Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alien planet Earth

Rendering our planet "alienized", using a different set of basic materials for fractal mixer, with changed parameters of atmosphere, sun and water.

Scattering of light in the atmosphere determines both the color of sky and sunsets. We can see a blue sky because the blue light is more likely to bounce off the air molecules than the green and even more than the red components of sun light. As the light from sun travels through the atmosphere above us, some of it gets scattered away from the ray and towards our eyes. The same effect is responsible for red sunsets - as the sun sets, light from it has to travel a longer way through a denser layers of atmosphere. By the time it reaches us, most of the blue and green light gets scattered away from the ray, leaving only the most persistent red component.

This effect is simulated in Outerra, and so we are able to play with it. What if the atmosphere consisted of different gases and the scattering characteristic was different?

In the following video we are showing planet Earth that was "alienized". The atmosphere in it scatters the green light best, which you can see not only on the sky itself but also on the shaded parts that are not lighted by sun but only by a portion of the sky.
The sun has got an orange shade, which you can see mainly on the horizon (the sun itself is too bright so looking at it directly saturates the color to white).

The absorption of light in the water has been altered as well - normally, the red light gets only so far in the water, when it almost entirely disappears. Here, the medium absorbs the green and blue light instead, letting the red one to penetrate into depths. Of course, since the water surface largely reflects the sky at an angle, the ocean appears to be green in the distance.

At the end there's also a short sequence with a red-orange atmosphere.

Here are some screens showing it under various settings:

Milk water & yellow skies:

Violet atmosphere:

No atmosphere (or no atmospheric scattering). This is what you'd get for example on the Moon:
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