USS Endeavour, Pt. 02

I’ve pretty much got the hull materials done. I’ve been tweaking a few things, and I may continue to do so, but this is basically it. Interiors are next, followed by something for that bare spot on the front underside. I also have some work to do on the bussards, though I’ll probably do those last as I’m likely going to rig them for animation. (similar to what I did on my TOS Enterprise) Also, I decided the ship has more than enough blue glows, so I switched the impulse engines to a red-orange glow.









On a side note, I’d like to say that, for professional software, Lightwave has to have some of the worst UV mapping tools. If you’re using flat images with planar, cylindrical, etc. mapping, you’re fine. However, unwrapping in Lightwave leaves very much to be desired. The default tool for doing it flat out sucks. It generates way too many parts. I have a plugin that’s a little better, but it’s an older plugin and I get a lot of error messages. Plus, it doesn’t put parts on the sheet straight, it puts things on there at an angle, making it a pain to try and put paneling on things. And, last but not in any way least, there’s no way to export generated maps to images. There are a few third party plugins, but they won’t work with Lightwave 64-bit, so they’re useless to me.

I did manage to get the plugin that I have to work for the weirdly shaped part on the back underside, (the thing the warp pylons connect to) so I was able to add some paneling there. However, a lot of other places that have “paneling” only do because I manually selected faces and changed the materials on them to create a paneling look.


6 thoughts on “USS Endeavour, Pt. 02

  1. UV mapping has been the most common complaint LW’ers have had since the beginning of the software. That is why so many turn to outside plugins to programs like PLG and UVLayout.

    • A lot of the posts I found on their forums about the issue suggest PLG_Make_UV, which I downloaded and use. Though, it hasn’t been updated in years and has quite a few issues, including not working right half of the time. Quite frankly, I’m amazed it even works with LW10.1, since it was developed for LW7.5. Also, it works in 64-bit, which is nice. A lot of the useful looking LW plugins I’ve found are 32-bit only.

      This stuff should be included, but I guess that’s asking for too much from $1500 software. 🙄 I guess it’s a good thing I used TrueSpace for so many years and learned tricks around these sort of things, since it didn’t have unwrapping either.

  2. I shouldn’t complain too much, because Sketchup was never really intended for 3D CGI the way people like us use it, but putting textures on objects sounds a lot like you were saying with Lightwave. You need to create a whole bunch of different versions of the same paneling image (for bump map, specular, and the weathered looking final product) and then put it on, re-orient the image if it’s on anything other than the XYZ axis, and so much more!
    Still, whatever difficulties you have, you crank out some damn fine looking starships!

  3. Actually, I was wondering if you have any lighting tricks you can share. Do you use multiple smaller lights to fill out the illumination, just one main point light, spots, etc?
    Your renders always look so realistic, and one thing I haven’t mastered is lighting, which makes a huge difference in the quality of the product.

    • Thanks a lot. I just have a single spherical light in there. I have the light set to bright white, with a 10% ambient off-white color. In my old software, I used to use a bunch of different lights at various levels because it had no ambient setting.

      • Gotcha. Thanks for the tips; that’s pretty much what I’ve been messing with but there’s always room for me to get better!

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