August '05 Installment: C-Beams

What’s more inspiring than deep space images of nebulae and space fog?

How about a single quote from Blade Runner?

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Yep, that’s all it takes.

About “C-Beams”

I too want to see C-beams glitter in the dark. Unfortunately, it’s not likely this will happen any time soon, so all I could do was imagine what that looked like. So that’s what I did this month.

Painting home-made nebulae has been on my to-do list for quite a while. I even had some early mockups that weren’t worth using. Since I am in a bit of a hurry this month (I’m leaving for Sweden in 45 minutes, although that’ll be 3 days ago when you read this), I picked up this mockup and did some things to it.

Those things involved using that Photoshop filter no-one uses (Render > Clouds) on a selection in a channel. The end result actually somewhat resembles space fog. Add to that a scattebrush that paints stars, and you have this months installment.

I want to write more about this, but time is of the essence. Enjoy, and leave me a comment or two and I’ll get back to you when I get home.

P.S. The images are fairly high-res. To zoom, Right-click the images and select “Zoom In”.

View installment

15 thoughts on “August '05 Installment: C-Beams”

  1. Chris says:

    I think I already told you how fantastic I think this installment is. Nebulae are like geek porn for me.

    Really lovely, Joen. Have fun in Sweden.

  2. “Those things involved using that Photoshop filter no-one uses (Render > Clouds) on a selection in a channel.”

    As a texture artist (among other things) on computer games, I’ll have to beg to differ… Or I’ll just differ… In either case, I use it 🙂

  3. Joen says:


    I’m actually back from Sweden for a few days, but I’m leaving again soon. Thanks much for your comments, I appreciate it.


    I stand corrected. I’m still learning the nuances of Photoshop on my own. My colleagues at work are all Flash people, so there’s no-one to ping-pong Photoshop with. Baby-steps, baby-steps 🙂

    Needless to say I’ve learned from this, that it’s an incredibly useful tool. I’ll be using it again, that’s for sure.

  4. Chris says:

    Definetly, spend a few days just mucking about with render clouds. You’d be surprised where it comes in handy. Just do a bunch of little web tutorials it pops up in all of them.

  5. Joen says:


    I wish there was some sort of generic texture randomizer. Basically, “Clouds” is just a random mathematical formula that vaguely resembles clouds, yet it is handy. I only wish I was able to control this formula, perhaps combine it with my own textures.

    I imagine simplifying all sorts of “generic light streaks” effects with such an option.

  6. Stephen Hopkins says:

    Anyone know what c-beams are?

    Science fiction, I think, but I would like to know what they are supposd to be.

  7. Joen says:


    I’m not really sure what, if anything, a C Beam really is. After all, it’s a movie based in the future. Perhaps the it’s just some bogus science invented to sound futuristic.

    On the other hand, there might be something to it.

    c is the constant representing the speed of light. As such, a c-beam, could simply mean a beam moving a the speed of light. A sunbeam, for instance.

    According to a random googled website there’s indication that a C-beam might be a special type of laser, that in the case of this website is good for scar treatment.

  8. Pulgasari says:

    I’ve read that some people believe the Tannhauser Gate to be some sort of FTL, “Star Gate” type of device…therefore, I guess it could make sense for a C-Beam to be an after affect viewed by the onlooker of a craft “jumping to light-speed”…????

    Yeap…Science Fiction.

  9. Joen says:

    therefore, I guess it could make sense for a C-Beam to be an after affect viewed by the onlooker of a craft ?jumping to light-speed?…????

    I like that.

  10. joe says:

    I like the idea of a “c-beam” being an after affect from a ftl jump, but the reason Roy found it so amazing was that he and any other android could see it when they made the jump, but not humans. Reasons? Perhaps humans have to be sedated when making a jump, or, humans are awake during a jump but cant view the c-beam without going mad. Science fiction. Go figure. But heres an aside. I believe in the movie Soldier with Kurt Russel, the Tannhauser Gate is mentioned . I think so anyway. A “gate” is brought up in the movie, but in the context that Kurt Russels character fought in a battle there. I think. If I am right, this puts a new spin on what the Tannhauser gate is. Alien ruins? Ill have to get the movie and view it again to see if i am right. If anyone knows of this, kite me.

  11. Pulgasari says:

    “the reason Roy found it so amazing was that he and any other android could see it when they made the jump, but not humans.”

    Interesting…I like that angle!

    My thinking was that Roy was simply reflecting on his last moments of life and thinking of the incredible things that he had seen in his short life that would soon be gone…things that most people (and/or replicants) had never seen…although, he does specify “I’ve seen things you PEOPLE wouldn’t beleive” which would seem to support your theory. :o)

    I think you’re right about Soldier…I’ll have to go back and watch that again as well.

  12. Joen says:

    Read up on it on Wikipedia:

    Tannhauser Gate

  13. Pulgasari says:

    Well…that takes care of that…:o)

    Love that Wikipedia.

  14. Chuck says:

    While I can’t say for certain what Roy was refering to, of course, I can say that C-Beams are heavy ion beams. They are used medically in two forms, 9C and 12C. Both are used in Charged Particle Therapy for cancer treatment. The application of β-delayed particle decay beams like 9C ions in a military form would simply be a progressive step in the useage of the beam, per se.

  15. Jay Pea says:

    In the Wookieepedia, it mentions “C-beams were bright lights that some vehicles emitted.”

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