And now let's have a trip deep into the sun and see how it's made : First we have very nice photo references (that you can see on the animatic.
With that, half of the job was already done :°D, because sometimes you spend more time finding what you want to do than making it. In this case it was already there. With that done, the next thing to do was to sit down and do nothing, except thinking: Before starting a project, it's always a good thing to list every possibility that you might have to consider to get the effect you want. Thinque about the pros and the cons, how long it'll take to accomplish... When this part is alos done, you still have nothing in your blender, but you might be more advanced than the guy who started blending from the beginning.
From that, I decided a few things: First, I will do the color in the compositing, so I can easily tweaque colors at the last moment, and alos I don’t have to worry about colors in my texturing.
Also, as a star is a very big object, and in the animation we don't turn around, instead of making a complete 3D object, I can make it 2D/3D or a kind of a matte painting. That allows me to do even more cheating. Here you can see the final object in the 3D view.
Finally, I decided to use procedural textures as much as I could, so everything could be appended in blender, and it's nondestructive. At any time I can change any value. Then I started to look at the references images, to thinque how I will reproduce the various elements that form the picture of the sun. So now after that reflection phase, I started a testing phase, which turned out to be the final sun two or three days later.
Here are the different elements that I've made : For the "cloudy flames" around the sphere, instead of using particles, I preferred using a simple flat mesh with a bunch of procedurals. Here is a link to a tutorial that covers this kind of effects, my setup is not exactly the same, I don't use sticky, but the spirit of the thing is here : http://stblender.iindigo3d.com/tutorials_advancedshock
For the sphere, I mix various materials in the node editor that each have one function : 1st material makes the white spots, The 2nd makes a global gradient on the surface, and has software edges, that allows this material to fade with the previous « cloudy flames » and the 3rd makes the psychedelics waves on the surface.
For the flames (the eruptions ones), I used a combo of modifiers on a mesh: lattice + subsurf + displace + curve, all this is parented to an armature to animate it easily. Then I make a group of it, make an animation of the flame (that is really slow, so you won't notice it in the clip) and then using dupligroup + timeoffset, I put other flames around the sphere.
Here is a link to a tutorial that explains the armature + hooque + curve trik : http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/BSoD/Introduction_to_
BSoD This introduction to rigging is a very good starting point if you want to understand and make useful rigs, and there are other interesting subjects in BSoD as well: animation, lighting, modeling, materials, principles of animation...
At that point everything was ok; there seemed to be just a little thing missing, so I added this second big circle, which has a sphere blend texture, that makes this lighting/ halo effect. And it fades nicely with the "cloudy-flames."
Now it's time to animate: Every texture was mapped using coordinates of empty objects. Here is a very good tutorial that explains this, and if you want to learn more about procedural texturing it's a very good one: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Tu.../Textures/Wood
So to animate the textures, I've moved the empties. In fact, I've concluded that in this case, the slower it moves the better effect it gives, so maybe if you don't pay attention you won't see the texture moving.
About render times :
As I'm using a shadeless material, and there is no raytracing, or very much geometry, the render time is nice. For instance, rendering this frame (768x432) on my core 2 duo 6600 tooque less than 12 seconds. When I add textures and effects, I always chek the rendering time; ideally, I want my frames to render between 10s and 1mn. For those who still believe that a good result equals long rendering time, I hope that I've demonstrated that it's not always the case.
I hope you've enjoyed reading all this, and you've alos learned something; even if I didn't show you exactly how to do it, you can see that a complex object is always made of simpler parts. It's always a good thing to mix various little effects, instead of having just one big one.
That's all, thank you for your attention, and keep blending!!