The blend I used to make this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCaXnwKfHhY&feature=youtu.be. It is complete, with paths, cameras and lighting and I have included in the text editor, a cut down version of the storyboard which details the camera/scene changes.
Okay, all the paths/lighting/cameras and stuff are probably of little practical use, what will be of use is the following:
· A fully textured Starsphere derived from an azimuth corrected star-map that was based on real star positions. What that means in English is that there is no seams, elongated stars nor stars with un-star like weird shapes
· A fully textured model of the Earth, based on NASA topography data, a Cloud layer based again on NASA data and a normal map derived from a NASA height map.
· A fully textured model of the moon using NASA's Clementine topographical and albedo data, along with a normal map derived from the Japanese Kaguya height maps.
· A nicely textured, (me,) model of the sun with double corona to simulate the different layers of the sun
· A fully animated strand of plasma, (you only need one.) The action is controlled by shape-keys and though a couple of the shape-keys may be surprising, when combined with the other keys they are very versatile.
· An animated solar explosion, again controlled by shape-keys. I did quite a few experiments with particles to simulate this explosion, but found the best, (and most versatile,) results were with an animated halo material.
You should note that in order to simulate astronomical perspective scales, the earth and moon are dynamically scaled along the timeline. This scaling is specific to my video and their scaling key-frames need to be deleted or moved for use in other applications.
In addition, due to me being a total noob and not, (at the time,) really understanding paths. When I set the planetary orbital periods, I had just finished setting the planetary rotational periods using f-curve generators. As a result, seeing a generator created by the follow path constraint, rather than adjust the absolute length of the orbital path, I dived in and adjusted the generator polynomials. It was only after I had finished the whole project that I realised what a really stupid, complicated way of doing things this was. Although, at the end of the day, (so long as you are aware,) it makes very little difference,
By the way, the planetary orbital periods and earth/lunar/solar day's are to scale and, currently, one earth day = 360 frames.
The original Mercator projection for the Starsphere came from PaulBourke.net. I have given it a bit of colour and turned it into a 12 segment spherical Gore projection. Similarly, NASA and Kaguya supplied maps were originally in Mercator projection and have been edited in the Gimp to make them usable.
To make the spherical Gore projections, I used the Perl script "make_gores.pl" from vendian.org
As usual, your feedback would be greatly appreciated