Switching Tracks

OK, upon personal reflection, I think I’ve figured out why I’ve had no interest in doing 3D lately.  It’s because I’ve been trying to make Star Trek models.  Star Trek is one of my favorite Sci-Fi series but I think I’m finally bored with making Trek 3D stuff.  I have no idea how long that will last, it might even be permanent.  (you never know)  However, I am on an bit of a Star Wars kick right now.  Star Wars has been a favorite of mine long before I ever saw Star Trek, so it’s finally time to start on some Star Wars projects.  I’ve modeled very little Star Wars over the years (mostly lightsabers) and it’s time I corrected that.  I have an idea for a fighter that I’ll probably start building pretty soon.  I’m not going to give much detail but it’s from the Old Republic era, probably around 6,000 to 5,000 years BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin.)  6,900 to 5,000 years BBY is a big “gap” in the official SW chronology where nothing “canon” has happened, leaving, leaving me a lot of room to play around.  Aside from the fighter, I’ve started writing a Star Wars story set in that era.  Once upon a time, I had dreams of having a book published, I even started on a Star Wars novel several years ago (I lost it in a HD failure) but nowadays I think personal web publishing is the way to go.  So, I’ll probably start a website (I have a book on creating a website from the library that covers HTML5, so I think my chances are good) and publish the story on there.  My hope is that it will be the launching point for a whole fan fiction series set in that era of SW history.

Anywho, to get back into the 3D swing, I started by repainting a lightsaber hilt I made a couple years ago.  I considered making one from scratch but I have several that I’ve never used for anything and they’re not “canon” hilts, so I decided to use one I already had, though I hated the colors and textures I used in 2009.  Originally, it was all beat up and scratched, I chromed it.  I also darkened the hand grip textures.  This lightsaber will be carried by one of my main characters.  I won’t tell too much yet, but she’s a Chiss Padawan.  Her maser is a Zabrak Jedi Master.  He carries a double-bladed lightsaber.  I modeled one around the same time as this one but I will also be repainting that one.  Anywho, here’s the Padawan’s hilt:

I'm really happy with how the chrome came out after many tweaks. I had to render this in trueSpace 4 because trueSpace 7, for some stupid reason, can't handle environment (reflectance) maps and ray traced reflections on the same part. tS4 doesn't have this handicap.

The hand grips were originally brown but I darkened them to almost black. I used the same bump map and just darkened the color map. They're supposed to look like some kind of animal hide.

The original barfy color scheme and "floor" pattern.


Update 066/13/2011 11:56 am EDT:  Using the create a character in the MMORPG Champions Online, I did a kind of a concept sketch of what my Chiss Jedi character might look like.  Obviously, since this was done in a superhero MMORPG, the clothing isn’t quite right, but I think it came out pretty well.  The skin and eye color are about spot-on for the Chiss and I gave her black hair because that’s the color of hair that all of the Chiss of which I could find pictures had.  Since the Chiss are a “near-human” species and don’t have horns or oddly shaped body parts or head-to-toe hair or anything, I was able to create her.  (the Zabrak will have to wait until I feel like actually drawing him)


8 thoughts on “Switching Tracks

  1. Looks great. As much as I like Star Wars it’s never had the same affect on my visually that Star Trek has had. The textures are really good. I atomatically thought the wrap looked like some type of leather. And I really like that floor texture. But also like the original dark metal on the first version

    • Thanks bro. I can’t take credit for the floor material, though. Those are textures that came with the program.

      To me, Star Wars and Star Trek are about equal visually. Both are very strong and both have their weak points.

  2. I can relate to the Star Wars/Star Trek split. I started off doing a lot of work with Star Wars related material when I was involved with the Star Wars fan film scene back in the late 90’s/early 00’s. This changed to more Star Trek related stuff once I was working on ‘Of God’s and Men’ and then Ajax.
    Both have their own unique visual language. Even at their weak points – prequels for SW, Trek 2009 for ST – they still produce some interesting designs.

    • Back when I used to do more 2D drawing, either by hand or on the computer, I used to do much more Star Wars and other non-Trek work. Though, somehow, the vast majority of my 3D work has been Trek related. I love Trek but I think I’m finally just burned out on modeling stuff from that particular universe.

      I’ve also tried several times to write Trek fan fiction but I like to hit “blank” parts in the chronology, not hit eras that have been covered on film. Unfortunately, with Trek, that’s not as easy to do as it sounds. The Star Trek chronology is very tight, there is little “wiggle” room in those blank areas. They’re very specific as to how much of the galaxy has been explored and which races have been contacted at any given time. Star Wars is a little more forgiving. Races are there, they’ve been there, and by the time the films rolled around, most everybody had been using hyperdrive for 30,000 years or so. The chronology of Star Wars is mostly like this: about 25, 000 years BBY, the Republic was formed. Every few thousand years or so, the Sith make a bid for power. When one of those bids for power aren’t happening, there are huge blanks, usually covering several thousand years. You can do a lot with those blanks. 🙂

      As for the Star Wars prequels and Trek 2009 having a lot of cool designs, they should. Ryan Church worked on SW episodes 2 and 3 and Star Trek 2009. 😉 He’s also done concepts for some other cool Sci-Fi films like the Transformers movies and Avatar. http://www.ryanchurch.com/

  3. I can certainly empathize on the ‘burn out’ factor. Mine in more of a ‘everyone does Trek’ and mostly the same few ships. I know there are folks that do off the beaten path stuff but if you really look it is not the norm. Get frustrating at times and is why I am also moving into Harrington stuff.

    Star Wars does have the flexibility you imply above that would make it more a challenge and potentially more fun. Nice work above!

  4. Thanks guys. 😀 I’ve been working on the story that goes with the character and lightsaber. I have several pages written so far (rough draft.) It’s going well so far. I might start modeling a ship today. 🙂

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