Just a quick update, plus I wanted to do some full renders to look at some of the materials, particularly the bussard collector domes. I finished up the main part of the nacelle end caps. People who know the ship will note that I broke from canon here. Don’t worry, there will be other canon breaks because I’m not building the canon ship. I’m also obviously not completely changing the design. I also added some more details to the nacelles, including pendants, which I also did on the secondary hull. It’s necessary to get all these details in there so that I can plot out where the grid lines will go. (yes, you read that correctly) And, I played around with some colors. I don’t remember which kit it was, but I remember one of the Enterprise model kits wanting you to paint the ship gull gray, so that’s what I went with. This will be the base color for the hull of the ship. I did a darker shade for some of the stuff, American Flag red for the pendants and amber for the little boomerang things. The bussard collectors are a color called outrageous orange. And, of course, aluminum for the gill looking things on the nacelles and copper for the deflector housing inside.
I know the subject of Star Trek fan films has been a sore one lately. I find that a lot of people don’t seem to understand what happened, and think CBS is to blame for what went down with Star Trek: Axanar. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Alec Peters, the dude who was running Axanar, was breaking every rule of Star Trek fan films. He was intentionally trying to make money off of Axanar, which was a no-go with fan films from day one. He was giving unlicensed merchandise for donations, essentially selling stuff to make money to do his film. That’s another no-go. He did some other things, including ignore several cease and desist letters from CBS, forcing CBS to sue him. His defense was that there weren’t clear rules for fan films, as CBS mainly ignored fan films so long as they stayed within a few small guidelines, such as not making money and so on. So, in response to his stupidity, CBS wrote a list of official guidelines for fan films. Thus, Alec Peters is to blame for the state of things, not CBS. Though, people still blame CBS.
Anyway, on a random search for “Star Trek” during my bus ride home from work yesterday, I stumbled upon Avalon Universe. Link
This is a group based in Georgia that’s making Star Trek fan films within CBS’s guidelines. Theyr’e not the best scripted, they don’t have the best acting, their uniforms are mostly JJ Trek style, because one of CBS’s guidelines is that, if you buy uniforms, you have to buy officially licensed ones. So, it looks like they bought theirs from the official Star Trek store. Their special effects are quite nice. But, what matters most is that they get the essence of Star Trek. This crew exemplifies what fan films are all about: fans making films. It’s not about making money, it’s not about one upping CBS else by making professional quality content that’s more popular than theirs, it’s about making Star Trek for fans by fans. That’s they way it should be.
Anyway, here’s their first episode. It’s a two parter, to keep within CBS’s guidelines for length:
They released another episode last week, and you can view it by clicking on their YouTube link above. As I said, it’s got its share of issues, but it’s got the heart of Star Trek, and that’s what it’s all about.
Happy New Year, everyone! 😀
Well, 2018 is behind us. I’ve heard/seen some people say it was a bad year. I’m glad nobody told me, because I thought it was a pretty decent year. I don’t frequently talk about my work, but I work at Walmart. I’ve been there since the beginning of October 2015, so just about 3 years, 3 months. For over 2 years, I was a truck unloader and then a supervisor over the unload team. I worked 2 PM to 11 PM, or 14:00 to 23:00, for those who use the 24-hour clock. Truly awful hours. Well, back in February, I stepped down from being a supervisor and went to 3rd shift, working from 10 PM to 7 AM, or 22:00 to 07:00. This move allowed me to work hours I’ve wanted to work since I started there, as I’m a night owl and I love being up all night. I also got to get away from that unloading job, which was extremely physically demanding. Plus, I was supervising a lot of lazy people. Not all of them, but probably about 2/3 of the team I was supervising didn’t seem to care about getting stuff done. Also, several were resentful that I’d been promoted, so I got some blow back from them. Stepping down was one of the best decisions I’ve made since I started with that company, as I’m working better hours, have a hell of a lot less stress, and am working with a lot of people that I like. Also, at the time I decided to step down, they were about to send me somewhere else for training related to my supervisor position. I’d been saving money at that time for the transportation to and from, which I had to pay for (I don’t have a car) and they were going to reimburse me for that. I’d already gone for some training back in December 2017, and it was a giant pain in the ass. So, since I was stepping down, I no longer needed to go to that training, so I had some extra money.
At that time, I went to Microsoft’s website at that time to see about maybe buying some games for my XBOX 360, and saw they were having a deal with free games if you bought an XBOX One from the Microsoft store, so I did that. That was a great deal, and I love that console. I’ve made some other good video game purchases over the year too. One of my favorites was the Hyperkin Retron 77. That’s a clone console that plays Atari 2600 games in glorious HD. I was able to snag one off of Ebay a while back, and I also started up a new collection of Atari cartridges. I grew up with Atari, and I love Atari, so this is great. I’d purchased other recent clone consoles from Hyperkin, so I knew what to expect quality wise. I find they’re very well built and work great. I also got some HD cables for my Playstation 2, so now I can play Playstation and Playstation 2 games in HD, and I’ve been working on collecting more of those games to play, along with working on some of my cartridge collections, such as the Sega Genesis. And, finally on the gaming front, I was able to get a Super NES Classic after they hype died down because we had one in stock at work. I also was able to get a NES Classic, which I couldn’t buy back in 2016 because they were never on the shelf long enough for me to be able to get one. I was looking at electronics one day, it turned out to be the day after those were reissued back in the Summer, so I was able to buy one. 🙂
As for other hobbies, the lightsabers have been going well. I’ve gotten some hilts I’ve wanted for quite some time, as well as some newer releases from Ultrasabers and Sabeforge. I’ve also been collecting more movies and TV series, another great side effect of working at Walmart. I also buy some of that stuff on Amazon, depending on who has better prices. I picked up the first two Captain America movies this morning before leaving work, because Amazon has them for significantly more than Walmart. Another hobby of mine is reading, I love books. I love novels, nonfiction books (on certain subjects) and comics. I went to a giant used book clearance sale back in August and got a bunch of practically brand new paperback novels for 50¢, and Amazon was having a huge comic sale in the Kindle store at the end of the year, so I stocked up on DC and even some Marvel graphic novels. It was a good end to the year.
So, that’s my take on 2018. It was a good year overall. There were some bad things that happened in the world, for sure. But, there are every single year. Until people stop hating each other and learn to live together, there will always be bad things that happen. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future can’t come soon enough. But, I try not to focus on the negative, especially on things that I can’t possibly change, and instead focus on the good things in my life. I hope 2019 is as good for me as 2018 was, and I wish everyone a happy New Year and hope 2019 is good for everyone reading this as well.
So, I all of a sudden got in the mood to do CGI earlier tonight. I decided to do a ship from the Starfleet Museum, the Paris class.
At first, I was just going to do a ship based on the design, so it’s currently called “Pre TOS 02” on my computer, but it’s going to be the Paris class, or at least my version of it. I’m taking a lot of liberties with not only the design but also with what’s done on Star Trek ships. I want to be a Starfleet ship, but I also want it to be unique to me.
Anyway, this is what I have so far:
Anyway, it’s a start.
So, when you start a serious saber hobby, obviously you need to keep it fresh. Or, at least that’s the excuse I use to keep buying this stuff. 😛
So, I ordered an Archon 2.1 hilt from Ultrasabers recently. It’s a really nice Luke Skyalker/Ben Kenobi inspired saber. I’m doing some mods to it, like adding a Graflex clamp to it to make it look more like the ones from the movies:
Anyway, that’s a work in progress.
So, I ordered that saber unassembled. When you do that, Ultrasabers sends you the stuff in a box. I got all the parts for a stunt, but I wanted a saber with sound. So, later, I ordered a Nano Biscotte V4 from The custom Saber shop, intent on building the Archon with that setup. Then they went and released a new Nano setup, with a power extender (for RGB installs) and a battery/speaker holder installed. So, I switched tracks to wanting that for the Archon. That left me with some parts laying around. I had hilts already, so I built two sabers:
Those were both a lot of fun to do, even with the issues I had with the Xiphos. (it happens) To me, this stuff is more fun right now than CGI. It’s hands on and I’m left with some cool stuff to play with when I’m done. Without a 3D printer, there’s nothing physical to be had from CGI. Plus, I took an electrical course in high school in 1994, I might as well put some of the skills from that floating credit to good use. 😉
So, it’s been a while since I posted. To be Honest, CGI just hasn’t been exciting me of late. I have some other projects I want to do, but just getting them started is a chore. I spend a lot of my time off playing playing games and watching movies. On that note, here’s something a little different.
So, anyone who was in school between 1985 and about 2005-ish probably played The Oregon Trail in school. It was first created in the ’70s by a few student teachers who wanted a fun way to teach the history of that trail, and it’s become a favorite since then. It was included on all computers sent to schools by 1985. (at least in North America) These days, you can play it in a web browser for free. Or, you know, play it on a handheld:
I didn’t get as much done over the weekend as I would have liked, but I had other things occupying my time. I think I have most of the materials where I want them. All that’s left is to do some fresh greebles and the name and registry. The nacelles still have the old registry.
More playing around with specular settings.
If you know what the specular setting does, you may just want to skip this part and go to the renders. For those who don’t know, the specular setting makes an object shiny. It works hand in hand with the glossiness setting to determine the overall look of a shiny surface. Glossiness makes the shine “localized.” A high glossiness setting makes a small super shiny patch, while a lower setting spreads the shine out. For metal that’s not painted with glossy paint (no car paint) and isn’t buffed to a mirror shine, I want a higher specular setting and a lower glossiness setting.
The specular map is what determines what is shinier. Basically, it’s a grayscale image with patterns on it. The shades of gray determine shine, with white being totally shiny and black being not shiny at all. It also creates the individual hull panels, along with a diffusion map to control light absorption. The look we should all be chasing is the paneling from TMP:
Basically, they used paints and with different shine levels to create the individual panels. The way it works is, in direct light, (light hitting the object from the same side as the camera) the panels are barely visible. However, in indirect light, (light hitting from the opposite side as the camera) the panels are visible. In the image above, the registry light is hitting the hull at an indirect angle, causing the panels to be visible. This is achieved in CGI with specular mapping.
In the images below, the ship is rendered at the same angle with 3 different light angles. The first is direct lighting, the other two are indirect lighting with the light in different positions on the other side of the model. This gives an idea of how it would look if I rendered a flyby where the ship flies between the camera and light. I’m happy with how these look:
Well, it’s a work in progress. Taking the stenciled lettering off of the hull is the chore I expected it to be. It’s a lot of merging faces and deleting points. I got all of the registries off of the main hull (saucer.) I still have to take the ones off of the nacelles, but I didn’t want to do it right now.
Instead, I set about getting rid of the greeble trenches. My idea for the other model was to not do those, so I got rid of them on this model. There was a lot of destroying faces and building new ones. It was a chore, but worth it when all said and done. I really like how that looks VS having the trenches. Since this is supposed to be a predecessor to the Miranda class, and not a Miranda, I figure some differences are warranted. I have new greebles planned to go there, so it won’t be the plain dark gray areas you see now.
And, lastly, I dorked around with materials. The last version of Lightwave I used was Lightwave 10.1 or 10.2, something like that. Either way, it was an old version, from 2010. So much has changed since then, that I’m having to figure out all new settings in Lightwave 2018. But, that’s part of the fun. At least I’m doing this with a model that already has textures.
Anyway, this is where it sits: