Jason Fletcher
Motion Designer
PACK ⬕ Warp Factor
- This pack contains 26 VJ loops (17 GB)

I was recently watching the movie "Flight of the Navigator" and was soaking up the nostalgic awe of the futuristic spaceship that it so proudly features. I originally wanted to have this chrome spaceship darting all around the screen, but then I started finding tons of other spaceship models. So then the idea transformed into having 73 different spaceships tumbling while traveling at warp speed. There are so many amazing free 3D models that artists have released. Respect!

An interesting challenge arose: How do you make something look like it's traveling insanely fast without needing tons of actual environment surrounding it? Well my idea was to create an animated reflection map and then apply it to the domeLight in Maya. Although it needed to be an equirectangular map so that it could surround the entire scene, so I realized a fun trick. I downloaded some real astronomy photos from Hubble, imported the photos into After Effects, vertically stretched them 1000%, animate the Y translation very quickly, rendered it out, and linked it into Maya. In this way I was able to create a sense of immense speed by ignoring the equirectangular poles mapping. Then rendering out a motion vector AOV pass for the spaceships was the icing on the cake.

After comping the spaceships renders in After Effects I realized that adding yet another layer of motion would be beneficial. So I started creating a star field so that I could fly the camera through it at a slower speed. But my typical approach in the past would be to use an nParticle emitter to create a sprite star field, yet Redshift cannot render sprites type particles. So I did some brainstorming and realized that I really just needed a way to randomly distribute 20,000 low poly spheres within a given volume. And so of course a MASH simulation was perfect for this.

A project of this type always demands so much prep work. I had to prepare all of the models, group and center all of the poly, scaling everything to the same size, flip UV's, clean up, import, place, and animate everything. But sometimes I enjoy this type of prep work since it allows me to brew on the creative possibilities. Live long and prosper.

Released October 2021