About the Pictures and Animations
For the curious, here's a little bit of info on how the pictures and animations were done.
Basically all the rendered pictures were done in programs called 3D Studio Viz 2 and 3D Studio MAX 2.5. (Screenshot below), standard tools for architects and animators. Complex shapes, like the station, are built up from standard geometric forms, and custom designed meshes. Animation is then a (deceptively simple sounding) matter of setting waypoints, rotations, etc., for the objects along a time line.
The animation "post-production" was done using Adobe Premiere 5.1 (i.e. splicing various sequences together, adding sounds, etc.)
A few statistics:
The videos are 800x600 in 32 bit colour, at 25 frames per second.
They are compressed using the Intel Indeo 5.04 Video codec (By far the best quality and compression out of the 12 or so codii we tested, but a little speed hungry for playback.) For the web versions we used Quicktime Soernson -better compresion at the price of quality.
The videos are about 7.4 Gigabytes (!!!) uncompressed.
It took about 8 months from first being introduced to the software to produce the final animations, learning mainly through trial-and-error.
The animations took about 16 hours to render and a further 4 hours to compress.
Many thanks to Gerry O'Brien (and family) for lending us this (very expensive) software; and for a few sage tips on how to get started.