TOS Star Trek Part 10

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.

Enterprise Redesign 2020 Pt. 07

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.

Enterprise Redesign 2020 Pt. 05

This is sort of a mini update. I got some feedback on the text over at Scifi-Meshes, so I tried out a suggestion and put the NCC-1701 text on the lower part of the saucer:

I wasn’t fond of how that looked, so I took that suggestion and some of the others and blended them together to make some changes and come up with something I like better:

Firstly, all of the text is smaller. The NCC-1701 text is slightly smaller, the USS Enterprise text is significantly smaller. I also changed the font from Airborne II to Airborne Pilot, because I wanted to. 😉 I moved the text closer to the edge of the ridge and moved my phasers from 33.3 degrees to 45 degrees, then re-spaced the text to easily fit between the phasers. I also moved the Enterprise text towards the edge and put it inside the arc of the NCC-1701 text. The other change I made had nothing to do with the text, but I moved the access panels more towards the center of the lower area of the saucer, because I like how that looks. It also helps make that area look less “empty.”

This is all I plan to do for now, as I have a headache and just want to play a game or something until it goes away. I would be installing a new drive for storing games into my PC, but Amazon decided they didn’t want to deliver it today. The whole reason I ordered the drive I did was because it was supposed to be delivered today, and I don’t work Saturday nights. So, to not get it today as planned is irritating, to say the least.

Enterprise Redesign 2020 Pt. 04

I’ve decided to do this model differently than I do a lot of my models. Usually, I do all of the grid lines first and then windows, because those are both tedious. However, I decided this time to just complete an area and then move on. So, I’m doing the saucer top first. I started with some RCS thrusters, phasers and access panels. I also added the upper registry and a couple other things. I’m trying to keep the details balanced between stuff I like from different sources, including the original Enterprise, the TMP refit and the Kelvin Timeline ships. I also plan to do some stuff that will (hopefully) be unique to me.

For the phasers, I decided to make them turrets, rather than just nubs with holes in them. I think this looks more realistic and less refined than the later era phasers. I could have cut the access panels into the hull, but there would have been little benefit as you won’t be able to tell in most renders. And, of course, the text won’t be visible most of the time either. **shrugs**

For the RCS thrusters, I went with a vent look.

Enterprise Redesign 2020 Pt. 03

Another quick update. I started on the shield grid lines. As always, these aren’t difficult to do, just long and tedious.

I also have a start on the impulse engines. I added some vents to the top of the saucer, to the port and starboard of the impulse reactors. I figure those would be good should it be necessary to purge the deuterium tanks. Of course, if that happened, the ship would be stuck with only warp drive and thrusters, but one would assume it would be an emergency measure and not something you’d do under normal circumstances, much like a warp core ejection.

Enterprise Redesign 2020 Pt. 02

Just a quick update before I go to work. I’ve redone the whole bridge area. I wasn’t happy with the look I had previously, so I redid the bridge to one inspired by the Phase II model that was being built 42 years ago. I also redid the B deck structure beneath and added a swoopy spoony thing (technical term) that goes back to the impulse area.



Enterprise Redesign 2020

So, it’s that time again, time to play around with the TOS Enterprise design. But, rather than just model the ship, (I have one of those) I’m doing a redesign. I’ve done this sort of thing before, but it’s been years and I don’t have those models anymore. Initially, this was going to be a ship in the Kelvin timeline, but as I was working on it, it became more my style than anything else. But, there are some Kelvin inspired bits, such as the saucer section. And, there will be more familiar bits that pop in as I go, since I’m drawing inspiration from a number of sources.

Anyway, everything is pretty preliminary so far, and is subject to change. The main bulk of the saucer, secondary hull and nacelles probably won’t get redone. And, I’ve done the warp pylons twice and am pretty happy with them, so they’re not likely to change. Everything else may get redone, though.

TOS Star Trek Part 09

I got my saucer markings all done. The name and registry are where they should be. I still need to add those gray and yellow panels that are where the underside windows are, but that won’t take long. I also further tweaked my bussard collectors and added a material to my interior boxes. Like I did with Lightwave, this is achieved by mixing procedural textures. I find mixing really simple in Blender. I have 4 different procedural textures mixed, each one is plugged into a color mixing node. Each node has 2 color slots, so I have 2 color mixing nodes plugged into a third, then that’s plugged into the color channel of my material. Overall, I like the effect. I went with different colors to simulate that thing in TOS where different rooms were different colors (usually achieved with lighting.)

TOS Star Trek Part 08

So, I had a slight meltdown the other day. I bought and installed a brand new 2TB SSHD last week and decided I was going to go to one operating system, that being Windows 10. So, I got the drive installed and got Windows installed and everything was going well. Well enough, that is. I couldn’t help but notice that Windows 10 is sometimes sluggish and just plain slow at times. I have a plenty powerful enough computer and I installed the OS myself, so there was no bloatware on there. No bloatware, that is, except for Windows itself. I determined the issue was Windows 10, so I fragged it. As luck would have it, Ubuntu and its derivatives released a new version on Friday, so I downloaded and installed Xubuntu 20.04 where Windows 10 had been. Needless to say, that runs smooth and fast. The only issue with Linux is, no Lightwave. I checked because I recently got an e-mail about Lightwave 2020 being out, but it still doesn’t have Linux support (nor was I expecting it to.) So, it’s back to Blender.

So, I downloaded Blender 2.82a and started checking it out. Of course, the last version I used was 2.79b, so there are a lot of changes. I decided something I definitely wanted to do was import the Enterprise I made last year. It’s better than building a new one. I used one of my laptops, which has Windows 10 Professional on it, to export the mesh to .fbx format, which Blender 2.82a happily imported. I had to do this twice, because the way I modeled some of my window cuts didn’t import well into Blender, and it was easier to fix them in Lightwave. Anyway, this was the result:

Not bad at all, I can certainly work with it. Of course, the materials were a mess. Now, this wasn’t the first attempt at doing this, I spent way too long dorking around with Blender’s UV mapping, which I’ve never liked. After that, I decided to just re-import the unmodified .fbx file and start over. That render was the result. After messing around with the materials for a while, this is where I am with it:

It’s coming along. At least it’s not all flat paint. 😉 The bussard collectors are getting there, but they’re not quite there yet. Now, there are a lot of things to like about Blender 2.82a. For one thing, the collections are really nice. You can just add stuff to a collection. For example, I have a collection called “Enterprise,” with sub collections for the saucer, sngine section and nacelles. I can make anything from any collection invisible, or just make the whole collection invisible. I like that a lot better than messing with layers, which both Lightwave and earlier versions of Blender use. I also find a lot of the material tools to be really intuitive, perhaps more so than Lightwave. So, I’m liking it so far.

Still to do on the ship: markings and texturing. I don’t think I’ll texture the markings, as I did before. I think I’ll just model them. Honestly, it’s not much more work than the textures, and one of the main issues I was having was getting my markings to line up where I wanted them. The saucer was pretty easy, but the engineering section gave me fits. So, I’ll just model those and shrink wrap them to the hull. After I get this ship done, I have a few more on one of my older hard drives to grab.