Welcome to! Click one of these buttons to join in on the fun.

3DDavid's Stargate 3D Stuff

David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
Hi everybody, I'm David. You might know me from various other forums and websites, I've been around the scene on and off for a while. I may be a little set in my ways, but I've decided that, like they say, the best time to start posting on SFM is yesterday, the next best time is today, so, let's get this show on the road.

There was a flurry of interest in Stargate SG-1 last summer during lockdown on another board I visit, and my first big 3D project as a young modeler was the stargate, which I redid a couple years later. I'd been thinking about making a third version pretty much since I finished the second version, and kept my eye out as reference material continued to appear, especially production diagrams put up for auction after the shows ended, and the goldmine of high-res photos from the Enfants de Mac Gyver fan group building a full-scale replica stargate based on original parts. While I was doing research and noticing a lot more subtleties and differences that I'd missed before, I decided on a plan of attack; I'd initially build with an eye towards making the movie and SG-1 versions, since they're mostly identical. The Atlantis version actually has a number of major differences, so I'd start that one after completing the movie/SG-1 gate, pulling out whatever parts and segments I could reuse.

I've just finished modeling and texturing the movie version of the stargate. As part of the project, I did something I don't think anyone else had ever attempted, and recreated the alternate set of symbols seen on the stargate on Abydos in the movie, before the series retconned that each stargate had only one unique symbol representing itself, and the 38 address symbols are standardized. Here are some orthos of the movie version of the model.



There are many more images, as well as a link to a lighting test turntable animation (I don't see an option to embed video here?) on my website.

I've started working on the inner ring for the SG-1 version of the model (in addition to being extruded instead of engraved, every symbol was redrawn for the series, so they're all a different size or a different shape than the ones I made for the movie version). I'm also planning to create a number of different inner rings to represent different stargates, each with its own point-of-origin symbol. Aside from the handful of canon origin symbols from the show (Earth, Abydos, Earth's second stargate, and the virtual reality planet), most of the ones seen just reused an address symbol. For those, I'm planning to use the corresponding symbol from the Abydos movie stargate. I'm also on the hunt for any other origin symbols, from games, comic books, novels, I'll even take other fan-art. So far, the only one I know of is that the upcoming Stargate tabletop RPG designed a symbol for the "Phoenix Site" off-world base's stargate, but if anyone else knows of any, I'd love a heads-up.


  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    I'd like to see you try to do one like this: - basically it's a Milky Way gate with red chevrons done int he same fashion as the Pegasus Galaxy Stargates. My main idea for this one is that it was created by SGC in Atlantis using a Molecular Construction Chamber (Atlantis I think should have the ability to "manufacture" Stargates, IMHO).
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    I wasn't going to change the color, but I was definitely planning to do an alternate Milky Way glyph set for the Pegasus 'gate. Another idea I had that I'm less likely to act on was actually the opposite, making a Milky Way gate with blue chevrons and a physical inner ring with Pegasus glyphs, inspired by the early promotional art for Atlantis that used the SG-1 'gate recolored in Photoshop.
  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    Well I have no problem with you doig an alternate milkyway glyph set for the Pegasus gate with the color.
  • RJBRJB201 Posts: 182Member
    Nice to see another artist doing Stargate related designs.

    Amazing work you have done.
  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    edited March 2021 #6
    I know I had a fanfic series that I never really developed that would feature the folks using a molecular construction chamber in Atlantis to fabricate a Stargate that would be of Pegasus Style but have Milky Way glyphs on it. The bulk of Stargate Command operations would be moved off-world, mostly for the sake of planetary security, which is something that I think the IOA would really want to do given how many things that SG teams exposed their planet to! The Stargate would be part of the new SGC facility, and would have a dialing console (hooked up to computers) like the Atlantis dialing console (but with the 39 Milky Way glyphs). While I know the Marvel Universe has gone some into Norse mythology (and of course "Frozen" and such), I wanted to do my own take on it - the big bads would be based off of Norse Mythology. There would be a new SG-1 team, featuring among other people Rya'c (Teal'c's son), Jennifer Hailey (who is probably the team commander now - she was in "Prodigy" and "Proving Ground"), a female Tok'ra who became a host as a teenager (she's a bit older now), and a female Navy SEAL who is Native American and has an O'Neill vibe to her.
    Post edited by Rusty0918 on
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member

    I've drawn and extruded the SG-1 version of the inner ring glyphs. There are a couple other variations visible, as well. Some (but not all) of the patterns on the outer rim are rotated 180 degrees from their orientation on the movie version. I also noticed I misaligned the row of large blocks above the glyph track. That's been corrected on the movie version, as well, but I'm not going back and re-rendering all those images again.


    I decided to keep the chevrons and wings in the arrangement they had on the movie version, rather than moving the chevrons higher and the wings closer together (and drooping), as they were when on the SG-1 setpiece. I'll make that change on the Atlantis version, though, since for that one, the slots the chevrons were mounted in were smaller, and other aspects of the setpiece were realigned to fit with the higher chevrons.

    And now we come to the whole reason I keep making stargate models, the point of origin symbols. This image has the official origin symbols used on the show and licensed tie-ins.


    There are two versions of the Abydos symbol because we only saw it on the actual stargate once, on a laptop screen in the original cut of the pilot, where it was tiny, off-center, upside-down, and squished horizontally (even I have my limits). I think this looks silly, but it wasn't hard to do with what I already had, so I threw it in. The "behind the scenes" version is based on how the symbol appears in a glyph panel supposedly from the production of the show. While I don't think it was ever used on-screen, in size and orientation, it's a lot more like how you'd expect the glyph to look, so I consider that the "default" Abydos ring, and the other version an alternative for canon hardliners.

    The "Phoenix Site" and it's associated origin symbol are from the upcoming Stargate SG-1 tabletop RPG from Wyvern Gaming.

    Next up, more origin symbols, based on the movie versions of the glyphs I've already made. There are about 15 other planets that have had visible origin symbols on the show, but they were all one of the normal "address" glyphs, so I figure having new glyphs (or repurposed movie glyphs) that are based on the ones used by the show is a fair compromise, plus that leaves another 24 that can be used for any other arbitrary planets. Or people could just do the sensible thing and rotate the ring so the origin symbol is below the ramp and can't be seen. Anyway, once that's done, I'm going to start doing lighting and surfacing tests for the chevrons, see what techniques look best and render fastest. Then comes texturing, rig up some setup and demo scenes, then the Atlantis 'gate so I don't have time to forget how I did everything, then, either effects or environments.
  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    I made two extra Point of Origins BTW, if you'd like to have them.

    The first is for the Epsilon Site (one of the SGC's off-world bases) - It's a bit like a cursive letter. See here:

    The other is for a planet I dub P3B-139 - it's sort of like the Abydos POO upside down:
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    Thanks for the origin symbols, I threw them in with the others I made.

    I'm about finished with the SG-1 gate, though I'm still running the lighting-test animation for that version, so I'm holding off on putting together all the images to post before it's done. I've also got some housekeeping I want to finish up, rigging the model for animation and packaging it for download, but hopefully I'll be able to get all that done over the next week.

    I did do a little quicky side project the other evening, the SGC logo plaque from the briefing room. Joseph Mallozzi, who was a writer and producer on the TV shows, has been posting high-res behind-the-scenes photos, concept art, and documents since the shows were still on the air, and recently posted a construction diagram of the plaque, which made it pretty easy to model in only an hour or two, most of which was spent squinting at the measurements and comparing with some photos of the finished plaque to see how things changed between the drawing and the actual piece.

    There was also a 3D rendered version used on the show as a screensaver and decorative element on computer displays which was colored differently, so I made both versions. I didn't sweat getting the textures exactly right (and there were some shape differences with the digital version I didn't bother changing), just going for the spirt instead of a perfect duplicate. The gaudy '90s texturing is pretty rough, and now we've entered a glorious era where flat colored in CGI actually look okay.




  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    I was wondering when you'd respond. BTW, the Epsilon Site POO actually should be called the Langford Base POO, from P3O-809. In that "Second Stage" stuff, it's Brigadier Generals Cameron Mitchell's command, SGC's most important off-world base and is often an intermediate stepping stone for SG teams should they come into contact with unknown tech or organisms (or whatever) before returning to Earth.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    If you've got a link for your fanfic, I can put it in the Read Me for the description of those two symbols, otherwise I'll just note that they're your design.

    I've finished one of those pieces of housekeeping and put up the movie version of the 'gate for download. The main Lightwave archive includes a template and example scene for animating your own dialing sequence, and there are also FBX and OBJ versions up for download for people who can't open Lightwave files who want to attempt to convert it to their preferred programs.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    I banked everything up, and now I have way, way too much to cram into one forum post. The SG-1 'gate is now finished, and all the details are up on my website. And I mean everything, we've got the model download, we've got orthos, we've got detail and lighting showcase renders in 5k, we've got turnaround videos, we've got dialing animations, we've got an entire separate blog post on how dialing works. It's nuts!

    But, you're busy people, so here are some highlights so you don't have to click through.




    I was not kidding about how strongly I feel about origin symbols.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    edited June 2021 #13
    First off, my model has already been put to good use in the wild. Dinosaur artist antediluviananimals has 3D printed a stargate model based on my new version, converted into the Atlantis version with parts from my older version, and H. Keith Hamilton is using it in an animation he's making to show fan interest in a new Stargate show.

    Work has been continuing on the Atlantis version of the Stargate which, it turns out, is almost entirely different from the SG-1/Movie version. Glass half full, I already know how to attack building the model, glass half empty, I have to make essentially the same model over again from scratch.

    In these renders, you can already see several of the differences. For instance, the cross-section is different, the original gate is pinched on the inner edge, while the Atlantis version has a constant slope all the way down, so the inner rim is twice as wide (with two rows of emitter details), and also doesn't have the "lip" around it, but is flat from front to back. The chevrons sit higher up (actually a change from the movie to the SG-1 version, but I kept the movie arrangement in my SG-1 model because it aligned better). The "pills" and zig-zag lines on the inner edge, and the arches above the inner ring are aligned on a 711-segment radial division, rather than the 666-segment (spooky!) division. The patterns are also different (and you can't see it, but the front and back are rotated differently, with the half-height zig-zag point pointing vertically on the back). The grooves around the pills have extra cuts joining them with the circles that separate the groups of pills.

    I've just finished the mosaic tiles around the rim and in the slots the chevrons fit into. The mosaic tiles were much easier to trace out on this version of the gate, both due to their repetitiveness (the front and back sides are identical, and the pattern repeats three times on every segment) and due to a couple of extremely-clear reference photos. Unfortunately, while the chevron slot pattern is both symmetrical and identical on the front and back, there are no clear images of the bottom half of the rear slot (the part that's covered up by the glyph track on the front of the 'gate), so I had to make an educated guess based on what little I could make out. Not that it's visible in these images, since I haven't done any of the parts on the back yet.

    Next up, the rear inner ring.





    Post edited by David_cgc on
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    I've finished up modeling on the Atlantis stargate. The main differences from the last update is the addition of the engraved groove patterns, and I got some last-minute reference for the back of the ring, so I was able to correct the part of the chevron slot I couldn't make out before.



    In preparation for texturing and lighting, I've also done a couple tests:



    And, because the texturing is frightening, I've also done the glyphs. Both the Pegasus glyphs:

    And Milky Way glyphs:

    Also visible here are the "superglyph" all the Pegasus glyphs are derived from, and two new Pegasus glyphs I've made as point-of-origin symbols using the superglyph. If I knew something about programing or scripting, it seems like it would be possible to make a simple program that would generate random symbols from the superglyph, so I could have a selection of potential origin symbols. But, I don't, so I'll just make them as I need them.

    I went back to the actual constellations the Milky Way symbols are based on, though I tried to also keep them consistent with the original symbols (some of the connections made on the stargate symbols aren't the official lines drawn in the constellations). For some of symbols that were very different from the IAU depictions, I relied on this piece of production art, which helpfully compares the symbols as-drawn with the actual star patterns.
  • Rusty0918Rusty0918261 Posts: 448Member
    I still say I recommend that with the Milky Way version, you remove the "partitions" on inner track, which will allow you to put all 39 glyphs on it instead of just 36.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    My concept isn’t that it’s a different kind of ‘gate, but that third-generation Stargates can display they correct symbols when they’re moved from one galaxy to another.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member


    I haven't quite finished all my lighting and animation demo renders yet, but I couldn't wait any longer to get this out into the world. The Pegasus Stargate is now up for download on my website, in Lightwave, FBX, and OBJ formats.

    My computers will be tied up doing the rest of the rendering for a little bit, but once I get the chance, I'll be diving in (so to speak) with the puddle effect. I'm looking forward to using some of the features that didn't exist in Lightwave last time I tried to make it.
  • scifiericscifieric1078 Posts: 1,453Member
    That is excellent work and very kind of you to share! Well done!
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    After finishing my new Stargate model, I've started working on matching effects to go with them. Ideally, I'd like to have a full suite of effects for both the movie and TV versions, but at the very least, I'd like to match what I did in my last version in the 2000s and have a decent in-camera "puddle" effect.

    I decided to start with the movie version. First, an example from the film. There were several shots of the puddle effect, but they were all pretty much from these two angles.


    The general effect seems to be a liquid mirror, combined with light shining through water. My first instinct was to try and do exactly that, using a spotlight and transparency, but I ran into a number of problems; in the PBR world, you can't have mirrored reflections without metalness, you can't have light refract through something without transparency, and you can't have metalness and transparency at the same time. So, then I tried for just getting the caustics being projected out from the puddle on to the surrounding set. More on that later, but suffice it to say, it also didn't work.

    The next step was something I attempted on my prior 2000s model before coming up with a more universal solution, a spotlight pointed directly at the front of the puddle. This was a bit better, but from the side view, I noticed the highlights were exactly where they weren't in the reference image. Amazingly, stuff shining through water and stuff being reflected off water happens in exactly opposite parts of the ripples.

    So then I decided to start cheating. And it worked! I used a Gradient node to define a certain section of slope from the ripple texture as bright white. The next issue was that the settings I was using for the side angle didn't work for the front, and vice-versa, but I was able to use Incidence nodes, clamps, and remaps to have the specific slope defined by the gradient shift depending on the angle of the camera. Then it was all just down to the fine-tuning.

    I ran off a couple of test renders from both angles. One in a blank gray cube, one in an environment from HDRlabs. The trick is, both stargates in the movie are in very dark rooms, and that was the darkest interior HDR environment I have. I also used the Master Chief model from Halo 3 for scale and to give the puddle a human-shaped thing to reflect, since I don't have a James Spader model handy.

    Looking at it, the first thing I'm going to fix is to ramp down the strength of the bump map towards the edges. Luckily, since that's entirely separate from my fake highlight effect, I can dial it down to get the reflections to look more accurate to the movie without damaging the main part of the effect, the highlights.

    The puddle here is flat white, while in the movie, it has a bit of a blue cast. I'm pretty sure that's just grading and the color of the lighting in the rooms the 'gate is in, and it's supposed to be a neutral mirror. On the other hand, the on-set interactive lighting definitely seems to be blue, so maybe I'll give it just a tinge so it isn't perfectly neutral gray.

    Then there are the bigger issues. The thing that bothers me the most is that, with the way Lightwave's Ripples procedural works, and the speed of the ripples in the movie, the pattern repeats three times a second. I'd like to introduce more randomness into it. I'm not sure if there's another procedural I could be using, either built-in or a plug-in (maybe I should try one of these, I never got around to loading them in to LW2020) or if I should just layer in some more procedurals to break it up.

    I'd also like to be able to get the interactive ripples when something passes through the puddle automatically, but I have no idea how to make that happen. Ideally, it'd respond to actual geometry, but another idea I had is for a texture that generates ripples of a given size and speed when properly-named nulls are close to the surface of the object. If worse comes to worse, I can just cheat it, pre-making some kind of splash-map in After Effects or something and layering it in to the texture, but it feels so gross to have to save a different version of an object every time I use it in a shot.

    Once I get those resolved, or become tired of trying, the next thing should probably be the interactive lighting being projected out from the stargate. On set, this was simply a spotlight being reflected off shaking mylar. I'd like to do something a little more elaborate. On my old Stargate model, I actually had a great success using a dummy object, a spotlight, and caustics.

    Unfortunately, that broke with a subsequent Lightwave update. The effect stopped animating properly, instead of that lovely multilayered swirl, it just sort of flickered inward, like the animation had been set too fast and it was doing every cycle in less than a frame. Like video of a helicopter.

    Anyway, my goal is to match that effect. I got exactly nowhere in my first tests, with the spotlight shining through seeming to be totally unaffected by my rippling puddle object. I made a separate scene to play with after reading over this thread, an inside-out cube with the top face set as my test "water" texture, trying to dumb things down to the bare minimum to achieve the sunlight-in-a-swimming-pool effect. Didn't have much success either, though I got something recognizably caustic-y on the walls of the "pool" that were closest to the surface of the water. Something interesting I did note was that I was having trouble seeing the practical difference between the light refracting through the transparent polygon with the basic renderer versus when caustics were active under the GI tab. Each seemed to be trying to give the same effect in different ways.
  • scifiericscifieric1078 Posts: 1,453Member
    I think you are doing well! Keep going!
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    I continued tweaking the puddle until I was satisfied (and then tweaked it again after it occurred to me that to clip out all the scenes of the effect in the movie so I could see what it was doing for more than a second at a time, at which I realized that it was an overlay of two sets ripples, one expanding outward and and the other retracting inward). Since I've had no joy on getting caustics to do anything in 2020, I exported the puddle object as a LWO2 and loaded it into 2015, where I'm rendering a loop of the caustic lighting, which I'll apply as a projection map to a spotlight. There are pros and cons (pro, the lighting actually looks like real water, con, it won't respond if the ripple pattern changes, neutral, the original didn't respond either, because it was just light reflected off of crinkling mylar), but I'm ready to declare victory unless someone cracks the case of how to make a swimming-pool floor effect in LW2020 (it's the example they use to explain what caustics are in the manual, for crying out loud!).



    Next up is the strudel extending out the back, the forming/dissipating effect of the puddle (the movie version is just a slightly fancy radial dissolve), and then I start playing with fluids, dynamics, cloth, volumetric, morphs, and whatever else it takes to get a decent kawoosh.
  • David_cgcDavid_cgc360 Posts: 18Member
    Had a bit of a slowdown thanks to computer trouble I could no longer forestall after a few hectic... years... and the release of Myst VR (and some subsequent light data-mining), but now I'm back with a spiffy new machine.

    First, for reference, the strudel as it appeared in the movie.

    And what I've come up with:

    It's extremely straightforward. The surfacing is based on what I did for the front of the puddle, with the light refractions faked with gradient shaders remapping the same procedurals that are driving the bump mapping that's pulling actual scene reflections, though, in the case, I used a Crumple and a couple of Cyclone procedurals. Why two Cyclones? Because they don't animate and I though it was too obvious the swirls weren't moving, and overlaying a second on rotating helped. A bit.

    The funnel itself is nothing fancy, just a curvy cone with procedural deformations (and an alpha map so that it doesn't deform where it's touching the stargate. The cavitating bubbles gave me some trouble. I tried a particle emitter, but it wouldn't swirl. I tried some dummy objects with mostly-transparent noise textures, but that didn't work. What I settled on was a trail of single-point polygons, with the pixel-size set to a negative so they'd render as tiny spheres instead of points. They were textured with a transparency and a bit of a glow starting at the tail of the vortex then quickly fading down, with a series of procedural clip maps that helps give them the illusion of motion as they pop in and out. I might want to add some more points to get it a little fuzzier, but I feel like the better solution is to just let film grain and bloom settle them in on the real renders.

    So, to the kawoosh. I have three ideas for how to do it.

    The classic way would be a series of morph targets. I think if I arrange my edge loops right and have enough intermediary morphs, I can get something that gets a little bit of the billowing of the actual effect. I'm not sure how it'll look (at best, probably a lot like this), but the benefit is that I know exactly how to do it on a technical level.

    The second idea was to use dynamics. Have a disc object, and use a proxy sphere to punch it outward like a sheet of rubber. I've used Bullet before, but just for colliding objects, not for deformations like that. I did a quick mess-around, but I have not figured out how to make my disc stretchy yet.

    The third idea is to use fluids. At first I thought this was doomed to failure; the tricky part about the kawoosh is that it's a negative space, it's not water exploding outward, it's air pushing out water and then the water returning to level. I was thinking that all I would end up would be basically a mold for a kawoosh, all the space around it that isn't part of the shape I want. But I've realized, air is also a fluid, so I would think it should be possible to have my simulated water tank, hit it with a blast of simulated air, and then save and render the solve for the air being blasted into the water and pushed back out. I did walk through LWGuru's video, but it'll take a lot more practice before I really have a sense for this. And my first attempts at running the fluid simulations was painfully slow, even at a lower resolution on my new computer, so I'll need to figure that out, too.
Sign In or Register to comment.