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My first rendered images of Mars

About these images

These images are my first attempts on rendering the planet Mars. They were created from true topography data of planet Mars as published by NASA's Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter group.

Some images apply some gradient coloring. Most of these color gradients were created using the GIMP and exported to POVRay for the rendering.

What one can see

Unfortunately, Mars seems to have only one "interesting" main view and that is the one presented immediately below: You can see Olympus Mons (said to be the highest volcano in the solar system: it is 24km high and measures 550km across) and the large canyon system called Vallis Marineris which extends over 4000km and is up to 7km deep.
Unless stated differently, the images below are rendered from a distance of 4600km above surface; that is about 2/3 of the distance of the inner mars "moon" Phobos which rotates around Mars 6000km above surface. Hence, you cannot see the poles.

Mars image [4kb]Mars, first rendering

Available images:
[1024x768 JPG, 96kb]
[2048x1536 JPG, 505kb]
These images were created from s scaled-down version of the topography using a 1/32 degree grid. For the color, a GIMP-composed height gradient image map was applied.
The actual rendering was at 2048x1536 pixels without anti-aliasing; the smaller images are scaled-down versions.
The topography height is scaled by factor 10.
Mars image [3kb]Mars, second rendering

Rendering time: 36 min.

Available images:
[1024x768 JPG, 89kb]
This image was created using the 1/64 degree topography data and rendered with a POVRay height "gradient" color map which has a darker red than the image above.
Rendering was done at 1024x768 pixels using anti-aliasing (+A0.3).
The topography height is scaled by factor 10.
Mars slope image [4kb]Mars, slope color

Rendering time: 45 min.

Available images:
[1024x768 JPG, 123kb]
This image was created using the 1/64 degree topography data and colored using a slope "gradient" color map from orange-red where the surface is flat to yellow at regions with big slope. (A special radial slope pattern was used; a POVRay patch for it is available here.)
Rendering was done at 1024x768 pixels using anti-aliasing (+A0.2).
The topography height is scaled by factor 8.
Mars color & topo [3kb]Mars, color and topo

Rendering time: 140 min.

Available images:
[1024x768 JPG, 100kb]
Again a rendering using the 1/64 degree topography data but this one is colored using a 1/15 degree color map said to be from NASA sources. The bluish color may seem a bit odd, however.
Rendering was done at 2048x1536 pixels using anti-aliasing (+A0.2).
The topography height is scaled by factor 8.
Mars: Vallis Marineris [6kb]Mars: Vallis Marineris

Rendering time: ??? min.

Available images:
[1024x768 JPG, 127kb]
This is a "close-up" of Vallis Marineris, a large canyon system on Mars. The rendering was done with the 1/64 degree topography data; on the bottom line of the image, one pixel in the 1024x768 rendering corresponds to about one topography data height entry (exactly: 1.2 pixel for 1/64 degree).
The color comes from a low-res (1/4 degree) color image map said to be from NASA sources.
Rendering was done at 1024x768 pixels using anti-aliasing (+A0.2).
The topography height is scaled by factor 3.
Mars, 27. August 2003 [5kb]Mars: 27. August 2003

Rendering time: 64 min.

Available images:
[1000x1000 JPG, 169kb]
This is a rendering showing Mars in about the position as it was visible on August 27, 2003 at 23:30. The south pole was initially much larger and could be seen from Earth with telescopes (magnification factor 100 was well enough). The orientation in space as well as the sun position is hand-fitted and thus not 100% accurate. The camera distance is 156600km. (Note that the actual viewing distance was about 56000000km (56 million) but while not looking noticeable differently, tiny camera angles introduce problems for POVRay's calculation numerics).
Rendering was done at 1000x1000 pixels using anti-aliasing (+A0.2).
The topography height is scaled by factor 4.

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