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John M. Esparolini | profile | all galleries >> EarthShots: An Exercise in Virtual Photography tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

EarthShots: An Exercise in Virtual Photography

The following images aren't real photos at all: They're the results of my efforts to create photorealistic NASA-like images of our Home Planet.

The 3-D Earth object was composed of four high-resolution nested spheres (one for the earth's suface, another for the city lights, another for the clouds, and another for the earth's atmosphere) created in NewTek LightWave 3D, a professional "virtual studio" used for producing photorealistic animations, special effects, and illustrations. The International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope models were likewise constructed with LightWave 3D.

These virtual objects were then set up in the "studio," which includes one or more virtual cameras, and an unlimited number of virtual lights which behave the same way as real-world studio lights and outdoor light sources. High resolution tiled satellite images of the earth's surface, city lights, and clouds by NASA and other public geographic and space image sources) were assembled, corrected, and enhanced in Adobe Photoshop and used to create surface image maps for the spheres.

The scenes were then "photographed" as original hi-resolution still images weighing in at up to 22 megapixels. The final images edited and downsized for internet display in Photoshop.

[Double-Click the Thumbnails to Enlarge)

PLEASE NOTE: All images are copyrighted but may be downloaded and printed for personal non-public and non-profit use or for prepublication layouts and comps without permission. However, they may not be satisfactory for prints above 4" x 6."

For high-resolution files for printing; or to order custom-made high-quality enlargements; or to obtain image licenses or photography services, please go to the ESPimages Facebook page or drop me a line at

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earth_view_01.jpg Europe_at Nite.jpg Gulf_Coast_at Nite.jpg South_America_at_Nite.jpg
Earth_at_Dawn.jpg Earth-at-Dawn2.jpg earth_low_orbit.jpg USA_West.jpg
Scandinavia_and_East_Europe.jpg Middle_East.jpg ISS_in_Orbit_01.jpg Earth_and_Hubble.jpg
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