OK, now that I have the warp domes sorted, I’ve turned my attention to the impulse engines. I’m having a weird issue with them. Looking at this image:
If you look above the impulse engines, you can see some light bleed. There’s a red-orange “strip” of light there. It’s driving me crazy. I’ve tried changing Radiosity settings, I’ve tried adding geometry to block the light. Nothing seems to be working.
However, looking at this shot:
There’s no light bleed. I don’t know what’s causing it to happen on the wider shot, but not in the closeup. Perhaps it’s just some odd limitation of the global illumination in Lightwave 10. I am aware of some issues it can have, but mostly in animation. But, it’s nothing that can’t be sorted. I may just redo the impulse engine guts to a completely different design. What I have in mind should fix the bleed issue, as it won’t go as deep into the structure. (though, where it is now shouldn’t be an issue)
Things came to a head with me and Lightwave 2018. The render engine they rolled out for that version is just a piece of crap. Not only are the renders full of noise, but trying to use reflections causes little white spots all over that we in the 3D world call fireflies. Also, lighting effects don’t look like I want them to. I’ve looked at their forums and been chatting with a fellow Lightwave user at Scifi-Meshes, and these issues haven’t been fixed for Lightwave 2019, so there’s no point in upgrading, especially since the upgrade costs $500. Thus, I’ve moved back to Lightwave 10. It may be older, but it at least works how I want it to. Plus, the renders are nice and crisp, and any noise would be added by me in post processing, should I choose to do so.
After digging out my old dongle, (fortunately, I found it recently while looking for something else) and installing the software, I set about switching the model to LW10. Unfortunately, LW10 won’t open a file from LW2018, so I converted the model to .fbx and then imported that into LW10. The model imported well. The scale was off, but that was an easy fix. Also, all of my parts were the correct colors, but the material settings were wrong, also an easy fix.
After all that, I set about fixing my bussard collectors so that they finally look how I want them to look. I’m pretty happy with the results:
I may redo the lights inside, but the point was to get the materials where I want them. I normally don’t worry about materials at this stage, but this is a crucial element to any TOS era Starfleet ship.
These renders are ones I did for my own use, but there’s no reason not to share them. I finally got the bussard collectors where I want them. That means I’ll be moving on to other stuff. I’ll definitely be working on this this weekend, but I have some other stuff planned too. One thing I have planned is to put Windows on my main computer. This laptop works OK, but it’s somewhat limited due to the age and power of the processor. I’ve had the whole thing lock up on me more than once using Modeler, resulting in me having to do a hard reboot and lose work. Plus, it’s not the speediest thing for rendering. But, it’s still not a bad computer.
I’m playing with ideas for the bussard collectors. It took trying out a few different things to get to this point.
The light spill on the hull is there, but not as high as I’d like it to be, but I think I know the setting to change on my glass material. I’m using a Dielectric shader for the glass, as it’s supposed to more accurately simulate glass than Principled BSDF does.
I bought another computer. This one is a refurbished Dell laptop. It’s been totally refurbished, cleaned up and it looks like they maybe upgraded things like the hard drive, RAM and WIFI adapter. They also put a brand new copy of Windows 10 Pro on it. That means I can once again run Windows only software, such as Lightwave. So, I’m determined to finish this ship.
Unfortunately, while I had the project files and blueprints backed up, I didn’t have the files to align the blueprints with the background. So, I had to line them back up. They’re not perfect, but they’re close enough. If I was after the perfect version of the TOS Enterprise, it may be more of a concern. But, that ship sailed when I started adding stuff to the model that wasn’t on the original. So, close enough will do. Anyway, I added the deflector and planetary sensor, before I got into dorking around with materials.
This is after playing around with materials:
Lightwave 2018 uses newer materials than Lightwave 10, the last version I had before purchasing the upgrade last year. It uses Principled BSDF materials, which is also what Blender uses with its Cycles render engine. I had been cheating in Lightwave and using the old style “Standard” materials, which were only left in there so that you didn’t have to redo the materials on older models that you imported. (unlike Blender) But, I decided to switch over to the Principled BSDF instead. Really, it has so many improvements over the older style materials that I can see why it’s the standard now.
Anywho, it’s nice using Lightwave again. I don’t know what this means as far as my work in Blender. Buying this computer was a spur of the moment decision because the other laptop I have is terrible and I know people in the Linux community who swear by these Latitude E series laptops. But, it’s also not the speediest thing for rendering. It gets the job done, though. I also may purchase Windows 10 for my desktop computer, but the jury is out on that one. There are still things I like better about Lightwave than Blender, and that will never change. And, it’s not like I can’t either import that ship I’m working on or just rebuild it. (rebuilding it will probably be easier)
This is a more substantial update than the last one. I got the rest of the saucer section windows in. I put quite a lot of windows on the saucer bottom, to fit with other Star Trek ships. And, to fit with other ships, some of them are at a more extreme “downward” angle than I’d like them to be, but that’s how Starfleet rolls, I guess. And, to finish up the windows, I did the structure under the bridge too. I also redesigned my phasers to be more like TNG phasers. The ones I had before were too “poofy.” These are flatter. And, of course, more escape pods. There are an odd number of those on the bottom, but I’ll even it out up top as there are still more to add up there.
There are 55 escape pods in the lower saucer, added to the 36 up top and that’s a total of 91. As I said previously, the pods can hold up to 6 people for a total of 546 people. However, ordinarily the pods hold only 4 people, for a total of 364. The pods would only have to be filled to max capacity if the ship was carrying extra people. After all, the shuttles can also be used to abandon ship. I don’t figure the ship has a crew anywhere near as many as there are escape pods. That’s normal, though, as the ships do sometimes carry extra people. The Enterprise-D had enough pods for 1400 people, plus shuttles, and a crew of only a little over 1000. Even though this ship is the same size as a Constitution class, I figure it only has a crew of about 350, owing to modern automation and stations/departments that are no longer necessary in the 24th century. IE: the ships no longer have communications officers, as the tactical and ops officers usually handle communications. The helm and navigation stations were also combined into one flight control station. We have to assume other redundant departments would be combined and unnecessary ones removed. This trend is evident by the Galaxy class having a crew of only a little over 1000 when it’s much larger than a Constitution class. The Enterprise-A in Star Trek VI had a crew of 500.
Anyway, that’s what I have for now. I may move on to the secondary hull next and get those grid lines and windows knocked out.
It’s not a massive update, but I’ve kind of been picking at the lower saucer grid lines all week. It’s tedious work, so I’ve been breaking it up. I also added the registry to the bottom. That will help me with my window layout, so I don’t have to guesstimate where that will be. Tonight I’ll start working on the windows, phasers and escape pods for the lower saucer.
So, despite my claim that I was done with this for now, I can’t help but be nitpicky. My escape pod hatches were bothering me. What really bugged me was that some of them were close to the phaser arrays. However, while I was fixing those, I decided to tighten up the spacing on them all, to put them in tight groups.
Anyway, I think it looks less sloppy. Each pod holds up to six people and there are 36 pods (so far) on the top of the saucer, allowing 216 people to abandon ship using these pods. Of course, more will come on other parts of the ship, and possibly more on the saucer top.
So, one last update before I call it a day. I’ve been thinking about how to add text to the ship. Of course, textures are always an option. However, I’ve heard good things about the “Shrinkwrap” modifier. So, I modeled the name and registry and used that to make it follow the curvature of the saucer. 🙂
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.