Space Mission

Computer Graphics Final

Welcome to the last project of your Computer Graphic's class. In this final, you will be able to combine all the skills and knowledge you have acquired in the second half of this class.

For this project, we will turn our attention to the amazing scientific missions that have expanded our view of the universe.

Your final has two components:

  • A researched factsheet on your particular space mission.
  • A realistically rendered 3D model of that mission.

*Read all the directions clearly and understand what I want you to achieve for section of this guide.

Student Exemplar: The Hubble Space Telescope by Eli Nolasco Class of 2015

Step 1: Choose your Mission

Select one of the options below. Each mission happened on a different time. Your job will be to research the mission and recreate a simplified model of the spacecraft or module in Cheetah 3D. Notice that each mission has it own challenges in terms of difficulty. There is not easier or harder option. You must use your creativity and the skills of 3D modeling to recreate the model in a way that faithfully represents the original.

Apollo 11 Lunar Module

Hubble Space Telescope

Opportunity Mars Rover

Step 2: Research & Create Fact Sheet

Make a new project in Adobe Illustrator that is 17 by 11 inches. Begin formatting objects and text like the example to the right. On one half of the page you will research and answer the following questions:

  • Why was the mission given its name?
  • How many years was the mission in development?
  • How much did the mission cost?
  • What year was it launched and from where?
  • What were the primary goals of the mission?
  • Who were the lead scientists or who were the astronauts in the mission?
  • Did the mission have any problems or challenges it had to overcome?
  • How did the mission end.

* Make sure you use credible primary sources to justify your answers. You will have to cite your sources in your answers.

Brief Article

On the second half of your project you will write a brief, 200 word article describing the significance of the mission IN YOUR OWN WORDS. All 200 words must be your own, but you want to explain why the mission was needed and what we learned form it, or why it was important to science.

*You must come up with an original argument and justify your opinion with concrete facts.

Step 3: Gather your schematics

A schematic is a simplified 2 dimensional version of an object that shows the object's components and proportions. In order to get an accurate 3D model you need to start out with a clear and detailed schematic. Notice that in some case the schematic will not be from all angles so you might have to get different schematics that show different sides of your mission. Look at the examples below for some basic schematics that I found. However, these are not the only ones online. Spend some of your time deciding if the ones below are the best schematics, or if there are better ones online.

*Pay Close attention to any measurements or ratios! You will need to use this to create an accurate model.

Step 4: Modeling your mission

The most effective way to begin modeling your mission is to BREAK DOWN THE OBJECT INTO ITS MOST SIMPLE PARTS. Look at the schematics and see if the mission aircraft has easily recognizable cylinders, squares, polygons, tubes, etc. Follow these steps to build your model.:

  • Use shapes that are already pre built: cylinders, cubes, spheres, tubes, capsules.
  • Remember that a flat panel is simply a cube that is shrunk on one side.
  • Start with the largest main components and get the proportions right.
  • For more complex shapes, begin with cubes or polyhedra and then make them editable.
  • Once editable you can subdivide shapes in order to add more detail.
  • Use the point, edge, and polygon modes to create custom shapes.
  • Notice that all three missions use symmetry. Create one side well and then copy it.
  • Use Boolean shapes for satellite dishes.
  • Do small details last. But these should also be composed of simple shapes.

*Visualize your project and create a plan of attack before you begin modeling.

Note: Do all of your initial modeling on the flat X and Z axis.

This is incredibly important. If you build your model following a diagonal access you will have more trouble lining up your objects.

Objects lined up on the X and Z axis. Easier to line up.

Objects NOT lined up on the X and Z axis. Hard to line up.

Step 5: Applying textures

I will provide you with some textures, but you are also free to download high quality images from the internet that you can use as textures. Stuff you might want to look for is solar panel textures, metal textures and the NASA logos.

Step 6: Rendering

Once your model is finished and your textures are applied it is time to render your final object. To do this you will need to place your final 3D model in a Lightbox in order to see the final project as it was intended. The final project that looks like an actual photograph is your render and this final picture will go into your fact sheet.

If you do not remember how to render your final project using a lightbox, click on the link to find a Tutorial:

After you are done with your render. Update your fact sheet and turn everything in.