Enterprise Flying

I’m currently in a holding pattern on Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time. I turned in what I was working on and I’m not working on anything else at the moment. (there will be more work later) So, I decided to render a little animation of my Enterprise model.

Slightly over a year ago, I rebuilt my computer with a badass Gigabyte AM3+ motherboard, AMD 3.1 GHz 8-core processor and 8 GB DDR3 RAM. At the time, I was thinking it would be sick for animation rendering. Unfortunately, in the year following that rebuild, I did no animation rendering. Granted, I was learning how to use Lihgtwave, but I also spent too much time not even doing CGI. So, I decided it’s time to put the rendering rig to work. The other day, I found a great tutorial on doing blinking lights in Lightwave, which made it possible to make the little running lights blink on and off. (it’s really very simple) For the bussards, I rigged up some actual lights with the same blinking patterns as my modeled “lights” inside and rendered those against a dome to create the effect of the lights hitting the inside of the dome. Then I applied that animation to the inner dome as a texture. It’s subtle and hard to see, but the lights look like they’re hitting the dome. For the “blades,” I made a flat map with 10 spokes and applied that to a plane, which I spun and rendered. I then applied that animation to the dome for the blades in the transparency channel. The light blinks are all set to repeat and the animations to loop, so I can render as many frames of this stuff as I need.

Anywho, here’s a little test animation. It’s not very much, just a quick flyby, and it’s not very exciting, but I’m pretty happy with how all of the light and bussard effects came out. I’m also happy with how the hull materials look.

By the way, this thing rendered FAST, especially compared to a similar animation in TrueSpace on my old rig. For some reason, converting the file from the raw .avi data to a .mp4 file and compressing it really lightened the video. Some of the other formats didn’t lighten it quite as much, but this codec is the only one that you can use for HD videos at Vimeo.

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