Lightsaber Upgrade Pt. 2

Just a quick follow up to yesterday’s video.  This one details some configuration changes I made to the board, including changing sound fonts and changing my blade flicker settings.  I also increased the swing sensitivity.  I love how simple this board is to configure.

Meanwhile, adding blog posts with my phone is a pain in the ass.  But, I didn’t have time to post this before leaving the house. ::)

Lightsaber Upgrade

Some of you may remember my Aeon LE V4 stunt saber I got many months ago from Ultra Sabers:

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Now, some people complain about the look of Ultra Sabers, saying they’re too plain looking. Well, to each their own is all I can say to that. To me, this is a wonderful looking hilt that I lucked out in getting, as I ordered it as a grab bag, which is their random hilt buying option. Anyway, I’ve been wanting to upgrade this wonderful looking saber for sound, so today I did exactly that.

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Another Switcheroo

After having fun with my Dark Sentinel yesterday, switching it to green and going with the opposing silver switch with the black bezel, I decided I wanted to do another. So, I grabbed the switch that came with that saber and the other grab bag saber I got in that order, my Aeon V3. Sentinel Yellow is one of my favorite colors, ever since I first played Knights of the Old Republic. I pad $10 extra per saber for this color on my Aeon V2s, so I was for sure going to use this LED, even though I switched one of the V2s over to orange. So, I decided to put it in the V3. I really like how this looks.

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Going Green

Not a huge customization here. I got this Dark Sentinel from Ultra Sabers some months back, during the second Summer Raffle, I think. I couldn’t afford to enter the raffle, so I bought a couple grab bags, I got this hilt and an Aeon V3. The Dark Sentinel came in Fire Orange, which is a nice enough color, but not necessarily my favorite. I have a friend who really likes orange blades, so I plan to give him an orange saber, just not this hilt. A while back, I transferred the orange LED to one of my Aeon V2 hilts, which I plan to give to him eventually. At that point, I left the hilt disassembled, because I couldn’t decide what to do with it. I thought about doing some sanding, but I still haven’t decided if I want to turn this into a two tone hilt. And, if I do, I can always do it later. I have a big upgrade planned for my Aeon LE V4, in fact I want to add sound and Flash on Clash to it. To get FoC, I’ll need a Tri Cree LED anyway, so that means the green LED in that hilt is up for grabs, as is the silver latching unlit AV switch. So, I decided to switch all of that over to the Dark Sentinel, as I have two black hilts with blue, but I don’t have any with green. I also decided to give the hilt a hint of silver by transferring the AV switch, but only the switch. I used the black bezel, to make it look more like the switch is built in and not just tacked on. I really like how it came out.

Before:

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A Tale of Three Sabers

This is my eighth order from Ultra Sabers, constituting Ultra Sabers #10 and 11, with an entry in the Winter Raffle, which earned me Ultra Saber #12. Here’s a group shot of my order and winning sabers, then we’ll break down everything into a review:

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Left to right: Dominix LE V4 in Guardian Blue, Dominix LE V2 in Adegan Silver, Lost Gray in Consular Green

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New Belt

I couldn’t take the cheap belt that came with my costume, so I ordered a better one. Not only was the one that came with the costume cheaper, but it also didn’t fit me so well. This one does. It came with the belt, which is a thicker, higher quality pleather than the one that came with the costume, three plastic pouches made to look like the ones from the films and eight of the little food capsules. All of that for $60. That’s not bad, considering that the belt and pouches are almost $40 individually and the food capsules are $20. One of the food capsules has a crack in it (the one not attached to the belt) but such is life. I’ll probably just leave it off, as I like that asymmetrical look anyway. One interesting thing is that the tops unscrew from the food capsules. Also, the pouches are held closed by magnets and a couple of the magnets in the medium sized pouch came out of their slots, but some super glue should take care of that. Also, this belt got to me from Singapore quite quickly. Seven days before Halloween, and two days before the low end of the estimate. Overall, I’m very happy.

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The Covertec clip didn’t come with it, that’s one I got from Ultra Sabers.

Looking forward

Halloween is going to rock this year.  UPS delivered my costume last night.  It only took a few days to get here from Shanghai, China, which isn’t bad at all.  That extra money I paid for shipping was worth it.  The boots came from a more local place.  Anywho, I won’t wear the cloak at work, and the belt is kinda crappy, but the rest ain’t bad.  I’m on the fence about wearing these pants or some khakis, but I’ll decide that as the date gets closer and I see the weather forecast.

The outer tunic, tabards (long strips over the shoulders) and obi (long strip around waist) are all 100% linen and really nice.  The inner tunic is shirt weight cotton, good for not over heating.  The cloak and pants are polyester.  All told, not bad for $90. (Amazon)

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Sorry for the bathroom pics, I needed a full length mirror.  😉

The saber is from UltraSabers and the fact that it makes the belt sag that much speaks to the quality (and heaviness) of the saber, and the crappy quality of the belt.  I’ll order a new belt after Halloween.  Meanwhile, I’ll probably just pick up a brown leather belt at work that will work for the day.  I can use it afterward to keep may pants up.  😉

Chromed

I chromed the lightsaber hilt. Fortunately, chroming something in one 3D program isn’t all that different than doing it in another. All you have to know is what the settings do and then fool around with diffusion, specular, glossiness and reflection settings. Also, it helps to know where to put the environment map. One thing that’s easier is using a node-based texture system with everything done in one window, as opposed to what I had to do in TrueSpace, which involved using multiple windows and was a big pain in the butt at times. (but easy once I got used to it)

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So, that will pretty much do it for this object. I mostly just created it because I like lightsabers and because I wanted to start off with something simple(ish) to play around with modeling settings. Ironically, this is actually the 2nd hilt I started, I hit a creative wall on the first one, so it’s currently in limbo. 😉

Switching Tracks

OK, upon personal reflection, I think I’ve figured out why I’ve had no interest in doing 3D lately.  It’s because I’ve been trying to make Star Trek models.  Star Trek is one of my favorite Sci-Fi series but I think I’m finally bored with making Trek 3D stuff.  I have no idea how long that will last, it might even be permanent.  (you never know)  However, I am on an bit of a Star Wars kick right now.  Star Wars has been a favorite of mine long before I ever saw Star Trek, so it’s finally time to start on some Star Wars projects.  I’ve modeled very little Star Wars over the years (mostly lightsabers) and it’s time I corrected that.  I have an idea for a fighter that I’ll probably start building pretty soon.  I’m not going to give much detail but it’s from the Old Republic era, probably around 6,000 to 5,000 years BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin.)  6,900 to 5,000 years BBY is a big “gap” in the official SW chronology where nothing “canon” has happened, leaving, leaving me a lot of room to play around.  Aside from the fighter, I’ve started writing a Star Wars story set in that era.  Once upon a time, I had dreams of having a book published, I even started on a Star Wars novel several years ago (I lost it in a HD failure) but nowadays I think personal web publishing is the way to go.  So, I’ll probably start a website (I have a book on creating a website from the library that covers HTML5, so I think my chances are good) and publish the story on there.  My hope is that it will be the launching point for a whole fan fiction series set in that era of SW history.

Anywho, to get back into the 3D swing, I started by repainting a lightsaber hilt I made a couple years ago.  I considered making one from scratch but I have several that I’ve never used for anything and they’re not “canon” hilts, so I decided to use one I already had, though I hated the colors and textures I used in 2009.  Originally, it was all beat up and scratched, I chromed it.  I also darkened the hand grip textures.  This lightsaber will be carried by one of my main characters.  I won’t tell too much yet, but she’s a Chiss Padawan.  Her maser is a Zabrak Jedi Master.  He carries a double-bladed lightsaber.  I modeled one around the same time as this one but I will also be repainting that one.  Anywho, here’s the Padawan’s hilt:

I'm really happy with how the chrome came out after many tweaks. I had to render this in trueSpace 4 because trueSpace 7, for some stupid reason, can't handle environment (reflectance) maps and ray traced reflections on the same part. tS4 doesn't have this handicap.

The hand grips were originally brown but I darkened them to almost black. I used the same bump map and just darkened the color map. They're supposed to look like some kind of animal hide.

The original barfy color scheme and "floor" pattern.

 

Update 066/13/2011 11:56 am EDT:  Using the create a character in the MMORPG Champions Online, I did a kind of a concept sketch of what my Chiss Jedi character might look like.  Obviously, since this was done in a superhero MMORPG, the clothing isn’t quite right, but I think it came out pretty well.  The skin and eye color are about spot-on for the Chiss and I gave her black hair because that’s the color of hair that all of the Chiss of which I could find pictures had.  Since the Chiss are a “near-human” species and don’t have horns or oddly shaped body parts or head-to-toe hair or anything, I was able to create her.  (the Zabrak will have to wait until I feel like actually drawing him)