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  • Elena V Miller

Space Firebird 2772

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

I started this model out of my passion for science fiction and also to play freely in a scene without client restrictions or any other limitations.

Space Firebird 2772

Space Firebird 2772 is one of my personal experimental projects done in 2014. I've played quite a while working on it during my evenings and free time, trying hard to improve my skills in #hardsurface modelling.

It was my first ever anime experience and I was absolutely ore struck. It spiked my fantasy at the time and made me daydreaming about a futuristic world and space travel.

The process of modelling this #spaceship (really it didn't look quite as anything at the beginning) wasn't very linear at all. I didn't follow any particular method or tutorial and I didn't want to set myself any limits at the beginning. After I deleted and restarted modelling a few times, I thought I would like to attempt to create a spaceship that would maybe be a tribute for one of my favourite anime films that brought joy to my childhood - #Phoenix 2772 #Space Firebird, original title - Ai no kosumozôn (1980) directed by Taku Sugiyama. It was my first ever anime experience and I was absolutely ore struck. It spiked my fantasy at the time and made me daydreaming of that futuristic world and space travel. I had my first ever philosophical revelation about the scale of men in report to the universe.


Hi no tori 2772: Ai no kosumozôn (1980)


Making-of the spaceship in my scene


I started blocking out the shapes and eventually decided to go on with a bird shaped shuttle with large wings that would be part of the crew chambers and a module below that would carry a cargo of people in cold sleep. It symbolically represents "the #phoenix" bird (a symbol of rebirth) that would be a #transporter ship which would search for a habitable planet outside our solar system after our planet would become inhabitable.


start of modelling process

The story in the #anime is quite different but this wasn't meant to be an illustration, it was more a starting point, an idea. I didn't really pursue a narrative but I had in my mind a sketch of the context in which this ship would "live".


spaceship modelling process

Being one of my first more complex #hardsurface models, I made many beginner mistakes. One of the main mistakes being the attempt to add detail on a big model - you would normally create more pieces, smaller bits and put them together. Also I was tempted to add detail without finishing first the global shape and then having to delete many parts I've spent quite a lot of lot of time doing. So there were many lessons to be learned with this project.


spaceship modelling process

Also using turbosmooth modifier added to the complexity. My intention is to have a high-poly model anyway, I wasn't worried about the resolution but I wanted to keep it clean in the same time which was quite a challenge at some point.


modelling process

Eventually I had a model, not an ideal one but it was my first ever spaceship finished. I was dreaming of being a concept artist at the time but that wasn't a realistic career direction for me.

It remained as one of my first attempts to create something different, not only the projects I was doing for my full-time job. Coming back to the scene making-of I wanted to put this spaceship in a context so I thought to create a composition with a planet below.


compositing with a planet

Photoshop composition

I've added many satellite images from earth and overlayed them to create the illusion of a new habitable planet that the spaceship was heading to.


Compositing and post-production in Photoshop

Next step was the interior. I made the interior as a totally different scene. I even thought the spaceship doesn't worth showing and I should only post the interior as a portfolio scene. It was only experimenting in the end so it didn't really matter.

Interior lighting at the beginning

I really enjoyed playing with the lighting although in the end I changed it completely. I was tempted to make an outer space lighting but I changed my mind because I thought it would be more interesting to just land them on the planet and see something different.


I used an HDRI from one of our trips at Chamonix (France) in the Alpes as I thought would create a spectacular bright light and I could easily give the impression in Photoshop that it's an alien planet.


I did quite a bit of work on the #coldsleep pods which I designed looking more like coffins. I wanted to give them a rather sinister look and I also added a few people in #postproduction

Here it is a closer look at the coldsleep pods:



detail from the post-production stage

The final image for the interior:

Interior final image - Time to Wake-up

I've named it Time to Wake-up. I've presented this project at one of the #3dsmaxusergroup meetups in London - @3dslondon (twitter). I used to attend these meetups quite often and I had the honour to even do a couple of presentations myself.

Thank you for watching and hope to see you soon on my blog!

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