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3DStar Wars Gladiator Star Destroyer environment/animation

xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
edited April 5 in Work in Progress #1
Hello again, sorry I don't use forums super regularly! At the start of the pandemic I started to make a Star Wars space battle animation and dropped off (old thread here). In the time since then I've gotten a lot better at a variety of things, and only my low poly TIE fighter model is really up to my current standards. That was also before Mandalorian Season 2 came out, so there's been lots of SW inspiration since.

So now I'm working on a new SW project: a narrated animation fairly inspired By ECHenry's ship videos (and Howard Day, Angelos Karderinis, Skyforge, and other talented SW fan artists work), just flying around and exploring a medium sized imperial ship, the Gladiator class Star Destroyer. So I've reigned in the complexity by taking away the space battle aspect and ramped up the amount of models needed. I've been working on a LOT of assets, making everything myself because I enjoy the modeling/texturing parts. So I'm going to dump a lot of stuff here and update periodically. Everything is WIP. The assets are all pretty low poly / realtime ready because my hardware's not great.

Animation will start with a lambda shuttle dropping out of hyperspace. I have a test animation of that.


We'll get some shots of the lambda approaching the hangar and landing

Some shots flying over the star destroyer... It's important to me that I can fly right into/out of the hangar without having to cut to a separate high detail model of just a small section of the ship, I like continuous shots.
The Gladiator class is a 600m long ship from the old '80s droids cartoon, recanonized through more recent appearances like the Armada game. I don't love their design for it and might take some cues from The Mandalorian's light cruiser. It's between that and a real star destroyer in size. I have only roughly blocked it out, and photobashed some possible ideas. The SD and light cruiser here are just official photos, not my models or anything.

The armada one has small hangars on the sides connected to the main flight deck, but the original cartoon version did not. Instead I will maybe add a very small hangar on the back for a TIE shuttle (the kind of ship Captain Needa took to the Executor in ESB. A fan design for it was canonized with the TIE Fighter Owner's Workshop Manual book that I'll mostly follow.)

We'll maybe fly over the bridge (I don't know if I want to do a detailed bridge interior because then I need realistic looking humans...) follow a TIE shuttle leaving that hangar, and also have a look inside a laser cannon gun deck in the side trench of the ship, based on the ones seen on the death star in ANH, with death star gunners and stormtroopers and a mouse droid. (the dirt here is also over the top and not well-placed)


I haven't finished the stormtrooper models yet but here's his blaster:

I may also have a local ship and a couple of alien crew members visiting. I feel like one of the benefits of the gladiator would be impressing remote systems with a hangar large enough to park your ship inside, as opposed to the arquitens light cruiser or many smaller ships where you have to dock with them. I've been working on some alien models so I may use one of those. And a couple R4 droid colorschemes, the two on the left are based on imperial astromechs seen in the movies on the death stars.

So... I have a lot of stuff done, but also a lot to go. And again, everything is very low poly, between like 1000 and 10,000 tris for each asset. Details are textured on in Substance Painter, primarily by drawing a height map and then using procedural layer masks, no modeling any panels. Not for any good reason, sometimes it would be faster to just model and bake a mask or bake a height map for some of this stuff. But I'm kind of enjoying this workflow, it's kind of simple and meditative and satisfying. (Except for that pa'lowick alien above with the droids, that was a somewhat high detail sculpt in Blender and then retopology in Maya. Haven't rigged it, don't know if I will use it for this.)

Sorry it's a big post, I'm basically just throwing every Star Wars thing I've got into one big scene. Hopefully something nice comes out of it!
Post edited by xiaorobear on


  • wibblewibble415 Posts: 262Member
    This is an interesting looking project and I'm eager to see what is coming out of it. Don't really understand though why it isn't gaining more interest. Your models and animation are looking superb.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 10 #3
    Thank you very much- I'm not worried about the level of interest, it will take me a long time to finish but it's rewarding enough for me to see how it's shaping up, especially compared to my work from a couple years ago. :)

    Here is a small test of a tiling texture for just the wide flat areas of the Gladiator hull (I think I might have the normals inverted...), as well as a basic camera move just showing the relative size and positions of things.

    (Higher quality link)

    And an early start on the TIE Shuttle and on the 'Death Star Gunner'


    I'm also going to have a low-detail interior for the TIE shuttle, just to be seen from the outside. Here is a comparison of that (untextured, unfinished) with my TIE model, which is my oldest model I still consider good enough to use. Definitely makes a difference!

    Post edited by xiaorobear on
  • wibblewibble415 Posts: 262Member
    edited April 10 #4
    xiaorobear wrote: »
    I'm not worried about the level of interest, it will take me a long time to finish but it's rewarding enough for me to see how it's shaping up.

    That sounds like a healthy attitude. Seems like your models aren't the only inspiring thing in here.

    The cockpit definitely adds realism to the TIE, regardless how low poly it might be. Are you planning to build some for your other ships as well? They sure would benefit from it. Especially the Lambda shuttle, since it has such a wide window.

    Post edited by wibble on
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    wibble wrote: »
    Are you planning to build some for your other ships as well? They sure would benefit from it. Especially the Lambda shuttle, since it has such a wide window.

    You know, I really wasn't planning to until your comment... I decided to try one out. This one's a bit tricky because in the movies / even in the Mandalorian, the lambda shuttle glass is 100% opaque. I made a couple of tests, one without tinted glass (and a glitch where the background doesn't show thru the glass correctly), one with tinted glass, and neither are right yet.




    I think I'll probably tint the glass darker, but also increase the brightness of the interior material, so that you still get a hint of the very low poly forms in there. But right now it's too clear, especially when you see the wing through the glass. Maybe adding pilots will help too. Still, I've already done the hard part, I'll get it looking right soon.
  • StarshipStarship346 São Paulo - BrasilPosts: 1,890Member
    Great work all around!
    I loved all that you showed us. Please, keep posting! B)
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 13 #7
    Thank you, will do! Big updates will probably only come on weekends, but for now, I fixed the tinted glass. Still need to make an extremely low poly pilot, but here is a small test.



    And here is an extremely small sculpt for an imperial officer to be standing behind the pilot in there, also something I can reuse in windows of the star destroyer.


    Post edited by xiaorobear on
  • wibblewibble415 Posts: 262Member
    I Love what you came up with. It really elevates this already pretty perfect design. You know, right after I posted I thought It might have been a bad Idea 'cause - like you pointed out, too - It's always 100% opaque on screen and it might just look wrong no matter what you do. I'm glad that you tried and hope you like the outcome as much as I do.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 13 #9
    All thanks to you for the suggestion! For this one shot the level of detail might be overkill, but I'll have a couple others and I think it total it will all pay off. Here is how that dropping out of hyperspace shot from the original post is looking with the interior, imperial officer, and the current post-processing:

    And how the officer turned out, around 600 tris. TIE pilots will be next at this level of detail, for this and for the TIE shuttle.


    Post edited by xiaorobear on
  • ashleytingerashleytinger927 Central OhioPosts: 862Member
    Even just that little bit of cockpit as it flies by sells it.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    I made a little TIE pilot (~900 tris, 512x512 textures) and I'm quite happy with him. Only problem is, you can't even see him unless the cockpit is absolutely blasted with light. But I'll find somewhere to show him off.





  • ashleytingerashleytinger927 Central OhioPosts: 862Member
    If you kick up the reflection on him a bit it would make it stand out without blasting the light.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 18 #13
    Yep, boosting reflection is definitely an option!
    Didn't get a ton done this weekend, but I am close to finishing the Zeta shuttle's textures, and also modeled and quickly textured an interior for it. This model really isn't meant to hold up even as close as the lambda, but even though the cockpit is extremely simple, that added depth will really help it out in moving camera shots. :)


    Post edited by xiaorobear on
  • wibblewibble415 Posts: 262Member
    xiaorobear wrote: »
    Only problem is, you can't even see him unless the cockpit is absolutely blasted with light.

    If you don't want to blast the whole cockpit with light, what about a single additional light behind the pilot, not strong enough to effect the entire cockpit but strong enough to give him a bit contrast?
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited April 24 #15
    That is definitely a solution. I also might do a test just with a TIE turning or firing lasers- it's maybe not a bad thing if the pilot is only visible when the angle is just right or there is a bright flash.

    For now, this weekend I cut out the windows and made an interior for my TIE fighter. The exterior is a couple years old and was never meant to be seen up close, and isn't up to my current level of detail or texturing style. BUT, it still works pretty well, so I'll probably keep leaving it alone.


    Higher quality link

    And here is what the interior model looks like in substance painter viewport screenshots. Not super accurate, not super inaccurate.


    Post edited by xiaorobear on
  • ashleytingerashleytinger927 Central OhioPosts: 862Member
    That looks fantastic.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    Very small update: I got a little closer to blocking out the final shape for the gladiator-class star destroyer, updated the scene lighting a bit and added the planet from that hyperspace shot.


  • wibblewibble415 Posts: 262Member
    As long as it is progress it doesn't matter how small it is. That planet looks great by the way. Is it of your own making?
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    wibble wrote: »
    That planet looks great by the way. Is it of your own making?

    Thanks! It kind of is. I found a NASA satellite photo of a dust storm and did some photoshop to it (mainly the spherize filter). Unfortunately it's not high res enough to fill the frame, especially because spherize exaggerates the size of the center, so I can only have it as a distant planet and not recreate SW planet shots.
  • xiaorobearxiaorobear310 Posts: 112Member
    edited May 9 #20
    Another very very minor update- you may have seen above that my old TIE fighter model had too much grunge and not-quite accurate wing panels, so I updated its textures to get a touch more accurate.





    Busy weekend, so that's all for now!
    Post edited by xiaorobear on
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