Just a quick update, plus I wanted to do some full renders to look at some of the materials, particularly the bussard collector domes. I finished up the main part of the nacelle end caps. People who know the ship will note that I broke from canon here. Don’t worry, there will be other canon breaks because I’m not building the canon ship. I’m also obviously not completely changing the design. I also added some more details to the nacelles, including pendants, which I also did on the secondary hull. It’s necessary to get all these details in there so that I can plot out where the grid lines will go. (yes, you read that correctly) And, I played around with some colors. I don’t remember which kit it was, but I remember one of the Enterprise model kits wanting you to paint the ship gull gray, so that’s what I went with. This will be the base color for the hull of the ship. I did a darker shade for some of the stuff, American Flag red for the pendants and amber for the little boomerang things. The bussard collectors are a color called outrageous orange. And, of course, aluminum for the gill looking things on the nacelles and copper for the deflector housing inside.
I know the subject of Star Trek fan films has been a sore one lately. I find that a lot of people don’t seem to understand what happened, and think CBS is to blame for what went down with Star Trek: Axanar. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Alec Peters, the dude who was running Axanar, was breaking every rule of Star Trek fan films. He was intentionally trying to make money off of Axanar, which was a no-go with fan films from day one. He was giving unlicensed merchandise for donations, essentially selling stuff to make money to do his film. That’s another no-go. He did some other things, including ignore several cease and desist letters from CBS, forcing CBS to sue him. His defense was that there weren’t clear rules for fan films, as CBS mainly ignored fan films so long as they stayed within a few small guidelines, such as not making money and so on. So, in response to his stupidity, CBS wrote a list of official guidelines for fan films. Thus, Alec Peters is to blame for the state of things, not CBS. Though, people still blame CBS.
Anyway, on a random search for “Star Trek” during my bus ride home from work yesterday, I stumbled upon Avalon Universe. Link
This is a group based in Georgia that’s making Star Trek fan films within CBS’s guidelines. Theyr’e not the best scripted, they don’t have the best acting, their uniforms are mostly JJ Trek style, because one of CBS’s guidelines is that, if you buy uniforms, you have to buy officially licensed ones. So, it looks like they bought theirs from the official Star Trek store. Their special effects are quite nice. But, what matters most is that they get the essence of Star Trek. This crew exemplifies what fan films are all about: fans making films. It’s not about making money, it’s not about one upping CBS else by making professional quality content that’s more popular than theirs, it’s about making Star Trek for fans by fans. That’s they way it should be.
Anyway, here’s their first episode. It’s a two parter, to keep within CBS’s guidelines for length:
They released another episode last week, and you can view it by clicking on their YouTube link above. As I said, it’s got its share of issues, but it’s got the heart of Star Trek, and that’s what it’s all about.
I didn’t get as much done over the weekend as I would have liked, but I had other things occupying my time. I think I have most of the materials where I want them. All that’s left is to do some fresh greebles and the name and registry. The nacelles still have the old registry.
More playing around with specular settings.
If you know what the specular setting does, you may just want to skip this part and go to the renders. For those who don’t know, the specular setting makes an object shiny. It works hand in hand with the glossiness setting to determine the overall look of a shiny surface. Glossiness makes the shine “localized.” A high glossiness setting makes a small super shiny patch, while a lower setting spreads the shine out. For metal that’s not painted with glossy paint (no car paint) and isn’t buffed to a mirror shine, I want a higher specular setting and a lower glossiness setting.
The specular map is what determines what is shinier. Basically, it’s a grayscale image with patterns on it. The shades of gray determine shine, with white being totally shiny and black being not shiny at all. It also creates the individual hull panels, along with a diffusion map to control light absorption. The look we should all be chasing is the paneling from TMP:
Basically, they used paints and with different shine levels to create the individual panels. The way it works is, in direct light, (light hitting the object from the same side as the camera) the panels are barely visible. However, in indirect light, (light hitting from the opposite side as the camera) the panels are visible. In the image above, the registry light is hitting the hull at an indirect angle, causing the panels to be visible. This is achieved in CGI with specular mapping.
In the images below, the ship is rendered at the same angle with 3 different light angles. The first is direct lighting, the other two are indirect lighting with the light in different positions on the other side of the model. This gives an idea of how it would look if I rendered a flyby where the ship flies between the camera and light. I’m happy with how these look:
Well, it’s a work in progress. Taking the stenciled lettering off of the hull is the chore I expected it to be. It’s a lot of merging faces and deleting points. I got all of the registries off of the main hull (saucer.) I still have to take the ones off of the nacelles, but I didn’t want to do it right now.
Instead, I set about getting rid of the greeble trenches. My idea for the other model was to not do those, so I got rid of them on this model. There was a lot of destroying faces and building new ones. It was a chore, but worth it when all said and done. I really like how that looks VS having the trenches. Since this is supposed to be a predecessor to the Miranda class, and not a Miranda, I figure some differences are warranted. I have new greebles planned to go there, so it won’t be the plain dark gray areas you see now.
And, lastly, I dorked around with materials. The last version of Lightwave I used was Lightwave 10.1 or 10.2, something like that. Either way, it was an old version, from 2010. So much has changed since then, that I’m having to figure out all new settings in Lightwave 2018. But, that’s part of the fun. At least I’m doing this with a model that already has textures.
Anyway, this is where it sits:
So, I promised a return to CGI, and here it is.
A few years ago, I was part of a doomed fan film. It was called Star Trek: Equinox. This was around the time of the whole Axanar thing, where they bit the hand and crowd funded over $1,000,000 and hired a bunch of professional talent to work on the film, forcing CBS to create a bunch of new rules for fan films. Anyway, this other film was being worked on a the same time as Axanar, but it was being done considerably less professionally. I was the model maker, and there was a bunch of bickering and bullshit behind the scenes. Also, because the guy running the show kept pissing off effects artists, (among other people) I had to do a lot of the animation and rendering for the trailers too, despite just originally wanting to make models for it. (and, let me say, people on Facebook can be real motherf***ers when your stuff isn’t as good as professional artists) Anyway, I wasn’t very happy with the project, which wound up imploding due to a lot of the BTS stuff, as well as the guy running the project and his tendency towards pissing people off.
Anywho, this is the model I built to be the main ship of the show:
I’m running out of steam on the other ship I’m working on, so I decided to start another. This one is a class predecessor to the Miranda-class. It’s a bit smaller than the Reliant from The Wrath of Khan, which makes sense as it’s from the era of the Constitution class, or possibly even a bit before that. I imagine it’s a class that was introduced in the 2220s or 2230s, and possibly saw service into the 2270s and maybe 2280s, as it would have been phased out and replaced by the Miranda-class. Not much else to say. As you can see, it’s just in the early phases. This type of hull isn’t difficult to do, but it does take time to get it all in one piece with rounded edges and whatnot, as I insist on doing.
$50? Shut up and take my money!
I was at Walmart last night perusing the movies after my shift and I found this wonderful item for only $50. I had to buy it. Plus, I used my employee discount and got $5 off, so it was actually less than $50 with tax. I’m stoked, because I didn’t have this series on Blu-Ray.
Apparently, they’re the same discs previously released by CBS, which some people whined about on Amazon. However, for those of us who don’t/didn’t already have those, it’s wonderful. It’s not very expensive either. For 20 Blu-Rays, that’s only $2.50 per disc. I personally like this style of case better than the old DVD ones they did with the big cardboard and plastic things that folded out. So, it’s a win-win for me.
Unfortunately, while I was on the way home from work, (on the bus) I read that talented actor Anton Yelchin, who played Checkov in the newer movies, passed away in a freak accident at his home. That’s truly sad, as he was a good actor and I thought he did a great job of playing the role of Chekov, and I also liked him in other things I saw him in. He was only 27 years old. So, while there was some joy in my day, there was also a moment of sadness when I read this tragic news. (please, respect the man and no comments on not liking the newer ST films)
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.