24th Century Cruiser Part 07

I found a shortcut to doing booleans in Blender without leaving behind a bunch of geometry I don’t want and it’s been a real time saver for getting these windows in. I figured out, if I separate the faces where I want to do my cut, it just cuts through and leaves a hole, it doesn’t leave me with more geometry added by my cutting object. I do the same thing for my windows themselves, and I wind up with just the faces I want when I intersect that with my cutter, then I can inset, extrude and bevel my windows in how I want them. Then I just re-join all of that with the main mesh and I’m good to go. 🙂

So, since my windows started going faster, I also added some phasers and escape pods.

24th Century Cruiser Part 06

I started adding windows to the ship. I decided to start with the saucer perimeter. I opted for one row of windows here, as they did with the Enterprise-C, as I feel two rows would be too cluttered. I also broke up the edge with horizontal blue stripes, as they did with the Excelsior and Enterprise-C.

I was going to keep the window size consistent with the Ambassador class (Enterprise-C) but I found there’s nothing consistent with that class as far as size. When Andrew Probert was designing the ship, he apparently went with roughly 524m for the size of the ship, which puts it nicely between the Excelsior at 467m and the Galaxy at 642.5m. When Rick Sternbach took over the design of the Enterprise-C, he apparently put it at about 478m. (Gary Kerr came up with that number based on the model sizes, and Sternbach agrees) The biggest issue with that number is that it’s only 11m longer than the Excelsior. I guess someone else decided that and increased the scale on Sternbach’s blueprints by 15%. So, the ship comes out to 526m. The problem with that number is that this image seems to support the Enterprise-C being smaller:

That, of course, is from the episode and it seems to support the notion that the Enterprise-C was built at a scale to fit with the Enterprise-D at about the size that Sternbach originally intended. Why a “stepping stone” ship that’s between the Excelsior and the Galaxy is so small is beyond me, but that’s what it looks like, at least to my untrained eye.

So, to make a short story long, I can’t accurately determine what size the windows are supposed to be on the Ambassador without accurate figures, so I came up with my own number. They’re approximately 60cm by 1.2m. Eventually, they’ll have rooms behind them, but they obviously don’t now, that’s why they’re all dark.

24th Century Cruiser Part 04

Work continues on the cruiser. I got the main parts all in place, now it’s just a matter of adding details. The thing that starts under the bridge, follows the saucer curve and has the impulse engines in it is based on a ship that I did more than a decade ago. The structure under the bride (deck 2) is based on the Ambassador class, as is the bridge itself. I did elongate the back, though. One thing that bugs me about the Ambassador class is how its bridge is basically a detailed dome. Unlike other ships, there’s no obvious indicator of the turbolifts. I’m assuming that’s because the model was designed and built in a hurry. Still, it bugs me. I’ll be doing all of that on my ship. The planetary sensor is also based on the Ambassador class, in its original configuration. They added more details for later use of the ship.

24th Century Cruiser Part 03

Due to my work schedule and other stuff that needs done (cleaning, etc.) I’m working on this in small bursts. I’ll probably hit it harder this weekend.

The warp coils are in, or at least the blue part is. I decided to just box model and subdivide those, as I did the nacelles and secondary hull. The bussards are also started. One thing that’s superior with Blender’s Cycles render engine is that I find it quite effortlessly filters light through a transparent material. The materials are all temporary, but I like how that’s working. I couldn’t find the setting to make that work correctly in Lightwave 2018. Anywho, this is where I am for now:

I’m going to move back to the saucer next, as I still have major components to add to it.

24th Century Cruiser Part 02

So, this isn’t much progress, but I went 4.5 days without electricity. That’s because I live in Dayton, Ohio and there were 15 tornadoes that ripped through this region a week ago. A rare and powerful EF4 tornado passed about a mile north of where I live. Fortunately, all I lost was electricity and there was minor damage (that’s been fixed) to the house I live in. So, very lucky there. This is a not so lucky house just down the street from where I live:

So, yeah, lucky. And, there were buildings and houses so badly damaged that they’re unlivable, because that’s the kind of damage a EF4 tornado does. The scale tops out at EF5.

I presently don’t have internet at the house. Spectrum (my ISP) was supposed to call Saturday with an estimate as to when they’d be out, but they’ve not called and it’s Monday night, so they lost a customer. AT&T will be out Friday to hook up my new internet. In the meantime, I’m using my phone. Fortunately, it’s an Android phone, so I can side load images onto it. I couldn’t do that with my last phone, which was an iPhone SE (waste of money.)

So, this may not look like much, but I got new nacelle bodies built. Much of what I’m doing on this ship is proof of concept, as I’ve never built components like these before and I’m also getting used to the quirks of different software. Still, it’s going well. This is only version 4 of the nacelles (the less said about versions 2 & 3, the better.)

Much of what I did was shape refinement. The first version had some mesh errors around the back, I eliminated those with the new shape. I also wanted them to be a much more complex shape than juat a simple half circle, so that took some refinement. The top cutout starts a little farther back and is deeper than it was on version 1. So that’s all I have for now. More to follow.

24th Century Cruiser Part 01

So, it’s that time again. I’ve started another ship. Hopefully, I’ll actually finish this one, as I have a bad habit lately of starting and not finishing things. Though, I’ve switched to Blender, so anything I was working on in Lightwave, including that Enterprise model, won’t be finished. That’s just how these things go. I’ve fought with getting Lightwave to work with Linux, but it just won’t. The license won’t install correctly. I found out on their forums that it has to do with the fact that there’s no Windows firewall. Lightwave 2018 uses a network render service by default. Even if you don’t use this feature, you can’t install the license without the firewall activated. But, such is life.

So, moving on. I had the urge to do something from the 24th century. I decided to do a cruiser, the same overall design and layout of the Constitution class, in fact it’s even about the same size as a Connie refit. Design elements are a blend of Connie-R, Excelsior and Ambassador. By 24th century standards, this would be a smaller cruiser, when stacked up against the Excelsior and Ambassador.

Most of the main elements are at least started. There’s more work to be done, of course, but the overall layout is there. There’s been a lot of pushing vertices and subdividing to get to this part. Everything is box modeled, as messing with splines is a pill.

Anyway, more to come on this (hopefully.)

Support Ship, Pt. 02

One thing I love about posting this stuff online is the feedback you can get from friends and acquaintances.  A friend over at Scifi-Meshes suggested that I move the Impulse engines from the back of the saucer to the back of the nacelle pylons.  I like this idea as it not only frees up that internal space for me to put a docking port there, but it also makes use of the ample space I have inside and in the back of the pylons.  This was a good time to make this change, as I hadn’t locked in that Sub-D on the main section and started adding details.

So, I removed the impulse engine structure from the back of the saucer and rebuilt the faces.  All in all, about 5 minutes of work.  Then I set about adding a new cut out to the back of the pylons.  I made it wide and tall to accommodate larger engines, though the engines probably won’t fill up the entire cut out.  I’ll probably add in some sensor greebles between the impulse engines and the larger center cut out.  Note:  The large sensor cut out isn’t indicative of the size of the shuttlebay.  I’m going to do a smaller bay opening than the size of the cut out, like what Voyager has.  I’ll probably put an airlock on at least one side of the bay, like Voyager has.  The bay itself isn’t going to be large, probably big enough for one shuttlepod.

SupportShip_Build005 SupportShip_Build006 SupportShip_Build007 SupportShip_Build008

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 06

Well, I haven’t worked on this for a few days because I’ve been busy playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, which got a massive update on Steam, including the ability to play on Linux. So, I’ve been happy. Even though I own the old CD version for Windows, I could never get that working in WINE. If I remember correctly, I could never get past “insert disc 2.” It wouldn’t register the disc and let me continue installation. But, that’s all moot now, because all I had to do was buy it on Steam and download it. 😀

Anyway, back to the ship. I forced myself to add the remainder of the windows. It’s tedious, but I got them all on there. Note: there are less “rows” of Windows than on the Enterprise because mine actually line up with a deck plan, they’re not just put on there wherever I felt like. I couldn’t really find a lot of good places to put many windows on the bottom, so I just did one row.

TOS_Miranda_Build019

TOS_Miranda_Build020

TOS_Miranda_Build021

TOS_Miranda_Build022

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 05

It’s just one of those days. I have nothing really new to show, but I actually did a lot of work on this thing today.

One thing I absolutely despise and will not tolerate to the point of going to great lengths to get rid of them are smoothing errors. They’re ugly. I had a few around my aft section window cuts last night, but not too bad. Minor things, but I knew they were there. So, I bisected in some geometry to fix it. The geometry itself is ugly, but who cares? It’s not like the wireframe matters, it’s what the thing looks like rendered that matters. So, this morning I was doing some renders with different lighting hitting that part to make sure there were no more lingering errors. While I was happy to see none there, there was a major issue around the back of the model, where the back of the trenches and the shuttlebay openings are.

I turns out the booleans tool in Blender has a major issue. Well, all booleans tools do, but this is a particular quirk of Blender, it also happens on the Knife Project tool. It turns out, when you cut into a plane, the booleans (or knife project) doesn’t create flat, even geometry. It cuts the new geometry a fraction off of the level of the existing geometry, leading to smoothing errors when rendering. When you’re dealing with a face that’s lined up with one of the 3 axes used in the 3D space, that’s not an issue. You simply go around and manually realign the points to be level. That worked great for the top of the back of the saucer. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with angled planes, like the ones found on the back edge of the saucer, things get trickier.

I fought with the existing geometry for a good couple hours or more. I tried the Edge Split modifier and all kinds of things, nothing got rid of the errors. So, I finally realized that the offensive geometry had to go and that I needed to start over. Fortunately, I’m anal about saving stuff to new files when I do things like cuts, so I just had to open a second Blender window, open the uncut file and copy and past the sections I needed over to replace the messed up geometry. That’s where it got even more fun.

I tried re-cutting the geometry using the Knife Project tool, that’s where I found out it does the same thing booleans does. So, I wound up through a series of bisects, insets, extrusions, and whatnot, getting the elements I wanted back in there, without using either the booleans or knife project. It was a giant pain in the butt, but worth it in the end because there are no freaking smoothing errors. It’s all clean and it looks beautiful rendered.

TOS_Miranda_Build015

TOS_Miranda_Build016

TOS_Miranda_Build017

TOS_Miranda_Build018

So, after a long day of frustration, this is all I have for tonight. While they may look like last night’s renders, there are differences you don’t see. And, now that I’m done with that and I’m mentally drained, it’s time for some XBOX 360. I’m going to go take out a day’s worth of frustration on some thugs in Gotham City. 😉