W.I.W.O: Week 32 – VSSEC Mission to Mars in Stereoscopic 3D

After almost 5 months, I am happy to announce that I have finished my work on the VSSEC Mission to Mars animation. I have been working on around 4 minutes of 3D animation for the ‘Mission to Mars’ space experience at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre.

Mars Lander touching down on the Red Planet | VSSEC Mission to mars 3D animation

The Mission to Mars program allows secondary school students to spend a day simulating a trip to Mars. At the start of the journey, the crew watches a 12 minute briefing video which was shot, edited & produced by Chris Joiner and The Pod. I was contracted by Alf @ Reel Pictures to help convert this briefing video into Stereoscopic 3D. This has been a challenging, but really fun job!
Red/Cyan 3D Glasses - required to view Anaglyph 3DI worked on 4 sections of the movie, all requiring 3D animation, which was done in 3DS Max and rendered for Stereoscopic 3D using Vray. There are a few still frames included below that are rendered in Anaglyph 3D. You can view these in 3D by wearing some Red/Cyan 3D Glasses. Click the images below to view them fullscreen. All of the 3D content was created to be projected on a 5 metre-wide sceeen, and to be viewed from a distance of 6.5 metres away. This means that some of these Stereo3D renders below may not look very ‘comfortable’ when viewed close up on a small computer screen!


VSSEC Mission to Mars Animation - Michael Wentworth-Bell VSSEC Mission to Mars Animation - Michael Wentworth-Bell VSSEC Mission to Mars Animation - Michael Wentworth-Bell

Most of my 3D animation focused on the journey of the Mars Explorer crew, with their journey from Earth to the Mars Explorer in orbit, and then the Mars Lander’s path to it’s landing site on the Red Planet.

VSSEC Mission to Mars Animation - Michael Wentworth-Bell

I modelled the terrain for the landing site in 3Ds max using the artisan brush, and created a procedural texture that would cover the entire the landscape. I painted a black/white blend map to mix 4 different rock & sand textures over the whole terrain. This is a new way of painting textures that I will use from now on! The last shot in the animation lasts for over a minute – A large Zoom shot that reveals the entire desolate mars landscape. Over 1,400 frames long, it took an absolute age to render!

I’ve had a heap of fun working on this job! My eyes are a bit sore from constantly looking a 3D images, but I learnt a lot along the way! I further refined my stereoscopic workflow for After Effects as a result of my work on this job & I hope to make a quick tutorial soon to share some tips, scripts and plug-ins that were indispensible!

I try to create a quick journal entry at the end of each week that covers the projects, events and highlights of the past 7 days. These weekly blog posts are known as the ‘WIWO’ Series
(What I’m Working On).

About the author

Michael Wentworth-Bell is a Melbourne-based 3D generalist and Motion Graphics artist. Michael started the Lode in 2012 as an online Portfolio and blog.

One Response to W.I.W.O: Week 32 – VSSEC Mission to Mars in Stereoscopic 3D

  • What’s up, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

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