Friday, February 27, 2009


The concept for this image, published in the March, 2009 edition of AOPA PILOT magazine, sort of popped into my head the moment I got the assignment. The idea was to highlight t-routes, which are special airways instrument rated pilots can fly when they have GPS on board.

The final composition was done in 3D, but very little of it is actually 3D. In fact, the "parts list" for the shot is:
  • 1 huge sphere for the main chart (big white map),
  • 6 blue tubes,
  • 3 green boxes, and
  • 2 VOR symbols (the black objects).
I added the sky after the render was complete. I was going for the effect of evening on the left, and space on the right, with a gradually evaporating atmosphere inbetween. The satellites were from a previous project I did for AOPA.

As typically as 3D projects tend to go, what should have been easy work, became quite time consuming. The problem was getting the composition of the shot just right, given the requirements of the shot. In other words, the placement of the tubes and green boxes isn't random. The chart, which is a real aviation navigation chart, defines those positions. So, the trick was getting an angle that looked nice, and still showed everything.

In the end, only one part of the chart become fiction. But I'll leave that for the instrument-rated pilots from the San Francisco Bay Area to figure out!


Steve said...

I thought it was a hot graphic, even before I found out it's yours. Very nice job.

David Diamond said...

Thank you, Steve!