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Even though the use of this product is very straightforward, you probably have to watch the example movies/streams below to understand the concept. Think of it as an 'IMAX' movie taken from a spacecraft, using a fisheye lens and 8K resolution film. Mathematically though it's more than that. It's a perfectly spherical, stable record of a crystal clear view on earth, as we move across it at approx. 60'000 miles an hour.
The product is the earth background - with no teapots in front, of course. It consists of a 360°-movie at very high resolution (8000x4000), and features a fully immersive flight perspective at approximately 500km altitude from mid pacific ocean to (and halfway across) North America. When used as spherical environment in your scene, you instantly get the perfect impression of a lower earth orbit flight, ideal for spacecraft visualization and the alike.
You don't have to do anything more than that! Your scene itself can be still, no camera or object motion required, since this background sequence AUTOMATICALLY creates the impression of a quick orbital flight across earth!
Btw.: there is no such footage in existance in terms of actual filming material, hence this is the result of a tremendous amount of render time using a refined version of my Photoreal Earth Shader Model (also available through Turbosquid, see related products)
With this footage you don't have to worry about significant render times anymore. The only three things required are:
• 1GB of free RAM (should by far suffice to load one image of this sequence at a time for rendering)
• an application which supports spherical mapping of this imagery. Any 3D application does, but also most compositing platforms
• enough patience to download about 4 Gigabyte of data from an FTP server. The server is very fast, and if your connection is too, this should be only a matter of minutes (a longer coffee break than usual maybe)
An additional graycale image is provided, which can be used as opacity/alpha channel for the entire earth sequence. It separates earth from the starfield background (not included with the product) with an accurately soft transition for the planet's atmosphere.
The stars are not included, simply because there are so many different opinions on wether you would see them at all compared to the very bright planet surface, or how many of them you would see. Also you should be totally free in choosing your camera focal length, so a bitmap starfield would be highly inappropriate for that - stars could easily become big ugly splotches instead of small dots. In 3ds max, I'd recommend using the starfield video post effect in order to receive an accurate and razorsharp sky backdrop.
The flight behavior is pretty close to reality: approximately 500km altitude, which is just slightly higher up than ISS orbit, for example. Flight speed above ground is about three times as fast as it would usually be.
Don't miss the attached example frame and 3ds max 9 scene!