Blue Marbles

Loaded 7 December 2016.

Blue Marble?

Since 1972 when NASA logo Visible earth  released the first ever photograph of the full Earth, taken on December 7 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft at a distance of about 45,000 kilometers, the name "blue marble" has been associated with it.  It is one of the most reproduced images in human history.

Fly out to space

Since my first "Stories in Stone" video in 2012, I have loved the fly out to space used to context the location (and sometimes also the fly in from space to set things up).  And most of all I have been absolutely mesmerised by watching the spinning earth float against the backdrop of stars; so I have been meaning to make an exclusive, looping video just of this.  Having dusted off my files for the fifth "Stories in Stone", and having (I thought) fixed some errors, now was the time.

Five marbles?

The first video of earth from the equator is great ... but you cannot really see all of the earth's surface properly, so I settled on 5 marbles concurrently, the equator, the two tropics and 60° North and South.  60° because using the artic and antarctic circles was, well, a bit boring.

And then I thought it would be cool to show the seasonal changes, hence the third "The Four Seasons" video.  Amazing how little white there is in the Southern Hemisphere.

Technical Snippets

Of course I hadn't fixed the problems at all, just got a little bit nearer, and the end result was I scrapped the DAZ-3D Carrara  animation despite learning a new trick to be able to get it right (and I still don't "get" what is happening with Carrara's rotations), and re-built it all in DAZ-3D DAZ Studio  where the rotations are almost intuitive.

The sixty seconds of render at 4k quality takes about 11.5 hours, and the movie build from the 1500 frames takes about 20 minutes.  Of course, for "The Four Seasons", longer was needed as there is 40 seconds of each of the June / September / December / March visualisations.

For "Blue Marble", the earthmap with topography is used.  For "Five Blue Marbles", the earthmap with both topography and bathymetry is used for added visual interest.   I thought the bathymetry would be distracting from the land surface changes for "The Four Seasons" so it reverts to earthmaps with just topography.


I do hope you enjoy watching these mesmerising visualisations of our beautiful planet.

The Earthmaps used for the fly-in / fly-out sequences can be found at NASA logo Visible earth  specifically Blue Marble  along with a whole lot of other goodies.