17th October

Mission to Mars

Two weeks in and I've partially tackled the first challenge of my latest project, my mission to Mars. Normally my workflow involves sourcing and filming/photographing an existing landscape. Earlier this year for instance, I spent two and a half months travelling and documenting east and west Texas as part of an artist residency at Artpace San Antonio. The landscape of choice for the work produced ended up being from the border of Texas and Louisiana: the beautifully eerie Cypress forest of Caddo Lake. But the work I'm researching and ultimately producing at The Pixel Palace requires quite a different approach given the inability to travel to my destination of choice, Mars.

Thankfully, over numerous years NASA has recorded the digital elevation data for planet which means that in theory, I could take that data into a 3D application and recreate the lay of the land digitally -- the next best thing to being there. Stage one of this process is to learn a new application, Terragen (which the amazing folks at Planetside have generously donated to the cause) which specializes in digital, realistic terrain creation to a very high standard. Barring a few issues, I'm extremely pleased with the results I've managed thus far.

Now onto the next challenge, getting the DEM data into Terragen...

Published: 4th November 2011