Random

So, I went to Hobby Lobby the other day. Aside from trying not to salivate on the model kits, particularly the Rogue One ISD, Reliant, Enterprise 50th Anniversary model kit (original AMT model) and the Batwing from the 1989 Batman film, I noticed they had wood and metal wall signs on sale. So, I picked up something totally awesome:

It’s a metal sign, and Optimus Prime is actually punched into the metal, so he really pops out. The paint is nice and shiny, and it looks really cool. I’m a huge G1 Transformers fan, so finding this really made my day. 🙂

Changing Times

Some of you may have noticed, the blog got a new title.  Well, there are a few reasons for this.

As I’m sure many people of noticed, my more recent posts have nothing to do with CGI.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not going to do CGI anymore, this just means my hobby focuses are shifting.  One thing that’s great about CGI is that it’s cheap, compared to many other hobbies.  Many hobbies require a constant inflow of currency, money spent to buy materials.  CGI is one of the exceptions.  With free software being what it is these days, you can literally start with no more out of pocket expense than a decent(ish) computer.  Of course, what you will be able to do with said computer depends on how much money you put into it.  However, even a budget laptop can be used to create models, if little else.  I believe I’ve touched on this before, but I was unemployed for quite some time.  While I was struggling to find work with an economic recession and faulty criminal background checks working against me, (common name) CGI was there for me.  With an OK computer and cheap or free software, the sky was the limit.  All it takes to make CGI models and do images, animations, etc. is time and patience, of which I had plenty.

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Seven Years Later

Well, apparently, I started this blog seven years ago, according to WordPress. I know It’s been a bit lean of late, and I apologize for that. Work has kept me busy, but I’ve been feeling the modeling bug biting me again recently. Plus, I may have something non 3D to show in the next couple days, possibly tomorrow if the FedEx driver delivers it. 😀

Support Ship, Pt. 01

I had an interesting experience the other day.  I decided to try BSD on my main computer.  For people who don’t know what that is, it’s basically pure Unix.  Unix is the original computer operating system and all modern operating systems are based on it, even Windows at some level is based on Unix.  Mac OSX and the Linux kernel are more indicative of Unix and how it works as they’re more closely based on it.  So, I decided the other day to try GhostBSD on my computer.  Before installation, I checked to see if it can be dual booted with Linux, which it can.  However, during installation, instead of just installing onto the partition I told it to use, it decided to wipe my entire hard drive.  So, I lost all of my data on my computer (fun, fun.)  Anywho, a lot of it was junk, but there were a few things I’d like to have kept.  Most of it was stuff I can get by downloading it again, like my CGI reference library and fan films, etc.  I was running a restoration program that is available for Linux.  It was working fantastically, but the problem was it was finding every file that had ever been deleted and not overwritten.  Plus, it was giving them names staring with f, then a long number sequence and the file extension.  It was going to take forever to go through all of that junk.  Plus, it was just taking up way too much space on the HD and it wasn’t anywhere near being done.  So, I decided to abort that and just rebuild my libraries of reference images, fan films and whatever else.

One of the things I lost that made me unhappy was my CGI ships.  I have some of my old stuff from Lightwave on Dropbox, but I lost other stuff.  I also lost my ship I was working on in Blender.  But, such is life.  Anyway, after getting Linux Mint reinstalled on my computer and starting things like re-downloading my library of games on Steam, I decided to start on a new ship.  Prior to losing all of my data, I’d been working on some non-Trek stuff, but it was going nowhere quickly.  I had ideas, but they looked better in my head than they did in 3D.  (it happens)  So, since I lost that crap anyway, I decided to do a new Trek ship.

I deiced to go with a “future” Trek ship, something from after TNG.  I’m leaning towards it was commissioned somewhere around the year 2500, or Stardate 77-something.  (2375 was the year the Dominion War ended, with Stardates in the 52000s)  It’s pretty basic so far, but the main hull took a long time to work out exactly how I wanted it to go.  In fact, that took an entire day of pushing polygons around and seeing how it looked with subdivision applied.  (the thing started as a simple 8-sided cylinder)  Anyway, it’s about where I want it and pretty soon I’m going to apply that subdivision modifier so that I can start adding details like grid lines, windows, etc.  Though, I don’t figure it’s going to have a lot of windows.  I have already started detailing the nacelles.

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This is a small ship, it’s only about 84 meters long.  (I’ll give more solid numbers once I get the sub-d applied to the main hull)  It has 5 decks and I figure a crew of only 20-30 people.  Obviously, a ship this small wouldn’t make a good explorer or any other type of ship that goes on long term missions.  But, that’s not a problem because this isn’t that kind of ship.  It’s a support ship for a Starbase.  (think about the role of the Defiant on DS9)  Basically, it’s a ship they use when they need to send a ship out to do something like a planetary survey, or go scan an anomaly, or something along those lines.  So, go out, do its mission, then RTB.  Nothing long term.  When it’s not on a mission, it probably flies defensive patrols in the general AO of the Starbase.  I figure a ship of that type doesn’t need to be huge anyway and a Starbase would likely have other ships nearby it could call in for bigger missions.

So, that’s what I have so far.  More to follow.  🙂

Blendering, Pt. 03

Muwahahahahahaha*-cough-hack-wheeze!

Nacelle_build001

It’s obvious what this is. I just have to do the grills, the bussard collectors and that little light on top and it will be done. I put a little shiny material on it to make sure there weren’t any hidden errors.

I’m really liking Blender. The work flow is so smooth and effortless. Plus, I can build most of this stuff very similarly to how I did it in Lightwave. Sure, some things are better in LW, but some are actually better in Blender. My favorite thing right now: edge loop select. Freaking genius! Select a couple points in a line, hit that and it selects the rest. I had to go around and lasso select them all in Lightwave. Unless the space was too tight for the lasso select to work, then I had to do it manually. Ugh.

Blendering Pt. 02

It’s going to be a mixed bag of things while I work at figuring out in this software.

I do have one mesh that I built in Lightwave that is ready for import into Blender, because I built it specifically to be exported and imported. It’s the Vulcan shuttle I built for Tobias Richter that (as anybody who follows Star Trek: Axanar knows) he used in the video for the latest Axanar Indiegogo campaign. Since I built it for export and import into Maya, I already had the ngons triangulated and everything was already UV unwrapped to make it easy for Tobias to pop the .fbx export into Maya, reattach the textures, fiddle with the materials and get cracking. Similarly, I imported the .lwo object into Blender, separated the ring from the main hull so that I could use the ring UV map, applied the edge split modifier so that it doesn’t look like garbage, and set to reapplying the textures and setting up the materials.

There ended the easy part. The last time I messed around with textures in Blender was 7 months ago, so I had my work cut out for me remembering how to do it. I more or less remembered the shaders I wanted, but remembering how to set up the nodes as another story. Fortunately, there are other people wondering how to do this stuff, so I just had to do a simple web search. I found a few node setups and those got me on the right track, it was just a matter of tweaking stuff to get it where I wanted it. Anyway, this is where it stands right now:

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Vulcan Shuttle Orbit

Here’s a little shuttle porn for the Trekkies in the audience.  Unfortunately, I found that the shuttle has its good and bad angles.  More bad than good, at least as far as doing dynamic angles with planets and whatnot.  And, alas, I still suck at making planets in 3D.  After working an hour or so on a planet in Lightwave, I finally threw my hands up in disgust and just used one of my GIMP planets.  I altered the color and a few other things to try and make it look like Vulcan.  (Vulcan has an inconsistent look between the series, which helps)  I probably overdid the city lights, since I don’t think Vulcan is that densely populated, but oh well.  😉

VulcanShuttle_VulcanOrbit01

For the second one, I put the shuttle in against a NASA photo of Earth. I figure ships like this would ferry Vulcans to and from the planet. Really, with the size of the shuttle (35 meters) and assuming the ring is a warp nacelle, this type of shuttle may even make routine trips between Earth and Vulcan.

VulcanShuttle_EarthOrbit01

Pilot Speak

So, I was waiting for system updates on one of my computers a little while ago and I was playing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on the Nintendo 64. Anyway, during the first mission, Luke says “Maintain visual scanning.” I’ve always found that a kind of funny line. Red Leader also said that in the first film and Luke immediately started looking around. So, is “maintain visual scanning” just pilot speak for “use your frakking eyes” or what? That’s what it seems like to me.

😛

Downloads…

There are few things in life that piss me off more than asshats who comment on my work simply to ask me if/where they can download my models. No “Hey, that’s nice,” or even “I’m not really a fan of it,” just “Where can I get it?” Most of the time, you can’t. I used to offer downloads on various sites but I stopped mainly because people weren’t using them for anything. Even when people requested them, I’d never see them used for anything. So, I stopped wasting my time. Also, there are other factors that I won’t go into right now, but I just don’t put stuff up for public download anymore.

I don’t know where people on the Internet get this sense of entitlement where, just because somebody else spent their time making something and posted pictures of it on the Internet, they think it’s theirs too. Well, it’s not. DO NOT comment on my blog entries just to ask where you can download my models. I’ll simply not publish or delete the comment. I do share models with friends who ask for them, but said friends know how they can get a hold of me to ask and they know how to do so with respect.

Starfleet Scout, Pt. 01

This is something I’ve been messing around with for a few days. Though, much of that was spent trying to decided what I wanted to do for the engineering section. What I had before was horrendous, so we won’t even go there.

Anyway, this is a small Starfleet Scout from around the TOS era. I’m thinking it’s from right around the time that the Enterprise was built, maybe a bit before. I want it to be in that time frame because the tech is obviously inspired by the Enterprise. Though, I didn’t do exactly the same bits as the Enterprise, I did my own stuff inspired by the Enterprise. Even though I often go and do my own thing, I’m resisting those urges and keeping this completely TOS looking in the details. That means no modeled grid lines, RCS thrusters, etc. (even thought the thrusters are really necessary for space travel.) But, I may do some simple phasers and torpedo launchers.

Once I got the basic vessel laid out, I set about detailing the nacelles. They’re all done now, I just have to work on the saucer and engineering section. I was going to model the pendants and whatnot, but I decided to just texture those. I already have some made up in Inkscape, I just have to modify them slightly to fit the nacelles. Anyway, this is where it is right now.

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