I decided to do another render with the Starbase 15 scene, but with different ship and camera positions and different lighting.
As I indicated in the finished art post I did earlier, I converted a few of my older ships to Lightwave 2018. This basically entails completely redoing the materials, as Lightwave 2018’s render engine is designed to use Principled BSDF materials and older versions of the software used different materials and a different render engine. These models were made in Lightwave 10 about 5-6 years ago.
I’m seriously considering redoing the Equinox (and not calling it that) as that was designed to be a ship that was a later TOS era, almost to the TMP time frame ship, hence the details. But, I’d prefer to do a model that looks like an older ship. Besides, I haven’t done that style of hull in ages and it’s a fun style to do. Another thing I’m considering is rigging up models for animation. For the most part, these models wouldn’t be hard to animate or take a long time, but the bussard collectors are a problem. They’re done practically with modeled lights and mirrors, and a lot of light refraction. The refraction is what is causing the noise that is visible on the Erickson render. This can be done away with, or at least greatly reduced, but increasing the anti aliasing to the level required results in really long render times. So, I’m probably going to have to fake the look of what’s inside the bussard collectors with a texture, which isn’t all that hard to do. I’ve done it before, all I have to do is animate it, render it to a .avi file and then use that as a applied to a dome. For animation, this will work fine. Really, it would probably be OK for still images, so I’ll have to decide after I do it if I want to keep the practical bussards or just go to the textured version.
I made some new textures for my TOS Enterprise model. When I first built the ship, I didn’t want to do any paneling or weathering on the textures. Well, I’ve changed my stance on that and I’ve done both paneling and weathering. The paneling is subtle, it’s only in the specular channel and I used small variations in shades of gray to make it subtle. The weathering, on the other hand, is more prominent. It’s in both the color and specular maps. I didn’t bother trying to recreate the weathering on the 11-foot model, instead I just did my own thing. I also tweaked my bussard collectors further and finally got them looking how I want them to look. After that was done, I decided to render some images.
I originally planned to do more than two images, but I wound up spending some time converting some of my older models to Lightwave 2018. This basically entails changing from the old style materials to Principled BSDF materials. Principled BSDF works much better with the rendering engine in Lightwave 2018. Unfortunately, when I change the materials, I have to reapply my textures. And, for materials where I didn’t UV unwrap the objects, I have to redo the mapping as well. So, it takes some time, to say the least. But, it was worthwhile as I was able to use my Starbase and Reliant-style ship for the second image.
For people who don’t know this about me, collecting movies is one of my oldest hobbies. It goes back to the days of VHS. But, these days (of course) it’s DVD and Blu-Ray. One of my favorite things that they’ve been doing for about the last 20 years is releasing old TV shows on DVD. (and later Blu-Ray) Sure, you can watch them on streaming, but there are issues with that. More than once, I’ve had internet issues that have caused me to not be able to stream anything. (which is usually when I just pop in a DVD or Blu-Ray) Then there’s my favorite issue, where you’re watching a series on a streaming service and it gets pulled from that service because the rights expired and aren’t going to be renewed. Now, admittedly, I’m not the quickest person when it comes to watching stuff, especially since I do CGI and gaming. Thus, more than once, I’ve had that issue where I was streaming a show and it left the streaming service. Usually, they warn you ahead of time and you know to finish watching whatever you’re watching, but I’m pretty bad about paying attention to that stuff. One such show is Babylon 5. I’ve seen part of the series and I’ve heard so many times how good it is, but I’ve never seen the whole thing. Now I have no excuse to not do so:
So, that boxed set was only $120 on Amazon, free Prime shipping. In fact, I found it yesterday and ordered it and it had 1 day shipping available, so I got it today. According to the listing, it was $120 for all 5 seasons of the show and the 5 made for TV movies. I thought that was a good deal, so I ordered it. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found out it also comes with Crusade, the follow-up series that I learned just then was a thing. 😉 So, for $120, I got all 5 seasons of the show, and the 5 movies, which works out to $20 per season/movie set, and the bonus series Crusade. Not a bad haul. So, if I don’t update my CGI builds anytime soon, know that it’s probably because I’m watching Babylon 5. 😀
I finished up the details on the upper saucer. The only way any of this will change will be if I decide to do another detail pass later. But, that’s not likely to happen, as Starfleet ships aren’t known for having an excessive amount of exterior details. And, even though this is a reboot of sorts, there’s no reason to stray too far from tradition on this. If I wanted to do something with gobs of detail, I’d do a ship from another race (like the Klingons) or just switch to another franchise or do something original.
So, this blog is 11 years old. Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who stops by. I don’t know how I wound up with nearly 200 followers, but you’re all rock stars. And, even if you’re not a follower, you still rock. When I started this blog 11 years ago, I figured I was wasting my time and nobody would care, much less visit and like and comment on my posts. I certainly didn’t think I’d still be doing this in 2020.
Having said all of that, there’s a lot of stuff here. Too much, in fact. I’m running out of space for images. WordPress gives you 3GB free, and I was getting close to that. So, to that end, I’ve started getting rid of some older stuff. A lot of my older stuff just isn’t at all representative of my current work, and a lot of it just needs to go. I’ve deleted all of the posts from 2009 and 2010 already, and I’ve got more to do. I plan to get rid of all of my posts from when I used TrueSpace 3D. That was decent software that I used for over 10 years, but I switched to Lightwave in 2012 and I’ve never looked back. I’ve tried Blender off and on for about 10 years now, but I don’t like it as well as Lightwave. Now, my gallery I’m leaving alone and all of the images in it are being left alone. I accidentally deleted one, but I’m trying to preserve those as they represent some of my best work. I’ll also be getting rid of a lot of WIP posts, as none of that stuff really matters anymore. I’ll especially be getting rid of WIP posts for projects that I never finished and will never finish, even from more recent stuff. This includes my recent attempt to convert my Lightwave TOS Enterprise to Blender, since I’m back to using Lightwave. (I couldn’t find a Linux distribution that didn’t piss me off, so I went back to Windows 10, which only slightly pisses me off) I also got rid of that stupid “Image Rights” page. The older I get, the less shit like that matters to me. I figure, if you really need to take my images, remove the credits and then post them like they’re your own work, then you’re fucking pathetic. That’s all there is to say about that.
Other than that, it’s business as usual. I may change themes, I haven’t decided yet.
This is sort of a mini update. I got some feedback on the text over at Scifi-Meshes, so I tried out a suggestion and put the NCC-1701 text on the lower part of the saucer:
I wasn’t fond of how that looked, so I took that suggestion and some of the others and blended them together to make some changes and come up with something I like better:
Firstly, all of the text is smaller. The NCC-1701 text is slightly smaller, the USS Enterprise text is significantly smaller. I also changed the font from Airborne II to Airborne Pilot, because I wanted to. 😉 I moved the text closer to the edge of the ridge and moved my phasers from 33.3 degrees to 45 degrees, then re-spaced the text to easily fit between the phasers. I also moved the Enterprise text towards the edge and put it inside the arc of the NCC-1701 text. The other change I made had nothing to do with the text, but I moved the access panels more towards the center of the lower area of the saucer, because I like how that looks. It also helps make that area look less “empty.”
This is all I plan to do for now, as I have a headache and just want to play a game or something until it goes away. I would be installing a new drive for storing games into my PC, but Amazon decided they didn’t want to deliver it today. The whole reason I ordered the drive I did was because it was supposed to be delivered today, and I don’t work Saturday nights. So, to not get it today as planned is irritating, to say the least.
I’ve decided to do this model differently than I do a lot of my models. Usually, I do all of the grid lines first and then windows, because those are both tedious. However, I decided this time to just complete an area and then move on. So, I’m doing the saucer top first. I started with some RCS thrusters, phasers and access panels. I also added the upper registry and a couple other things. I’m trying to keep the details balanced between stuff I like from different sources, including the original Enterprise, the TMP refit and the Kelvin Timeline ships. I also plan to do some stuff that will (hopefully) be unique to me.
For the phasers, I decided to make them turrets, rather than just nubs with holes in them. I think this looks more realistic and less refined than the later era phasers. I could have cut the access panels into the hull, but there would have been little benefit as you won’t be able to tell in most renders. And, of course, the text won’t be visible most of the time either. **shrugs**
For the RCS thrusters, I went with a vent look.