Looking for feedback on this space scene

Good morning everyone,

I am putting together a space scene which will serve as the backdrop for a tower defense game. I’m trying to create an asteroid field sitting in a nebula. The planet only serves as decoration.

There are some things bugging me I can’t quite put my finger on. Are the asteroids too brightly lit? Is the nebula-effect sitting too far back? I initially used layered fog sheets but they showed up deep red on the shader inspector. I since swapped to a single exponential height field, but it does not give quite the same results. What else feels off?

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for improvement!

Are all the objects being lit from the same source (some far off sun in reality / bounce off the nearby planet) ? The shadows don’t look exactly uniform, but it could just be the shape of the objects throwing it off for me. Also, the red/tobacco tint is a choice, I tend to prefer a darker feeling blue black for space, though that’s very much personal preference.

Volumetric fog could be a better choice for nebula gas / atmosphere. The asteroids appear to be unaffected by the nebula, and are also brightly lit…though I don’t know if there’s a star nearby or other light source. Perhaps be a bit more than suggestive of the light source that’s lighting the area in the screenshot. A post process volume with intensity of lighting increased on nearer asteroids, and ambient occlusion on everything solid with a tint of the red / orange hue from the nebula. Does the planet have an atmosphere?

Thanks for the input @Kavan and @presto423 ! There is only one directional light in the scene currently, but I understand what you mean. I think it is indeed the shape of some of the asteroids causing some unexpected shadows.

This is useful feedback! I am going to try my hand at some volumetric fog and see if I can have the asteroid field more visually affected by the nebula. Good call on the atmosphere as well. I hadn’t yet though about it but I am going to play around with it.

Thanks again!

There’s a tutorial or two on youtube on how to create a planet, and the atmosphere. One is on the Unreal channel, I think. You already have the height fog in there, so you can add volumetric fog via its settings, but it requires more than only those settings…especially for that particular scene. Try looking up tutorial or how-to of volumetric fog materials / vfx too.

So, here’s my new take at the scene. I think the asteroids are significantly more affected by the nebula now. Also changed the angle of the lighting such that the asteroids don’t appear as flat as they did before. Haven’t worked on the planet’s atmosphere yet, but would still love to hear what you all think.


Asteroids look great with that sharp contrast hard shadow lighting! :wink: That’s some dusty space…

I mean…
I wish there were some real life references to go with, but there’s definitely no fog in space.
Absence of air sort of makes that - and the classic representation of a “nebula” implausible to say the least.

As far as artwork goes.
It’s a great start, you should fix the composition a bit.

Phi is your friend.
Place the planet in one of the spiral quadrants and distribute the rest of the asteroids in the other divided quadrants.

Basically look up how to use the golden ration in photography compositions and go with something derived from it.
That would probably make the end result more amazing.

Looks cool. I dare to say the planet could go without an atmosphere. Or a thin one only. There might not be fog in space, but there’s gas, and that’s what’s in a nebula according to the people who look through telescopes and such. Don’t worry about realism. Keep it in the art and graphics realm. You’ll avoid that blandness that’s so common these days in games that attempt to do realistic representations.

Perhaps more contrast in the nebulous gas between thick areas and thinner / no gas areas. Some slight motion in a few spots could be interesting too.

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Whatever they say, in the absence of air, whatever other material is present would conglomerate around the largest gravitational mass - like what? Like an atmosphere? :stuck_out_tongue:

I wish space looked in reality like star trek made us all think it would look…

I think at the very best the “gasseous nebula” would look like ink in water.

I 100% agree with the rest. There’s no reason to stick to realism. Space is bland… varied, but bland.

Thanks for the awesome feedback everyone! I’m going to make another pass at it and share the results soon :slight_smile: