Earth Digital developments for Operation: Deli Platter

November 13, 2022

Operation: Deli Platter is a personal series of renders telling a story about border control, modern warfare and the pharmaceutical industry :)
The first shot in the series is one of planet Earth!

Still from Operation: Deli Platter using Earth Digital.
Rendered in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.

I’ve made lots of Earth renders before so it was fun to play around with the settings for this one.
A thought from the book Beauty by Roger Scruton stuck with me.

Scruton argues that the importance of beauty and its transcendental nature can be found in anything that’s real.
For example, nature can be appreciated as beauty pure by itself.

I wondered if it was possible to achieve such a result in an artwork which lacks the photorealism of real-life.

The first thing I did was utilise our Organic Starfields a bit more.
I’ve been using the pack for a while but hadn’t considered adding really bright stars in the scene.
Considering natural beauty comes from reality, I replicated the position of the stars from NASA’s star plotting page.
You could also use Celestia if you’d like a native application.

Stars extracted from NASA photography and repopulated as particles.

I’m not sure whether this works on an emotional level, but I feel like having these “accurately placed” stars brings a level of subtle realism to the background that becomes engaging to look at.

NormalsShading Pass of Earth and Moon.

The moon itself rendered a bit dark at first, but I made use of the NormalsShading map to lift the values in post.

I’ve made use of a few more subtle channels in the Earth render:
Especially the Vapor Density map benefits the volumetric shadows a lot! I was very surprised that it worked so well :)

The variety of passes we used in Earth Digital.

Making planets is all in the details. How tall are your clouds? How thick is your atmosphere at which point? You know the deal.

So here we are, Planet Earth 2.1 on its way to 2.2!

New updated texture maps, 32-Bit Star plates included, 2 Hour process demo, many many updates to the shaders!

I’ve rendered the Earth layer without the clouds + the clouds separately.
This gives lots of freedom when playing with the cloud density and values in compositing.

Finally, I’ve made use of our personal aperture maps to give a soft rounded bokeh like that of a human eye:

We’ve been developing this as part of our R&D for future project and will soon release a YouTube tutorial on it.
Lens Aperture Maps from our custom bokeh pack that will be released soon!

When applied to a render it looks like this:

As most of it is in focus it is difficult to see its effect. It mainly adds some color variation to your render, as the aperture map isn’t pure grayscale.

Shallow Depth-of-field example from Deli Platter:

If you look at the depth-of-field you’ll see there is a very balanced transition from one blur disk to the next.The human-eye bokeh works really well to create a soft blur that doesn’t attract attention to itself.
The Look-Dev setup I’m using is also available on my store, including a Free Download UV Checkerboard texture!

Thanks a lot for your time! Have a great day!

Cheers, Leo