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I'm currently working on a storyboard type music video where most of the shots take place in space. I've been getting away with creating that illusion of space using after effects with certain backgrounds and I believe I've got decent results give the drawing type styled nature of it. But there's a few upcoming shots where the camera is suppose to pan beyond what I'm able to recreate in after effects.

I figured that my best possible bet to improve that would be to create a "space playground" in blender where I would indeed be able to move the camera in any direction I wish. What would be the best way to go about this? One thing that comes to mind is that menu screen from Halo 1 for PC. Where its apparent that the camera is inside a "dome" / Sphere looking around and there's stars in every direction. All the YouTube tutorials that I've seen barely cover what I'm talking about. They mainly show how to create a space "picture" using the particle system. I want to be able to pan that cam in any direction like the movie Gravity. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ Blender no longer has a star field generator to paint the world/sky with. that is why people suggest that you use particles. But you could render a particle system of stars as a panoramic image. Then take that image as a texture into another scene and apply it to the World. $\endgroup$ – 3pointedit Apr 11 '18 at 6:03
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You can make a star field by shooting a panorama in one scene, then using the resulting image in another scene as a world texture. You won't have to render the particles all the time and you can pan anywhere.

  1. Make a cube with only static particles
  2. Place the camera at the center of the particle cube (emitter) and remember to turn off the emitter object (so that it doesn't render).

Cube full of static particles

Particle settings

  1. Use a simple icosphere as the star object and hide it on another layer.

Simple star particle object

  1. Set the camera to the center and make it Equirectangular Panoramic.

Pano camera type

  1. Make sure that the scene you render is high resolution and square. In this case 3000 x 3000 pixels. I have set the samples very low to render faster. As all the stars use emission materials there is no noise.

Nb. I have accidentaly left the particle object on the same layer and you can see it as the largest star in the sky (bottom left corner).

Render pano high res

Make a new Scene with only a camera in it. Then make a World material using the star field that you just created.

world star field texture

You will be able to pan or tilt anywhere in this world, even fly towards the stars but never reach them.

Usefully you could also write names in the stars as modified particles and have them display in your world as well.

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You can also create a star field with a noise texture.

With these nodes you vary the size of the stars with the Noise Scale value. Then the density of the stars with the ramp and the brightness with the contrast.

Stars from texture

This method can make a noisy render however.

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