Bit of a long term project this one, I've had it going a while as shown in my Akira thread and I suspect it'll go on for quite some time, but here's where I am so far. I've spent a long of time gently tweaking the form and to my eye the secondary hull is now pretty close but I'll keep playing with it. I'm using the 6ft model exclusively as in my opinion its the much better looking model, I'm not going to tweak the saucer to account for ten forward either.
Next up I'll probably sort the junction between the secondary hull and the saucer as that's very rough at the moment. Then move on to sorting the nacelles out.
It was pointed out on the discord that having the engineering hull and saucer as seperate meshes would make for headache when it came time to trying to get them to marry up exactly, and I agree. I could spend weeks carefully moving vertexes trying to get the seam perfect, but it'd be easier to work with a single mesh and then cut them later. I've just spent a while pulling everything about and marrying the 2 meshes in to one single sub-d object. Much cleaner, splitting them again should be fun...
But I still spend hours to get the right seperation line.
I've already spent ages trying to get them to line up, I've given up, a single mesh is the way forward. I might not model the cobra head anyway so if I ditch the seperation function I'll just get away with a deep panel line.
And the stardrive section looks really awkward on its own!
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so.
Honestly, I kinda like the stardrive, but in a "so bad it's good" kinda way.
I'm wondering if I should do the same with the warp grill on my fighter, at the moment it is kinda frosted glass with the coils and everything behind it. Maybe the copper parts would look nicer.
Oh and before you apply the subd make a copy of the subded mesh in case you need to fix smoothing errors, you should be able to transfer normal data over and fix any weird problems with shading.
The only thing that looks odd to me are the pylons, firstly due to the extruded area you have on the top, IMO that should be a lot less pronounced. See here from the model.
Secondly due to the shape of their aft end going from one nacelle to the other. It looks a lot more curved than what I can gather from the model. On certain angles such as the last render from post #20, where the area in question is very brightly lit in contrast with its surroundings, it looks very irregular, where the model itself looks to be a lot more smooth. See here and the bottom image here.
Just my two cents, I might be wrong. As mentioned before I love the progress you're making on this mesh.
Also, just in case you didn't already know, ST Bilder here has more than 200 closeups of the original TNG model from the time it went on auction, it's a great resource for details like these.
You might be right about the rear edge looking at it. I've used orthos of Tobias' Richter's model as my starting point as it's (imo) the best and closest to the 6ft out there. That said it's not perfect and I've already deviated from it in some areas. I'll revisit it now I have those pics. Cheers!
Edit: This is why I'm so nervous about freezing the sub d in!
Edit 2: the raised bits on the nacelle struts are very rough, I just threw them on for the hell of it, they've definitely be made much shallower. I intend to keep the surface very smooth, as per the model. Most CG models of the Galaxy have far too pronounced surface detail imo. On the model escape pods etc were basically stickers. I intend to respect that.
But, it's definitely looking terrific. The smoothness and cleanliness of your work is always a joy to see.
Yeah I always increment the file, we're on '12' so far with this one. It's less that and more than I know I'll freeze it, then do 15 hours of detail work, realise I'm not happy with the shape and have to go right back again. Ah well, all part of the fun of 3d modelling!
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Yep, I've lost whole days' work with that process. Like you said, part of the fun.