Oblivion Bubble Ship

Daniel Simon Oblivion BubbleShip

Everything on this page shows fan art derived from Daniel Simon’s Bubble Ship concept air-/spacecraft for the Joseph Kosinksi’s ‘Oblivion’, I do not profit from this comercially and this work is not in any way endorsed or officially supported either by Daniel Simon, Universal or Joe Kosinski. Also, go watch the movie.

For the most recent weekend contest on blendpolis.de, I built one of the Bubble Ships from Oblivion. For that, I looked at both frames from the movie trailers and some original concept sketches that I found. The original concept and several shots from movies posters and the movie itself show slight differences in materials and even shape, what I built is necessarily somewhere in-between those different variations.


The Bubble Ship was designed by Daniel Simon (studied Transportation Design in Pforzheim, Germany, now living in LA, Calif.), and it’s definitely among my favorite flying machines in any movie I’ve seen so far. Together with great motion graphics in its HUD and the fantastic landscapes it flew in, it made the movie a great visual experience. As an aerospace engineering student, I also enjoyed the realism and technical details of it very much.

So when the recent weekend contest came up, and the task was to build something from any movie, in 34 hours, I went for this concept and put it together with textures and all the detail necessary for this shot in about 12 hours, then spending about another 6 hours on the environment, rendering and postproduction (the remaining 10 hours went away for sleeping and eating). To be honest, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to assemble the thing in Blender, especially since I found some surfaces to be quite challenging to model.

Contest version

This, then, was the result I submitted to the contest:

Daniel Simon's Bubble Ship - Contest version

Final version

Now as you will probably notice, there are a few bugs in this image, most prominently an error in the compositing of the background image that made the bottom right corner of the image rather unpleasent to look at. I had simply missed that in the final minutes of the contest. It’s also still a little noisy and the color balance between foreground and background could be better.

So with no deadline to meet any more, I then took another look at some settings and rendered the image again, correcting the main errors that I could find. You can see the result at the beginning of this post.

Some technical information:

Software used:

  • Blender – modeling, unwrapping, lighting, materials, first pass compositing
  • Cycles – rendering
  • Lightroom 3 – second pass compositing
  • Inkscape – Bubble Ship textures
  • Gimp – background texture modification

External resources:

Rendering specs

  • Rendered at 2000 spp and 4700×2000 pixels
  • Depth pass rendered at double that resolution to avoid aliasing problems.
  • Memory usage just below 2GB, therefore rendered on GPU

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Julian Herzog Written by: