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.