I decided to do another render with the Starbase 15 scene, but with different ship and camera positions and different lighting.
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.
I made some new textures for my TOS Enterprise model. When I first built the ship, I didn’t want to do any paneling or weathering on the textures. Well, I’ve changed my stance on that and I’ve done both paneling and weathering. The paneling is subtle, it’s only in the specular channel and I used small variations in shades of gray to make it subtle. The weathering, on the other hand, is more prominent. It’s in both the color and specular maps. I didn’t bother trying to recreate the weathering on the 11-foot model, instead I just did my own thing. I also tweaked my bussard collectors further and finally got them looking how I want them to look. After that was done, I decided to render some images.
I originally planned to do more than two images, but I wound up spending some time converting some of my older models to Lightwave 2018. This basically entails changing from the old style materials to Principled BSDF materials. Principled BSDF works much better with the rendering engine in Lightwave 2018. Unfortunately, when I change the materials, I have to reapply my textures. And, for materials where I didn’t UV unwrap the objects, I have to redo the mapping as well. So, it takes some time, to say the least. But, it was worthwhile as I was able to use my Starbase and Reliant-style ship for the second image.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.