#59: SHADOWS & LIGHT (Vue)
#58: ADVANCED DIRT MAPPING (Vue)
#57: SSS IN VUE 9, AND THE "SPECKLE" PROBLEM
#56: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL OF ART
#55: FIXING POSER CLOTHING
#54: MAKING "FOREST WAR - GOBLIN SHAMAN"
#53: MAKING A STUDIO RENDER FOR VUE
(and other apps)
#49: NEBULA MKIII (Vue)
#48: RENDER SETTINGS FOR VUE (Vue)
#47: POSTWORK - MAKING A RENDER INTENSE (Any)
#46: MAKING RIVERS THAT FOLLOW TERRAIN HEIGHTS (Vue or Bryce)
NEBULAS
How to make good nebulas in Vue for space scenes

Nebulas are iconinc parts of space imagery, thanks to Hubble, however, you'd rarely see them so large and detailed in real space, unless you were close to them, as a note.
Nebulas in space are giant clouds of gas lit up by stars, stars being born or stars exploding and dying. This tutorial is a good way to make the more "common" nebulae, nebula left by supernovae have precise shapes and are very different, so we'll make large, irregular, patchwork clouds of glowing gas!

How to do this in Vue is to make 3 large spheres, the material will be applied to these and surround our camera, so allowing our camera to move if need be and not look odd, as it would with flat surfaces, also you can rotate the spheres to get a suitable piece of material in front of the camera for rendering. These nebula are random, so you will need to rotate the spheres to get a pleasing look. It also means you can save these and re-use them frequently with little work! ;)


The reason why I suggest using THREE spheres, is so you can use different coloured nebula, to layer them, so you can get different blending. Colours are entirely up to you, go check space pics for what you like: blues and orange/red are common, along with pure black from vast clouds of dust nebulas. With three spheres you can thus layer images, superimposing different nebula in front or behind of each other. It's important to remember that dust nebula must be in front of other objects, like other nebula, for you to see them. Similarly, very distant things, like galaxies, should be beyond the nebula, compare pictures 1 and 4 for this aspect. Planets, space ships and asteroids should be closer.

To make a nebula in Vue, start with a sphere, make it pretty large, 4,000 units or so in size, it doens't have to be big but it helps later if you wish to animate the scene. Load a standard cumulous cloud material, they are a good starting point. Next, pick a colour...in my following example I use New Orleans Blue from the Day Time colour gradients, Orange the Sunset color gradients for the red nebula, and a pure black for dust nebula.

Real nebula do not cover the whole of space, indeed, they tend to clump into certain areas, so to simulate that, you want a transparent material which shows very little actual material (unless you want a massive nebula), and varying degress of transparency: thus cumulous cloud materials are good starting points. Totally opaque nebulas wouldn't look good, usually. Similarly it must be remembered that nebula glow in real life, lit up by stars inside them, thus you should make the material luminous in the function editor, I would not recommend using glow, though you may find that useful. Also, you must make sure the material is set to OBJECT PARAMETRIC mapping, so no matter how you scale your nebula spheres, the material will still stay in the same ratio and appearance.Dust clouds aren't true nebula, but they show up very well against true nebula, like the "Horse head Nebula". Don't make dust clouds cover too much area, without reason.

Settings I used for the blue nebula for this one I combined two functions to give more variance. I'd recommend using differing settings for different nebula, so they don't look too similar. I made the red nebula to cover less area than the blue, and the dust nebula to be even smaller in area.

For a final, nice effect, you can add specific, bright stars, to make it look more lively. Add some point lights, now, you can set them soft and leave close to the camera, "faking" their distance, or you can move them way back in the scene but that may mean having to up their power.
Unless you want these to light the scene, edit their light settings so they do NOT affect anything in the scene as that would tak emore render time etc. Distant stars would not light up a scene, unless sort of close (like a binary star). Edit the lens flare on these, remove reflections unless needed or you get to much of them reflecting and mkaing a mess. Tweak the settings of the lens flare, as distant stars, their power should be lower.

And there you have a lovely, re-usable space scene and materials you can have a lot of fun with! :)
Thanks to Monsoon from 3dcommune.com who inspired this.
BLUE NEBULA (1)
BLUE AND RED NEBULAS (2)
BLUE, RED AND DUST NEBULAS (3)
MAKE SURE VERY DISTANT OBJECTS ARE BEYOND THE NEBULA (4)

ARRANGING THE SPHERES TO SURROUND THE CAMERA (5)
NOTE: Dust should be in front of other nebula so it occludes them, acting as a sort of shadow.

MATERIAL SETTING LUMINOUS AND OBJECT PARAMETRIC (6)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR BLUE NEBULA (7)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR BLUE NEBULA (8)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR BLUE NEBULA (9)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR BLUE NEBULA (10)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR BLACK DUST NEBULA (11)

FUNCTION SETTINGS I USED FOR RED NEBULA (12)
HOW THE THREE NEBULAE LOOK
USING POINT LIGHTS FOR STARS (13)
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All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012