Catching a few lobsters...
/ Put a Ring On It – Fun with Planet Rings
March 11, 2017

I’m really self conscious about my ability to paint. I’m awful at it, and I’m doubly bad at it when people are watching me. So this morning I woke up early and headed down to URBN for some early morning digital painting. And, since it was early and I was up, I took a quick picture of the sunrise, so it could help inspire the matte painting I had to make. Here’s that picture–

Philly Sunrise from 2nd And Market Street

From this image I appropriated the muted violet and magenta, and the high contrast between the highlights and the low lights.

I also knew that we hadn’t really touched rings in our project, and our adviser has been asking for rings for a bit. Personally, I’m not for rings since I learned they weren’t solid and thus a ship couldn’t land on a ring, but I decided to put aside my grudge and incorporate it into the matte painting. Here’s the final result.

Yeah, I know. I paint like a kid in elementary school. That’s why I paint alone.

I’m not a fan of most of the painting, and I don’t foresee it making the final project, but I did like my ring. I’m pretty proud of the solve for making the ring, too. I started with some fractal noise, added a spiral distort as heavy as I could, feathered the inside and the outside to get the wispy quality at the edges, then added the pixels to the painting so we’d only see the whiter part of the noise. From that spot, I was able to color and manipulate the ring as I needed to hit the color values from our color story.

I also wanted to see if I could replicate the effect in 3D, so I ported the same idea into After Effects. Despite minor changes of effect names, the process can be entirely replicated in After Effects. And thanks to NASA’s willingness to share cool textures, I made a quick video of rings around Earth:

In conclusion, I’ll take the good with the bad. Yeah the matte painting isn’t great and yes, it probably won’t even make the beta cut. But I do think there’s a chance that this ring method could inspire something cooler down the road.

About the author:

I'm an animator, illustrator, and all around artsy guy. You'd want me on your Pictionary team.

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