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Well, here is my first attempts at rendering the USS Constellation. Considering the difficulty I've had trying to get the secondary hull to work (and I'm still working at it), I can honestly say that I have a massive amount of respect for Four Mad Men's efforts in this area with the USS Kongo.


Oddly enough, on this day that I've been working on my CGI Constellation I had a blast from the past... I found images of both my Constellation and Excelsior blueprints here (they are half way down the page). Funny to look back at them knowing that they were done totally by hand (no computer) using ink on vellum techniques about 15 years ago.

The Constellation drawings started out as reference plans for modifications I was making to an AMT Enterprise kit that I had been building.

The Excelsior drawings were for a scratch built version I was working on (these plans predate the first model kits of the Excelsior). These Excelsior plans were a second generation of the drawings as my first plans (and the ones I was actually building off of) were drawn up before the release of Star Trek VI. I was too far along on my work on the Excelsior by that point to want to start over or modify it.

The original vellums of both of these were sold to pay for classes I was taking at UCSD back then. I'd have to get almost five times as much as I did back then to pay tuition for my classes at the University of Minnesota for this semester. :eek:
 

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Thanks for the encouragement guys!

So I finished up some additional elements on the Constellation and decided to see if my idea for phaser effects would work out. As a first experiment I think this actually worked out okay (though I need to work on getting the sound better).


Click to play clip

Duration: 41 sec.​

I actually wasn't sure if I should have posted this in the Columbia thread or not. Considering that the Constellation gets more screen time, this is most likely the best place.
 

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I haven't done too much more to the Constellation at this point (now that school is starting up again, my progress on this stuff will be slowed quite a bit).

I think I may have pointed this out in the Columbia thread, but I don't have the ability to bring in plans to use as references into the app I'm using for all this. Consequently I've been forced to estimate shapes, sizes and relative positions of elements with my models. I realized that by rendering orthogonal views of my Constellation I could compare them to plans I have to see how far off I am. It is a little backwards from what I've seen others do in building their ships, but it should help me with cleaning this up.

Below is the first set of reference renderings of my model of the Constellation.


I'll be comparing these images with different blueprints I have to see where I can make some improvements.

Key things to keep in mind when looking at these... all major elements have a single image map. On the secondary hull, this doesn't hurt it much as the right and left sides can be mirror images of each other, but it does keep me from adding some of the details to the underside of the hull.

The same is true with the warp nacelles... so, like the original Enterprise model, my model is designed to be seen from one side... I have one nacelle map with the number and pendant on it and one without (and a spare map with the number reversed if I need to shoot the other side). The same is true for my other ships too. The primary hull is actually two parts (a top and bottom) which is how I map it.

This image also shows the issues I was facing with the secondary hull. Back towards the hanger deck you can see where the surface is losing some smoothness. There are visible lines on the top and bottom where the surface started braking down.

This also kept me from hollowing out the hanger deck. This in turn limited some of the details I could do in that area.

Also, I haven't finished making image maps for the nacelle supports, so they are using the same "place holder" images I originally used on the tug model.

I've also been reading up on how to animate cameras as elements within this app. Below is a clip with my small fleet of Starfleet ships where I tested out some camera moves.


Click to play clip

Duration: 14 sec.

I cut a number of corners on this clip because it was mainly to see if I could even get the movements I wanted. It is also a test of using planets as distant elements within an animation (the planet and asteroid in the previous clip were actually background images in the shots with the ships). I also have to figure out how to do stars with this type of camera movements as background images move with the camera (the stars and such would always stay in the same place in the frame no matter how the camera moves).
 

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Shaw that is very accurate! I like the insignia as well, as I remember Matt Decker wearing it in the TOS show The Doomsday Machine. Good work!
 

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Most impressive! Love the little clip, there! Great effects :thumbsup:

Your detailing of the Constellation is fantastic! Your orthos can make for a great reference.
 

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Shaw said:
I also have to figure out how to do stars with this type of camera movements as background images move with the camera (the stars and such would always stay in the same place in the frame no matter how the camera moves).

I think the trick is to create a large globe of star points that extends well beyond where your main elements are. Then, as the camera moves within the globe of stars, you'll get the star movement you're looking for.

That's how I've done it, anyway, and it looks pretty realistic.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
fiercegaming said:
I like the insignia as well...
Yeah, I always loved that one. It is funny, I spent a ton of time trying to get the shape right on my hand drawn blueprints (I wore out my tape of Doomsday Machine doing it) but now I can fine nice resolution screenshots from the DVDs to work off of.

PerfesserCoffee said:
Most impressive! Love the little clip, there! Great effects :thumbsup:
Thanks! :D

Krako said:
I think the trick is to create a large globe of star points that extends well beyond where your main elements are.
I had a feeling that was going to be the solution... oh well, if I do it right the first time then I'll have it ready each time I need it. That should make it worth the effort.


One of my friends had asked about doing the USS Republic (NCC-1371), which could have been just a retexturing of the Constellation model, but that didn't really sound all that appealing. So instead I found some nice images of the original 3 foot model and tried to match the shape of the primary hull (which is noticeably different from that of the 11 foot model) and took it back a little ways in the styling (sort of as the Enterprise looked in the pilot episodes).

I haven't finished all the parts and pieces yet (not surprising as I still have things to do on the Constellation), but here are the two ships side by side.

 

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I had hoped to spend more time on the Constellation than I have in the last few weeks, but I have made a few tests and alterations in that time.

First, this is a quick comparison between the Constellation and the Republic (I actually made this movie a while ago, but only compressed it for the web today).


And this is a short flyby of the Constellation model as it stands right now. I'm still ironing out stuff and adding details, specially as I figure out how to implement stuff better.


One of the things I added was running lights to the top of the primary hull, but currently they aren't very bright when they blink on (I'll work on that :freak: ).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
PerfesserCoffee said:
Wow! Excellent clips! I hope you'll do a battle scene.
I've been working out some ideas, but everything has been slow going the last few weeks (while I was sick). I've been happy with the phasers I've done, but now I need to work out shield hits and surface hits (I had started on those effects, but haven't finished either enough to even see if they'll work).

F91 said:
You must have loved last nights TOS remastered episode.
Yeah... I'm just finishing up watching it for a seventh time. I haven't had a copy of Doomsday Machine since around 1996... and I had just about worn that one out.

I would guess that my only critique of the new effects would be that they made the planet killer too... well, round.

One of the odd things I had always noticed was that the mouth of the planet killer and the Guardian of Forever had similar shapes.

I've been working on a planet killer to have a sort of first encounter between the Constellation and it. I'm pretty happy with the test internal effects I made so far and I'm actually trying to match (to a degree) the translucent/scalely feel of the original effect model (though I thought last night's version was nice).

A couple years ago I played around with some of Rob Bonchune's Defiant renderings that he posted for us trying to see what I could come up with in Photoshop. I don't recall if I ever posted what I ended up with as I had mixed feelings about the results... but here it is.


Image using Rob Bonchune's Defiant as
Constellation (or Enterprise) stand-in
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well, as long as everyone seems interested in the Constellation these days, I thought I may as well put together a comparison of the original version, the remastered version and my version (as it looks so far).

 
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