Helping out in those mentioned "other ways"


jarred and ben mentioned the possibility to help in other ways. i’m not a developer and my social media presence is non-existent. so, not much to offer there.

i’m a 3d generalist by trade with a background in film making though. if you’re ever in need of a 3d animation i’d be glad to help. not entirely sure at what point you would need one. maybe the community has an idea?

judging by the quality of your awesome motion graphics i guess you’re all set anyways.
just wanted to put it out there. just in case.


p.s.: also, new here. so - hi everyone!


Hey Tanner!

Thanks for joining us on the community forums and for watching the show! Actually, we could probably use some help with 3D animations - I’ve always wanted some kickass sciencey stuff to show on screen. I just don’t know what form that would take.

Great to know what skills exist in our community!


Hey Lisa!

Kickass siencey stuff sounds great!

The biggest challenge would probably be the fact that I’d need a few days to complete any given animation. Even a week or two, depending on the complexity of the “project”. Your science segments seem pretty current each weak. I guess the turnaround for a typical tmro-segment is about a week?

I’d be definitely up for it though. My area of expertise is photorealism. The special effects a science animation calls for would be a chance for me to learn and refine new techniques. Something I was planing to do anyways.

Maybe there’s other CG capable members in the community that I could collaborate with, to shorten that turnaround?

Anyways. You now know where to find me.



Hi Tanner, Looking forward to what you come up with… Unfortunately, I am probably no help(besides moral support !), I am just starting to learn 3d modeling (2 weeks now), Mainly for a personal build/maker project. However, have been looking at switching software tools and have been looking at Blender as my tool for 3d technical design ( Which is probably a bad choice as its got so much other stuff to distract me like animation !)

Anyway good luck with this project !


Hey Tobi!

As an experienced 3d modeler I can assure you it would be far more frustrating to outgrow a 3d application that’s too simple.
One can easily be overwhelmed by a feature rich package like Blender, that is true. If you keep at it though, you won’t regret your decision.
There’s tons of excellent Blender-tutorials on Youtube these days and I keep hearing good things about its supportive community. Definitely a good choice,


Thanks for the encouragement… :slight_smile: I am very non productive on blender at the moment !! :frowning: I watch through the tutorials and I start blender and … I Cant do a thing… LOL !! at the moment I think I will just watch through the Tutorals just to get an idea of what and how to do stuff… Then, later will go through in detail step by step with both the tut and app at the same time… sigh…


Well, if you guys are looking for an animation project, I might have an idea…

I don’t know if anyone on the TMRO team is interested, but I’ve always thought that animations of how artificial gravity would work would be very interesting to see and talk about. Some of the best visuals ever done have been from movies.

2001 A Space Odyssey:

Mission to Mars:

However, these fail to capture some of the more interesting Coriolis effects. For example, if you run spinward, you weigh more, and, if you run antispinward, you weigh less (I wonder which way Dave is running…). If you run fast enough, you can actually become weightless. A ball thrown at just the right velocity (ignoring air resistance) will “float” all the way around until it returns to its thrower. If you climb a ladder, ride an elevator, or even just sit down or stand up, you are pushed spinward/antispinward. If you drop an object or pour a liquid, it doesn’t fall straight down, it curves. Air currents and convection (i.e. dynamic effects of buoyancy) create interesting patterns and air conditioning/plumbing challenges. There are also a bunch of physiological oddities with the human sense of balance that could be explored/explained with animations.

One of the things that bugged me about the Gateway foundation video is the animated people are walking about 45° off the gravity vector:

There’s clearly a lack of good animations out there for this topic.

If you all decided you want to do this, I can provide the math and some links to helpful research papers. Sadly, my 3d-animation-fu is not strong, but I may still be able to help code any physics modelling that may be required.


I mentioned that “wrong gravity” to the gateway foundation people and that said that many have mentioned it they said that they just wanted to show the “idea” that its like an airport… probably too expensive to animate it correctly.

Also the old movies were not “animated” they were actual sets made and filmed on earth… pretty good but cant expect too much … :slight_smile:


I like the idea Faulx.

“The Expanse” is another example that comes to mind. It seems they learned that the laws of physics can be used to add drama, contrary to popular believe. Unless it’s ever so slightly inconvenient for the scene. Then they totally abandon those principles.

I started to appreciate counter intuitive stuff like orbital mechanics and such. Topics like those can provide quite satisfying “aha-moments”. I think visual aides could help with that.
I’d be totally up for it.

It all comes down to the needs of TMRO though. If Ben and the gang sees this and they decide to do a segment on artificial gravity though, your plan totally worked. :slight_smile:


I listed a few interesting phenomena; maybe we could try to storyboard and/or animate a single instance as a demonstration?

Here’s my (oh so very rudimentary) concept art:

The idea is to demonstrate a simple case (the transaxial case) of a much broader topic of Coriolis forces in a way with which people can easily relate. We would probably start with the normal case (2nd circle in the image), and then explore walking speeds in different directions (1st and 3rd circle) before moving on to the flying case (4th circle). We could then end with the running case. I expect the topic could be well covered in about 3-5 minutes, using largely looping animations lasting not much longer than 10-20 seconds (rendered from various angles).

There is probably cause to stop midway through the sequence and talk briefly about system design. Some people may wonder whether these changes in weight are noticeable. They are, indeed, very noticeable for smaller systems and lower levels of gravity (think 20% of your weight at walking speeds… even more for running speeds). The effect can be diminished by increasing radius, but does not fade quickly. To drop it to just 5% of weight while walking would require a radius of several hundred kilometers for a system simulating Mars gravity. It might be best to stay away from the math on this for now, instead saving it for animations specific to system design, variable gravity, and tidal forces.

I picture the animation having a standing/walking/flying/running human, a spinning hub-and-spoke “space station”, a background star field (for visual reference), and animated force vector “arrows”, which grow/shrink as the human model’s speed changes. A simple, repeating animation would be needed for each of the visualized speeds. The station’s interior could have a few points of interest (a chair, a desk, a plant, ect.), to show relative movement within the interior (unless that complicates things too much). Displaying the equations and how their input variables and functional outputs change as we transition between different speeds might be good too. It could also be useful to occasionally transition to a simplified “ball and string” model mid-animation, to demonstrate centripetal forces in an inertial reference frame.

Finally, I picture needing two camera modes. One is stationary in reference to the human model (non-inertial reference frame). The other is stationary in reference to the background stars (inertial reference frame). A third, possibly useful, camera would be stationary in reference to the station (also non-inertial). Using some combination of these, it should be possible to demonstrate the principle from the needed variety of perspectives.

@tanner What do you think? Is this within your skills? Or am I being too ambitious here? What else would we need to do this that I haven’t considered?

We could also comment on how the time it takes for the person to make one loop (the period) changes. This number is very demonstrative. In the flying case, for example, the period is infinity (i.e. the person is no longer moving in a circle relative to the background stars, thus no “gravity” is generated).


I love the idea of 3D animations and models! One thing I think would be really cool is updating the weekly launch calendar with a rotating animation of the vehicle that will be launching. May be neat to have something like that for the Launch Minute too. A lot of great things we can do with stuff like that.

It would also be helpful to assist in explaining complex topics. Maybe we can create a list of things?


A list would be good: along with approximately how long you want expect the animation to be. That would help us target low hanging fruit (things in our respective skill sets).

For that launch minute animation: I’m wondering do you guys have a way of getting all the orbital elements for the launches? @SpaceMike keeps mentioning periapsis and apoapsis, but there are more. To display everything correctly, each launch will need the following “Orbital Elements”:

Semimajor Axis (size) and either Semiminor Axis or Orbital Eccentricity (shape)
…or Apoapsis & Periapsis (size and shape)
Longitude of Periapsis (orientation)… should be relative to the “First Point of Ares”, specify if otherwise
Orbital Inclination (degree of tilt)… should be relative to the “Celestial Equator”, specify if otherwise
Longitude of Acension (direction of tilt)… note: ‘Longitude’ is called ‘Argument’ by some
Mean Anomaly or True Anomaly (position)… note: ‘Anomaly’ might instead be called ‘Longitude’ by some. Actually, you could probably ignore this one, and we can just have an start-time-unspecific orbital trail instead.

Also needed will be:
Parent Body (what body to orbit) …the vast majority of launches will be Earth I’m sure, but you never know
Launch Time (date and time of orbit insertion, so the parent planet will be in position and facing the right way relative to the sun)

If you can’t get all of these, at least get periapsis, apoapsis, and inclination. The parent planet’s model can then be given an ambiguous rotation against an unspecific starfield in that case.

How often do you think you can get these?


The data we get from launches is spotty at best. Especially for things like the launch calendar, we may not get much of anything other than the vehicle, launch pad and launch time (sometimes we don’t even get all of that!)

For Launch Minute I was more thinking of an element we could re-use any time an Atlas V 441 flies (for example) that has the basic config, maybe in an exploded view… Dunno. But ideally a lot of re-usable elements so we don’t have to re-invent the wheel each week.


I can definitely make a program where you just enter the numbers for the 6 orbital elements (and maybe some camera settings) and then it automatically displays a video of the orbit around the parent planet that you can screen capture. Directly exporting it as a video is beyond my current skills, but I might be able to get there given some time. Either way, it should be very quick and easy on your end to do each week, provided you can get the orbital elements for each launch.

Sadly, building any 3d models more complicated than spheroids is beyond me. Maybe @Tobi_Foong can hack some rocket models together in blender? ::looks expectantly at Tobi and grins::


I think is this cool. At the very least, I’m interested! If you think this wouldn’t take you a super large amount of time I’d love to see an example


Well I didn’t think it would take me long, but I’ve let myself get hung up on a lighting and/or normal mapping bug that popped up when I ported my old code. I’m starting to think I should just ignore it for now and get a working prototype going. I’ll get back to you on that… maybe post a video.


Cool. Let me put together a quick example. If that isn’t what you wanted, it’ll probably best do a proper brief next. (Which would basically consist of me asking you a bunch of questions to get an idea what visual direction I should go).

Meanwhile, here’s a test and proof of concept I did with Faulx’s idea on artificial gravity:


Nice! Although you’ll still need a rotating background to give a visual cue for when the figure enters the inertial reference frame (i.e. background rotates the same rate he does when he’s weightless). Without that, he kind of looks like he’s on a hamster wheel. ::laughing::

I like the shadow effects against the diffusely reflective surfaces. It’s a really nice quality model and animation too.


@Bencredible: I was on vacation. That’s why it took a little longer. Maybe it’s a little too “cartoony” and it could use some more modeling to be accurate.
Anyway, here’s what I have so far:
Don’t know why I completely disregarded your suggestion of the exploded view. Just consider this a first draft I guess.


I think this is pretty freaking awesome. I don’t think you should confine yourself to the current bar up top. If we were to do something like this, I would probably move the bar to the left or right side to allow the animation to be much, much larger. But as a concept it is pretty awesome and if you have time I would love to explore further!