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The Midnight Sky: Aether ship design for Netflix show


Jonathan Opgenhhafen worked on the concept art of the Netflix show Midnight Sky and shared the results of his work on Blender Artists.

Jonathan writes:

I had the utter pleasure of working with legendary production designer, Jim Bissell, to help him design and realise a final concept model for the Aether ship for Netflix’s: Midnight Sky. I spend about 6 weeks out on set at Shepperton Studios working directly with Jim and his amazing team, and in the end, I was able to hand over a fully shaded/textured Blender scene of the ship to the Framestore vfx team and carry out my role as an art director, to delivery any creative guidance on the final build and look. The biggest most interesting challenge (apart from technically building the ship) was to marry up existing ISS aesthetics with a future forward, topologically optimised look, with parts which were 3d printed. Massive props to Framestore vfx for bringing this to life with such detail and beauty. It was a great learning experience (especially in hard surface assets), and being able to use Blender to it’s potential really progressed how we can create concept models for productions. I think I touched photoshop about twice whilst out on set, as I was able to create and review everything in realtime in front of Jim using Blender’s Eevee viewport, while doing final renders in Cycles. I also had the opportunity to help create elements for some of the iterior, and over the span of a year, dipped into the project for a various array of concepting.

He continues with a set of his own renders (those were not used in the show):

Once I handed the Aether over to vfx, I decided to create these renders as I didn’t get a chance to photograph the model with some nice space lighting. To take this one step further, I (very quickly!) created a few animated cameras and rendered out a sequence of shots to show the ship in movement. The sequence took about a day to render in Blender Cycles which I then comped in After Effects. I’m glad I got some “closure” and took the time to render these stills for the archive. Hope you enjoy!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

1 Comment

  1. I saw that movie! Very impressive ship modelling, I had no idea it was done with Blender.

    Does Framestore vfx use Blender too? Or did you have to convert the model to another format for them?

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