Unused Rubbish

Since the project is officially dead, I see no point in not posting this now.  (a few people are trying to save it, but with no money)  Anyway, this is a series of effects shots I did for the Star Trek Equinox teaser, before they hired Gabe Koerner to do them.  Though, in order to save time, Gabe used my breakup of the Klingon ship in his version, so I technically still helped with the final effects shots (besides building the ships.)  Anyway, these were my versions.  There are four sequences, as called for in the script:

Equinox Effects Comp 01 from evil_genius_180 on Vimeo.

Anyway, this is all stuff I taught myself to do specifically for that project.

New Year, and Whanot

Well, 2015 was a really good year for me.  A lot of good and exciting things happened for me, not the least of which is getting a full time job.  I don’t like to post my issues all over the Internet like some pathetic saps do, (it solves nothing) but I was unemployed for quite some time.  I believe this is due at least partially (a big part) to faulty Online background checks.  Apparently, some background check agencies (I was told in 2014, after not getting a job because of this) only check name and date of birth.  Well, when you have a common name like I do, there are going to be lots of us, some of whom are criminals.  The issue I had in this particular case stemmed from somebody with the same first and last name as me and the same date of birth, who had committed a crime.  So, needless to say, finding work was a pill.  Anyway, that all changed back in October, when I got hired at a local Walmart.  I know, some people are thinking “Walmart?” but, when you’re out of work for a long time, you’ll take anything.  Besides, it’s not bad work, I unload trucks and do some stocking.  It’s full time and I get paid more than the minimum wage in Ohio, which is more than you get at other similar stores.  I’ve been told in interviews that many of them do start out at minimum wage, and most like to keep you under 30 hours a week to keep from having to give you benefits.  Not Walmart, I’m making almost a dollar over minimum wage, and will be making more next month when Walmart’s minimum goes up.  Plus, I get 40 hours a week.  The Holidays were a lot of “fun,” but I was just happy to be working.  My bank account has been a lot happier too.

Speaking of the old bank account, having a full time job brings some things into perspective, such as where I want to go moving forward with my CGI.  As many may recall, I switched from Lightwave to Blender earlier this year, mainly due to the fact that Blender is free.  However, I still don’t like Blender as well as Lightwave.  Many of the tools are still less precise, an issue I noticed back in 2010.  While I do like Blender’s Cycles render engine, that too has some issues, not the least of which is a general lack of decent UV mapping tools.  So, since I got the job and can afford to buy stuff again, I’ve moved back to Lightwave.  I like most things about the software better, plus I know how to animate and do some special effects in Lightwave, I know how to do neither in Blender.  I’m planning on upgrading to Lightwave 2015 soon, but I had to buy some other stuff first, like the ever present groceries and also some work clothes and, of course, a Playstation 4.  (I’ve gotta have my games)  One good thing about the timing of when I got my job is that I was able to preorder Limited Edition Star Was PS4.  It’s pretty badass.

Anyway, starting in 2016, I want to focus more on animation and special effects.  Thanks to being part of the now defunct fan film Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time and being the only person on there who could do CGI for most of two years, I had to teach myself how to do a lot of stuff.  Well, I want to further my skills by learning more stuff.  My overall goal this year, Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, is to put together a short that’s a few minutes long.  Since I don’t know a damn thing about characters, (yet) it will be all done with space ships and whatnot.  The action will tell the story.

Unfortunately, due to my loss of data some months back, (detailed here: https://evilgenius180.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/support-ship-pt-01/) I no longer have many of my old Star Trek meshes.  But, one thing I know how to do is build models, so I’m working on some new ones.  I started a new Constitution class mesh Christmas day, this is where it stands right now:

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Apart from that, some of the models I did for Star Trek Equinox survived, thanks to being backed up to Dropbox.  I have a Starbase and a few ships, including the Klingon D7 I built a couple years ago.  So, since I have that beastie, I’m envisioning a fight between the Federation and Klingons for my animated short.  And, of course, I still have the hero ship I built for Equinox:

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I’ve renamed the ship the USS Tethys, after one of Saturn’s moons, which in turn is named after one of the Greek Titans, a sea goddess.  Ironically, I chose the registry NCC-1846 because it’s a reorganization of the Reliant’s registry number, only to find out that the moon Tethys was discovered in 1684, so it has a double meaning.  ;)  Aside from changing the name, I made a few other changes.  Since this ship was supposed to be from between TOS and TMP, I added a second bridge turbolift and some running lights.  Anyway, this model will factor greatly into my animated short.

So, more to come on all of this as I get it done.  Right now, my focus is building the Constitution class, as I definitely need one of those for the short.

By the way, just in case anybody from WordPress is reading this: Whoever decided to turn your Posting thing into the unintuitive piece of crap that it is now, my middle finger is officially extended just for you. You’ve taken away almost all of the options for posting images. I had to actually sit here and type HTML code just to make my images clickable, something that used to be automatic. So, thanks for nothing.

To be pissed or not to be…

…that is the question.  So, I was conducting a Google image search looking for a specific shot of the TOS Enterprise (the original model, not CGI.)  Anyway, I found a “familiar” image.  I recognize my own work, even with the credits removed.  Some jackass was using it to sell their crap on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/161696607084

Here’s the image, uploaded more than four years ago:

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Shit like this is what gets on my nerves.  I don’t do this stuff for profit.  I do it because I enjoy it.  Seeing one of my images being used on a for profit venture where the fucknut who posted it doesn’t even have the courtesy to leave the credits on my image that I posted for free on the Internet shows a complete lack of respect.  If that listing was still “live,” I’d give that shithead a piece of my mind and maybe even inform Ebay about it.  (not that I think they’d do anything about it)

Support Ship, Pt. 02

One thing I love about posting this stuff online is the feedback you can get from friends and acquaintances.  A friend over at Scifi-Meshes suggested that I move the Impulse engines from the back of the saucer to the back of the nacelle pylons.  I like this idea as it not only frees up that internal space for me to put a docking port there, but it also makes use of the ample space I have inside and in the back of the pylons.  This was a good time to make this change, as I hadn’t locked in that Sub-D on the main section and started adding details.

So, I removed the impulse engine structure from the back of the saucer and rebuilt the faces.  All in all, about 5 minutes of work.  Then I set about adding a new cut out to the back of the pylons.  I made it wide and tall to accommodate larger engines, though the engines probably won’t fill up the entire cut out.  I’ll probably add in some sensor greebles between the impulse engines and the larger center cut out.  Note:  The large sensor cut out isn’t indicative of the size of the shuttlebay.  I’m going to do a smaller bay opening than the size of the cut out, like what Voyager has.  I’ll probably put an airlock on at least one side of the bay, like Voyager has.  The bay itself isn’t going to be large, probably big enough for one shuttlepod.

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Support Ship, Pt. 01

I had an interesting experience the other day.  I decided to try BSD on my main computer.  For people who don’t know what that is, it’s basically pure Unix.  Unix is the original computer operating system and all modern operating systems are based on it, even Windows at some level is based on Unix.  Mac OSX and the Linux kernel are more indicative of Unix and how it works as they’re more closely based on it.  So, I decided the other day to try GhostBSD on my computer.  Before installation, I checked to see if it can be dual booted with Linux, which it can.  However, during installation, instead of just installing onto the partition I told it to use, it decided to wipe my entire hard drive.  So, I lost all of my data on my computer (fun, fun.)  Anywho, a lot of it was junk, but there were a few things I’d like to have kept.  Most of it was stuff I can get by downloading it again, like my CGI reference library and fan films, etc.  I was running a restoration program that is available for Linux.  It was working fantastically, but the problem was it was finding every file that had ever been deleted and not overwritten.  Plus, it was giving them names staring with f, then a long number sequence and the file extension.  It was going to take forever to go through all of that junk.  Plus, it was just taking up way too much space on the HD and it wasn’t anywhere near being done.  So, I decided to abort that and just rebuild my libraries of reference images, fan films and whatever else.

One of the things I lost that made me unhappy was my CGI ships.  I have some of my old stuff from Lightwave on Dropbox, but I lost other stuff.  I also lost my ship I was working on in Blender.  But, such is life.  Anyway, after getting Linux Mint reinstalled on my computer and starting things like re-downloading my library of games on Steam, I decided to start on a new ship.  Prior to losing all of my data, I’d been working on some non-Trek stuff, but it was going nowhere quickly.  I had ideas, but they looked better in my head than they did in 3D.  (it happens)  So, since I lost that crap anyway, I decided to do a new Trek ship.

I deiced to go with a “future” Trek ship, something from after TNG.  I’m leaning towards it was commissioned somewhere around the year 2500, or Stardate 77-something.  (2375 was the year the Dominion War ended, with Stardates in the 52000s)  It’s pretty basic so far, but the main hull took a long time to work out exactly how I wanted it to go.  In fact, that took an entire day of pushing polygons around and seeing how it looked with subdivision applied.  (the thing started as a simple 8-sided cylinder)  Anyway, it’s about where I want it and pretty soon I’m going to apply that subdivision modifier so that I can start adding details like grid lines, windows, etc.  Though, I don’t figure it’s going to have a lot of windows.  I have already started detailing the nacelles.

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This is a small ship, it’s only about 84 meters long.  (I’ll give more solid numbers once I get the sub-d applied to the main hull)  It has 5 decks and I figure a crew of only 20-30 people.  Obviously, a ship this small wouldn’t make a good explorer or any other type of ship that goes on long term missions.  But, that’s not a problem because this isn’t that kind of ship.  It’s a support ship for a Starbase.  (think about the role of the Defiant on DS9)  Basically, it’s a ship they use when they need to send a ship out to do something like a planetary survey, or go scan an anomaly, or something along those lines.  So, go out, do its mission, then RTB.  Nothing long term.  When it’s not on a mission, it probably flies defensive patrols in the general AO of the Starbase.  I figure a ship of that type doesn’t need to be huge anyway and a Starbase would likely have other ships nearby it could call in for bigger missions.

So, that’s what I have so far.  More to follow.  :)

Admiral Janeway

Something has always bothered me about Admiral Janeway seen in Star Trek: Nemesis.  (I saw something online a few minutes ago that brought this subject to mind)  In 2278, when Voyager returned home, she was a Captain.  A year later, in 2379, she was an Admiral.  No biggie there, she obviously got promoted between the end of Voyager and that movie.  However, her rank in Nemesis makes no sense.  I’m going to use this chart from the old Star Trek Encyclopedia to illustrate what I mean.  (thanks to Bernd Schneider and his site Ex Astris Scientia for the chart)

movie-medals-tng-ranks

Looking at the chart, you can see there are five ranks of Admiral, just as there are in most Navies, Admiral one through five stars.  In the current US Navy, those are Rear Admiral Lower Half, Rear Admiral Upper Half, Vice Admiral, Admiral and Fleet Admiral.  Looking at this image from Star Trek: Nemesis, you can see Janeway with 3 pips inside a rectangle on her collar.  (Thanks to Memory Alpha for this image)

Kathryn_Janeway_2379

That rank insignia makes Janeway a 3-star Admiral, aka Vice Admiral, in 2379.  So, in the span of a year, (or so) she would have to have been promoted three times, or would had to have skipped the two Rear Admiral ranks entirely.  This makes absolutely no sense.  I can get the whole thing where she returned from the Delta Quadrant, saving her crew and providing valuable information on both that region and on new propulsion technologies, so she was promoted.  But, skip two entire ranks?  That’s just ludicrous.  For one thing, for all the good she did on Voyager, she did some questionable things too.  Granted, nothing worse than any other Starfleet Captain has done on the shows, but certainly a few iffy things.  Still, there was nothing I could see that would stop her from getting a promotion, but to a more appropriate rank of Rear Admiral Lower Half.  (formerly known as Commodore)

Stuff like this is just what irks me about Star Trek at times.  Of course, I know what they did.  The script called for Janeway to be an Admiral, so they made her an Admiral using whatever rank insignia they had on hand.  They didn’t care that the insignia they gave her promoted her way too fast, they just did it to make their film.

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 06

Well, I haven’t worked on this for a few days because I’ve been busy playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which got a massive update on Steam, including the ability to play on Linux. So, I’ve been happy. Even though I own the old CD version for Windows, I could never get that working in WINE. If I remember correctly, I could never get past “insert disc 2.” It wouldn’t register the disc and let me continue installation. But, that’s all moot now, because all I had to do was buy it on Steam and download it. :D

Anyway, back to the ship. I forced myself to add the remainder of the windows. It’s tedious, but I got them all on there. Note: there are less “rows” of Windows than on the Enterprise because mine actually line up with a deck plan, they’re not just put on there wherever I felt like. I couldn’t really find a lot of good places to put many windows on the bottom, so I just did one row.

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TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 05

It’s just one of those days. I have nothing really new to show, but I actually did a lot of work on this thing today.

One thing I absolutely despise and will not tolerate to the point of going to great lengths to get rid of them are smoothing errors. They’re ugly. I had a few around my aft section window cuts last night, but not too bad. Minor things, but I knew they were there. So, I bisected in some geometry to fix it. The geometry itself is ugly, but who cares? It’s not like the wireframe matters, it’s what the thing looks like rendered that matters. So, this morning I was doing some renders with different lighting hitting that part to make sure there were no more lingering errors. While I was happy to see none there, there was a major issue around the back of the model, where the back of the trenches and the shuttlebay openings are.

I turns out the booleans tool in Blender has a major issue. Well, all booleans tools do, but this is a particular quirk of Blender, it also happens on the Knife Project tool. It turns out, when you cut into a plane, the booleans (or knife project) doesn’t create flat, even geometry. It cuts the new geometry a fraction off of the level of the existing geometry, leading to smoothing errors when rendering. When you’re dealing with a face that’s lined up with one of the 3 axes used in the 3D space, that’s not an issue. You simply go around and manually realign the points to be level. That worked great for the top of the back of the saucer. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with angled planes, like the ones found on the back edge of the saucer, things get trickier.

I fought with the existing geometry for a good couple hours or more. I tried the Edge Split modifier and all kinds of things, nothing got rid of the errors. So, I finally realized that the offensive geometry had to go and that I needed to start over. Fortunately, I’m anal about saving stuff to new files when I do things like cuts, so I just had to open a second Blender window, open the uncut file and copy and past the sections I needed over to replace the messed up geometry. That’s where it got even more fun.

I tried re-cutting the geometry using the Knife Project tool, that’s where I found out it does the same thing booleans does. So, I wound up through a series of bisects, insets, extrusions, and whatnot, getting the elements I wanted back in there, without using either the booleans or knife project. It was a giant pain in the butt, but worth it in the end because there are no freaking smoothing errors. It’s all clean and it looks beautiful rendered.

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So, after a long day of frustration, this is all I have for tonight. While they may look like last night’s renders, there are differences you don’t see. And, now that I’m done with that and I’m mentally drained, it’s time for some XBOX 360. I’m going to go take out a day’s worth of frustration on some thugs in Gotham City. ;)

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 04

Work, work, work.

OK, lots of things here and there. I added some cuts to the back of the saucer for the shuttlebays. I also added trenches to the top for the greebles that will more or less replicate (at lower detail of course) the nurnies that ILM put on the movie version. I also added a cut for the deflector-like details on movie version, but I don’t know yet what I’m doing there. I also put in the three groves that are in the underside of the Enterprise’s saucer. And, I added windows. A whole bunch of windows. I’d have done more, but I also spent a lot of time cleaning up the mess that the booleans made. And, I fiddled with the bussard collectors some more.

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