Unused Rubbish

Since the project is officially dead, I see no point in not posting this now.  (a few people are trying to save it, but with no money)  Anyway, this is a series of effects shots I did for the Star Trek Equinox teaser, before they hired Gabe Koerner to do them.  Though, in order to save time, Gabe used my breakup of the Klingon ship in his version, so I technically still helped with the final effects shots (besides building the ships.)  Anyway, these were my versions.  There are four sequences, as called for in the script:

Equinox Effects Comp 01 from evil_genius_180 on Vimeo.

Anyway, this is all stuff I taught myself to do specifically for that project.

New Year, and Whanot

Well, 2015 was a really good year for me.  A lot of good and exciting things happened for me, not the least of which is getting a full time job.  I don’t like to post my issues all over the Internet like some pathetic saps do, (it solves nothing) but I was unemployed for quite some time.  I believe this is due at least partially (a big part) to faulty Online background checks.  Apparently, some background check agencies (I was told in 2014, after not getting a job because of this) only check name and date of birth.  Well, when you have a common name like I do, there are going to be lots of us, some of whom are criminals.  The issue I had in this particular case stemmed from somebody with the same first and last name as me and the same date of birth, who had committed a crime.  So, needless to say, finding work was a pill.  Anyway, that all changed back in October, when I got hired at a local Walmart.  I know, some people are thinking “Walmart?” but, when you’re out of work for a long time, you’ll take anything.  Besides, it’s not bad work, I unload trucks and do some stocking.  It’s full time and I get paid more than the minimum wage in Ohio, which is more than you get at other similar stores.  I’ve been told in interviews that many of them do start out at minimum wage, and most like to keep you under 30 hours a week to keep from having to give you benefits.  Not Walmart, I’m making almost a dollar over minimum wage, and will be making more next month when Walmart’s minimum goes up.  Plus, I get 40 hours a week.  The Holidays were a lot of “fun,” but I was just happy to be working.  My bank account has been a lot happier too.

Speaking of the old bank account, having a full time job brings some things into perspective, such as where I want to go moving forward with my CGI.  As many may recall, I switched from Lightwave to Blender earlier this year, mainly due to the fact that Blender is free.  However, I still don’t like Blender as well as Lightwave.  Many of the tools are still less precise, an issue I noticed back in 2010.  While I do like Blender’s Cycles render engine, that too has some issues, not the least of which is a general lack of decent UV mapping tools.  So, since I got the job and can afford to buy stuff again, I’ve moved back to Lightwave.  I like most things about the software better, plus I know how to animate and do some special effects in Lightwave, I know how to do neither in Blender.  I’m planning on upgrading to Lightwave 2015 soon, but I had to buy some other stuff first, like the ever present groceries and also some work clothes and, of course, a Playstation 4.  (I’ve gotta have my games)  One good thing about the timing of when I got my job is that I was able to preorder Limited Edition Star Was PS4.  It’s pretty badass.

Anyway, starting in 2016, I want to focus more on animation and special effects.  Thanks to being part of the now defunct fan film Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time and being the only person on there who could do CGI for most of two years, I had to teach myself how to do a lot of stuff.  Well, I want to further my skills by learning more stuff.  My overall goal this year, Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, is to put together a short that’s a few minutes long.  Since I don’t know a damn thing about characters, (yet) it will be all done with space ships and whatnot.  The action will tell the story.

Unfortunately, due to my loss of data some months back, (detailed here: https://evilgenius180.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/support-ship-pt-01/) I no longer have many of my old Star Trek meshes.  But, one thing I know how to do is build models, so I’m working on some new ones.  I started a new Constitution class mesh Christmas day, this is where it stands right now:



Apart from that, some of the models I did for Star Trek Equinox survived, thanks to being backed up to Dropbox.  I have a Starbase and a few ships, including the Klingon D7 I built a couple years ago.  So, since I have that beastie, I’m envisioning a fight between the Federation and Klingons for my animated short.  And, of course, I still have the hero ship I built for Equinox:

Tethys_Beauty01 Tethys_Beauty02 Tethys_Beauty03

I’ve renamed the ship the USS Tethys, after one of Saturn’s moons, which in turn is named after one of the Greek Titans, a sea goddess.  Ironically, I chose the registry NCC-1846 because it’s a reorganization of the Reliant’s registry number, only to find out that the moon Tethys was discovered in 1684, so it has a double meaning.  ;)  Aside from changing the name, I made a few other changes.  Since this ship was supposed to be from between TOS and TMP, I added a second bridge turbolift and some running lights.  Anyway, this model will factor greatly into my animated short.

So, more to come on all of this as I get it done.  Right now, my focus is building the Constitution class, as I definitely need one of those for the short.

By the way, just in case anybody from WordPress is reading this: Whoever decided to turn your Posting thing into the unintuitive piece of crap that it is now, my middle finger is officially extended just for you. You’ve taken away almost all of the options for posting images. I had to actually sit here and type HTML code just to make my images clickable, something that used to be automatic. So, thanks for nothing.

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. :D

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 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.





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. ;)

TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 04

Work, work, work.

OK, lots of things here and there. I added some cuts to the back of the saucer for the shuttlebays. I also added trenches to the top for the greebles that will more or less replicate (at lower detail of course) the nurnies that ILM put on the movie version. I also added a cut for the deflector-like details on movie version, but I don’t know yet what I’m doing there. I also put in the three groves that are in the underside of the Enterprise’s saucer. And, I added windows. A whole bunch of windows. I’d have done more, but I also spent a lot of time cleaning up the mess that the booleans made. And, I fiddled with the bussard collectors some more.





TOS Miranda Class, Pt. 01

So, this is what I’ve been working towards. I wanted to do the nacelle first because I wanted that to match the original Enterprise’s nacelle. The rest, of course, has to all be custom built from either fan plans of similar configurations and from my head. Of course, people have done these over the years, with different options for hull shape, pod/no pod, where the deflector goes, etc. I did one several years ago in Truespace and then nearly two years ago in Lightwave, I rebuilt the same ship for Star Trek: Equinox. Though, that was a smaller ship and one that I never personally called “Miranda class.” This one is more appropriately sized. Like the Miranda class in Star Trek II and onward, the saucer has the same diameter as the Enterprise’s saucer, though this one is (of course) based on the TOS Enterprise, as opposed to the movie one. So, the saucer has a diameter of 127.1 meters. However, I did “beef up” the edge a bit, to more realistically fit 2 decks there. I also made the teardrop taller, for the same purpose, and the bridge is probably taller to, as I don’t believe the series version bridge structure was large enough to house the bridge. So, this is where it stands right now:





The saucer was time consuming (it took up much of yesterday) but not particularly difficult to do. I did it pretty much the same way I did in Lightwave, which involved a lot of box modeling, a custom curve or two, and a buttload of edge rounding. The ship is going to have a roll bar, just as the movie one does. I plan to put the navigational deflector and possibly the torpedo launchers in the pod. I’m also going to do the big phasers on the roll bar, just as they are in the movie version.

Blendering, Pt. 05

The bussards are about where I want them now. Or at least, I’m done fiddling with them for now. I redid the lights and played around with the dome settings. The dome itself has no glow, all of the light comes from the inner bulbs, just as it should be.


Here’s a look at it without the dome in place and with the emission shader turned way down so that the lights don’t blow everything out.


Yes,there are only two colors of lights here. Also, my dome is tinted orange. It doesn’t look like the bussards on the Enterprise from the original TV show and it’s not supposed to, because I’m not building the original Enterprise. I’m building something else. And, since this is done, (or at least as done as it will be for now) I can get on with the rest of the ship.