinema 4D Training 2: Bridge Tool


Screen grab from the Lynda Cinema 4D TRaining; building a “maze” using the bridge tool...

Lynda Cinema 4D Training


I have been working my way through the Lynda Cinema 4D course... I prefer the video format versus book, but I’m not a great fan of Larry Mitchell’s style - and with this sort of thing, the presenters style is ‘make or brake’, really...

Screen shot is an exercise modelling a simple spoon; you are introduced to HyperNURBs, Soft Selection, etc...

Carrara 7 out: Daz claim speed improvement

Daz has released Carrara 7.0... They’re claiming dramatic speed improvements along with a host of new features including: Export capabilities via COLLADA Export, Multi-pass Rendering, as well as a new 3D Paint tool that enables textures to be selected, edited and painted directly onto an object. Additionally, the Assembly Room Vertex Modelling puts the Vertex Modelling capabilities that were previously only available in the Modelling room in the Assembly room too.

Cinema 4D: C4D 11 is out

Maxon has released C4D R11 which includes a non-linear animation system, new global illumination render engine and dramatically improved render speed. As well as support for the COLLADA file format and CineMan, lots of improvements were made to BodyPaint Release 4

Cinema 4D: Sci-Fi Tower

Sci-Fi Tower
I discovered another tutorial by Adam Benton over at ImagineFX. This time, the tutorial sets out to produce an image in the style of Chris Moore. The tutorial doesn’t go into the modelling of the the tower in detail - but it was enough to set me off!

You can find the tutorial “ sci-fi-art.html” here

Cinema 4D: Lamp Tutorial

Lamp Tut

I’m still working my way through the Anson Call book... Having a lot of fun so far and love C4D - easily one of the best pieces of software I have ever used. The latest tutorial - modelling the lamp, above - was really very nice, well laid-out and very satisfying to complete.

Cinema 4D - Castle Tutorial

Castle Tut
My brother bought me the Anson Call book Cinema 4D R10 Handbook for my birthday, back in July. I have only now found the time to sit down and dig into it... Plus points are shorter exercises - I can complete them in an evening! Also, the text is easier to read than the Arndt von Koenigsmarck book. Negatives - the images are all black and white, which makes some of them a little difficult to see clearly.

The image above shows a quick test render during the simple Castle tutorial.

Cinema 4D: Mac Pro

I have invested in Arndt von Koenigsmarck’s CInema 4D 10 Workshop and, suitably for an Apple employee, one of the first exercises is building a Mac Pro.

Above you can see me part-way through.The book is extremely comprehensive, taking the reader through simple modelling exercises (such as the Mac Pro) to complex modelling exercises (a car). However, even the easy exercises are long, with many, many steps. In fact, it’s impossible to complete an exercise in an evening, and for those of use whose day job is not 3d modelling, it’s nice to finish an exercise in one go and get a sense of achievement. Also, the translation from the original German is very stodgy, making the ebook hard to understand at times and ponderous at best.

Cinema 4D: Chris Foss-style Spaceship

Foss retro Spaceship Tut
I recently discovered some great C4D modelling tutorials at ImagineFX. One in particular by Adam Benton caught my eye - how to model Chris Foss style spaceships!!! As you can imagine, I was in heaven! Above is one of my first efforts - if you’re interested in the tutorial, you can find it “ .html” here

Daz Releases Bryce 6

Daz has released Bryce 6, fairly quickly followed by an update. Bryce is now Mac Intel native, supports HDRI and its memory management is better on the Mac - but I think its over. Not an app for me anymore...

In fact, the way Daz develops its software makes me wonder for the future of Carrara... Functionality is driven not by user needs, but to drive Daz’s main business - Poser-compatible figures, props and scenery.

Cinema 4D - Initial Experiences

Picture 2

The screen-capture, above, shows my first efforts in Cinema 4D! The exercise is from the included Quickstart guide. I must say that I’m super-impressed with this application; The interface is clean, understandable and very intuitive. Although Cinema 4D is feature-rich, capable of advanced rendering and animation tasks, the interface is simple enough for a beginner to jump in and produce results quickly. In fact, I would consider that to be the Cinema 4D's strongest feature - its ease-of-use. C4D is a very powerful application, yet but there is always more to learn; like PhotoShop, it is a program that provides a wealth of capabilities on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you will find the full-blown, high octane, turbocharged monster just waiting for you to get stuck-in!

More to come!

Cinema 4D!!!

My good friend Eshwar has arranged for Maxon to send me a copy of Cinema 4D - I’m super excited about this, not to mention extremely grateful!

Movie quality 3D here I come!

Purchased Carrara and Hexagon

Completely bloody fed-up with the terrible render times in Bryce 5.5 on the Mac, not to mention its rubbish Mac OS X integration, I have bought Carrara 5 and Hexagon...

Already, it’s immediately obvious that Carrara has a far superior rendering engine - does caustics, HDRI, everything! Just going to take some time to figure it out!

Made The Cover Of Sci-Fi Week

I’m really chuffed, because “Spacewreck 3 - The Mayflower” has been chosen as the cover of Sci-Fi Week! Also, the image is being used on the Archive area for all 2006 images!