3D Nebula

This has to be one of the coolest GIF’s I’ve ever seen: the Elephant Trunk Nebula IC1396 mapped as a 3D/Lenticular image by J-P Metsavainio. He uses a single image he’s captured and then uses surface modelling software True Space to create these amazing animated GIF.

His astronomical imaging is a true mixture of art, science and technique combined to create these wondrous visions…as he say…“The art part is the most important for me, even though my images are scientifically correct”

Animated GIF of the Nebula  IC 1396 by  J-P Metsavainio ©2013
Animated GIF of the Nebula IC 1396 by J-P Metsavainio ©2013

What J-P Metsavainio has to say about his creation process

Since astronomical objects are too far away, no real parallax can be imaged. So to do that, I have developed a method to turn my images to various 3D-formats. My work flow is based on scientific data from the object, distance and the source of ionization are usually known. The different types of the nebulae has typical structures, pillar like formations must point to the source of ionization, the radiation pressure forms kind of hollow area, inside of the nebula, around newly born stars, dark nebulae must be at front of the emission ones to show, etc…. rest of the missing information is then replaced with an artistic vision.

The whole process is pretty much like sculpting!

I turned the original 2D-image to 3D by using a surface modelling software (TrueSpace).
Image is first divided to layers by its content; each layer is then projected to a 3D-surface. To have good and realistic forms, I did use the software, Bmp2CNC, it converts the shades in the image to a 3D-form. I have semi-automated the whole process, it’ll takes about 20-min. to make a 3D model like in this example is used.

A screen shot from his TrueSpace modeling software.

True Space surface modeling software

All images copyright J-P Metsavainio ©2013 (Click here to see more)

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7 thoughts on “3D Nebula”

      1. I know it’s funny when you see something new like this which makes so much sense….but I guess everything came from an original idea sometime…like photos, they’re so obvious, why did it take so long to invent them 🙂

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