I didn’t get as much done over the weekend as I would have liked, but I had other things occupying my time. I think I have most of the materials where I want them. All that’s left is to do some fresh greebles and the name and registry. The nacelles still have the old registry.
More playing around with specular settings.
If you know what the specular setting does, you may just want to skip this part and go to the renders. For those who don’t know, the specular setting makes an object shiny. It works hand in hand with the glossiness setting to determine the overall look of a shiny surface. Glossiness makes the shine “localized.” A high glossiness setting makes a small super shiny patch, while a lower setting spreads the shine out. For metal that’s not painted with glossy paint (no car paint) and isn’t buffed to a mirror shine, I want a higher specular setting and a lower glossiness setting.
The specular map is what determines what is shinier. Basically, it’s a grayscale image with patterns on it. The shades of gray determine shine, with white being totally shiny and black being not shiny at all. It also creates the individual hull panels, along with a diffusion map to control light absorption. The look we should all be chasing is the paneling from TMP:
Basically, they used paints and with different shine levels to create the individual panels. The way it works is, in direct light, (light hitting the object from the same side as the camera) the panels are barely visible. However, in indirect light, (light hitting from the opposite side as the camera) the panels are visible. In the image above, the registry light is hitting the hull at an indirect angle, causing the panels to be visible. This is achieved in CGI with specular mapping.
In the images below, the ship is rendered at the same angle with 3 different light angles. The first is direct lighting, the other two are indirect lighting with the light in different positions on the other side of the model. This gives an idea of how it would look if I rendered a flyby where the ship flies between the camera and light. I’m happy with how these look:
Well, it’s a work in progress. Taking the stenciled lettering off of the hull is the chore I expected it to be. It’s a lot of merging faces and deleting points. I got all of the registries off of the main hull (saucer.) I still have to take the ones off of the nacelles, but I didn’t want to do it right now.
Instead, I set about getting rid of the greeble trenches. My idea for the other model was to not do those, so I got rid of them on this model. There was a lot of destroying faces and building new ones. It was a chore, but worth it when all said and done. I really like how that looks VS having the trenches. Since this is supposed to be a predecessor to the Miranda class, and not a Miranda, I figure some differences are warranted. I have new greebles planned to go there, so it won’t be the plain dark gray areas you see now.
And, lastly, I dorked around with materials. The last version of Lightwave I used was Lightwave 10.1 or 10.2, something like that. Either way, it was an old version, from 2010. So much has changed since then, that I’m having to figure out all new settings in Lightwave 2018. But, that’s part of the fun. At least I’m doing this with a model that already has textures.
Anyway, this is where it sits:
So, I promised a return to CGI, and here it is.
A few years ago, I was part of a doomed fan film. It was called Star Trek: Equinox. This was around the time of the whole Axanar thing, where they bit the hand and crowd funded over $1,000,000 and hired a bunch of professional talent to work on the film, forcing CBS to create a bunch of new rules for fan films. Anyway, this other film was being worked on a the same time as Axanar, but it was being done considerably less professionally. I was the model maker, and there was a bunch of bickering and bullshit behind the scenes. Also, because the guy running the show kept pissing off effects artists, (among other people) I had to do a lot of the animation and rendering for the trailers too, despite just originally wanting to make models for it. (and, let me say, people on Facebook can be real motherf***ers when your stuff isn’t as good as professional artists) Anyway, I wasn’t very happy with the project, which wound up imploding due to a lot of the BTS stuff, as well as the guy running the project and his tendency towards pissing people off.
Anywho, this is the model I built to be the main ship of the show:
Damn, it’s been a backlog around here. I’ve gotten a lot of saber related stuff lately. Anyway, the last of it is all filmed, photographed and reviewed. So, here it goes:
Ultrasabers Dominix LE V4
So, that’s what this saber looked like when I first got it, back in early 2017. It was a lucky raffle prize from the first raffle of 2017 from Ultrasabers. It was a 3rd place prize, a stunt saber with lithium ion batteries. For a long time now, I’ve wanted to add sound to it. Due to my issues with my Prophecy that had sound, I put the soundboard inside this hilt. This is the result:
Of my projects I had planned for my 3-day weekend, I had planned 2 lightsaber builds or rebuilds. Well, that turned into 3 lightsabers when my Ultrasabers Prophecy didn’t quite go as planned.
Another project I had was to finally shorten some of my blades. In the early days, I bought 36″ heavy grade blades. I thought the heavy blades would be good, because I might want to duel. Well, I don’t. Aside from collecting and building sabers, I manly play around with them and spin them. I don’t know a lot of spin moves, but I do want to improve. Balance is important in spinning, more so than having the longest blade with the longest reach. A 36″ heavy blade will spin. In fact, once it gets going it’s hard to stop due to it being blade heavy. So controlling and changing directions is more difficult without a well balanced weapon. Also, I’m fairly tall, so I hit the ceiling a lot with longer blades.
More recently, I’ve been buying sabers with 32″ blades. For some hilts, a 32″ heavy grade blade is good for balance. For others, even that is too heavy. My most recent saber purchase was a green bladed Prophecy V3 from Ultrasabers. Already owning one of those, I know a 32″ heavy grade is too heavy for that hilt. So, I ordered that saber with a 32″ midgrade blade, which is well balanced for that hilt, and it makes a great spinner.
So, the question is: what do I do with all those long, heavy blades? Well, cut ’em down, of course. I bought a little pipe cutter on Amazon, which was a little under $20 and can take up to a 1″ tube. That’s perfect, as the blades are 1″ wide. I also bought a hot glue gun at work, to glue the film back inside the blade after I cut it. So, I set about cutting down some of those blades. I’ve cut them down to 29″, 31″ and 32″. That leaves behind some blade pieces. Another thing I’ve wanted to do is make some blade plugs. Plugs can be used when a blade isn’t inside the saber. In the case of an LED being loose, it can hold the LED in place, and also stop someone from doing one of these and hurting themselves:
(I love that meme)
Anyway, it really won’t be that bad. However, the LEDs used in these things are incredibly bright. You could damage your retina if you look directly at it while it’s one. (I’ve seen a surprising number of people do this in videos.) The blade plugs, also known as safety plugs, stop you from damaging your eyes by doing this. Obviously, pieces of blade stock won’t do this alone, as you can see straight down that. So, I needed something to cap them. I rummaged around an found some old toys, nothing really fit what I needed it for. Then I thought of coins. A US quarter would be the right size, but that’s not a good idea. Not only do I not have that many on hand (I typically don’t carry cash) but I’m fairly certain it’s actually illegal to use US currency in this way. However, I was rummaging around some coins and I found some old arcade tokens amongst them. Eureka!
Now, for the kids reading this, a video arcade was a place where you could go and play video games. They started long before video games in the home, much less mobile ones. (crazy, I know) Anyway, some of these arcades had change machines, others were more of a pain and had token machines. The video game cabinets were modified to take the tokens instead of quarters. Why I have some of these is beyond me. Most are from ages ago. Some are from a family trip to Reno, NV when I was a teenager. My mom is a bowler, and she went out there for a national tournament. I didn’t want to sit and watch, and I was a teenager and couldn’t gamble (I don’t gamble anyway) so I hit some of the arcades. This was in the ’90s, before smart phones and when arcades were still really hot. I also have one from Chuck E. Cheese. Why? I don’t know. I probably just didn’t use them 20+ years ago. Though, the Chuck E. Cheese one is from 1999, it has a year on it. Anyway, these aren’t money, in fact most say on the back that they don’t have a cash value. Two are silver from the Silver Legacy casino arcade in Reno, the others are brass. I didn’t bother cleaning them up, as I really like how brass ages, I just hot glued them onto the ends of my plugs. I’m really happy with the results:
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… stunt saber!
So, this is a saber company I’ve been wanting to try and finally did. Future Sabers.
And, now that I have one, I’m glad I did. Of course, now the have the all black one in stock. When I ordered, they only had the all silver and silver and black. But, that’s OK. Anyway, it’s a really nice saber. But, I’ll let the video do the talking:
So, my lightsaber collection continues to grow. Including empties, I have 31 sabers. I’m not ashamed of this, #32 is already planned out. It’s no worse and a hell of a lot less expensive than people who have collecting cars as a hobby. And, it’s less expensive and healthier than booze, cigarettes and drugs. (sabers are my drug)
Anyway, I did a video last night showing all 31 sabers:
I wanted some music that wasn’t going to get me in copyright trouble. Fortunately, I remembered an Android app called Nodebeat. So, I generated my own music with it. Also, I called upon none of my 18 (or so) years of CGI experience for this. The animations and effects are 100% Openshot video editor.