Monday 12 December 2011

Death Star Texturing

Death Star Texture

This was the texture I used for the Death Star. It is a seamless tile which was perfect to use as it didn't leave an obvious line where the texture met up with itself.
This texture also defined the trenches in the Death Star which was useful as I could then Boolean out the trenches where they were on the texture.

For this model I wanted a quick way to cut into the texture to create an uneven effect as the Death Star isn't just a smooth sphere I wanted it to show where edges were cut out.

To achieve this I used a bump map, The bump map takes a texture and then allows you to either pull in or extrude the darker areas of the texture.

Loading the texture and then lowering the amount of the bump map down created the perfect uneven texture I was looking for. The problem I found with this was it didn't actually display the texture as well as the bump map so to solve this problem I also added the texture under the Diffuse Colour as well so that the texture was displayed as well as the bump map.

I also noticed that the bump map would only be displayed with the frame was rendered so when I was adjusting the height I had to keep rendering the image to check it was at the right height. As the model was a sphere I didn't need to bother with a UVW unwrap again as I could project the texture directly onto the model.

As the bump map only cuts into the model small amounts I had to manually cut out the bigger trenches. To to this I created large tubes that I could adjust to Boolean out small cuts all the way around the model. I also used a Mesh Smooth modifier to make the tubes have a much rounder shape.

I simply went round the model adjusting the size of the tube and cutting out each trench. It was essential that I got the Boolean size just right as the cuts were all at an angle, If they were too big It made the model look strange from a distance so this was a very long and tedious task.

With the laser of the Death Star I chose not to use a texture as it was a simple object that worked perfectly well with just a colour applied to it.

When creating the Death Star I had forgotten to create the main whole that the X Wing was going to shoot down to destroy it so I added this to the main trench by using a cylinder and Boolean it out.

Overall the Death Star was a simple object to create but as it was also going to be used as my landscape I had to make sure it had enough detail for this.

This is what the Death Star looked like without the bump map.

But when rendered you can clearly see how the bump map has affected the texture and it makes it look a lot more realistic.


  1. Hi Jason,

    Nicely done! Would you be willing to create a cylindrical map projection of the Death Star with the gun port included? Basically combining these two images:

    I manage one of NASA's Regional Planetary Image Facilities. We have a Magic Planet which displays cylindrical datasets on a globe. We're looking for a Death Star image to compare with Saturn's moon, Mimas.

    Many thanks.
    Rick Kline
    SPIF Data Manager

    1. I'm building a Death Star II at present, I can supply maps as required, although there'll be some cheating when projecting the parts missing, or 'under construction'.

      I'm using Mimas maps to guide my layout: 'mimas_rgb_cyl_www.jpg' and 'combined_mimas_lon_zero_center.png' - so the parallels in the maps will no doubt be influenced by this.

      I presume in the past 18 months you've subsequently acquired a DS map, but if not, you're welcome to drop me a line: ideastudio◘at◘outlook◘dot◘com

  2. Nice work Jason! I'm building a Death Star of my own at the moment and found your post while doing my research.
    Fantastic that you should get a contact from Rick Kline- hope that worked out. If it was me I'd be shouting that from the rooftops and giving it pride of place on my CV!
    Looks like we're using the same software, I'm going to rough mine out tomorrow and I'll look in to crisping up the effects of the bump map too. Might be MIP falloff vs polycount or something?