Update to change thread thumbnail:
Original post here:
Hey everyone. It's been a while since I was last on here. Mostly, I just haven't felt like doing CGI in the last few years. It's not that I was busy or anything, I just didn't have any motivation. Without motivation, there's no point in even trying to do this stuff. However, I've been watching Star Trek again recently (though, this month it's mainly been classic Universal horror films from the '30s and '40s) and Star Trek really motivates me. So, I decided to start a new project. I went back and forth on which ship I should do, or if I should do something original (but still Star Trek.) Finally, I decided to start back at the beginning, with the original Constitution class. Now, I probably had an old model somewhere that I could have dredged up, but I decided to just go with a clean start. Though, I did just log into my Dropbox for the first time in ages and I found some stuff in there.
So, I started this Tuesday afternoon. Initially, I started in Blender, the latest stable version (3.3.1, or something like that.) However, after I got my blueprints in there (that was an ordeal) I went though the initial steps, which usually involves drawing a spline for the saucer curve. I was trying to do this, but I was having massive issues. Then I remembered why I hate Blender. My workflow in it just isn't smooth. So, I installed Lightwave 2018, which is the most recent version of Lightwave that I own. After putting up my blueprints, I drew that spline in about 2 minutes. So, it's Lightwave for me, even though the future of that software is uncertain.
Anywho, here's my progress so far:
The saucer is completely done, except for adding an interior, which I'll do when I work on the materials. The secondary hull is mostly done, it just needs shuttlebay doors, nav deflector, lights and a few smaller details. I'll add all of that today. I've been off work this week, but I go back tomorrow. I intend to have the secondary hull all wrapped up today and a start on the nacelles.
Now, as far as accuracy, a few of the shapes might be slightly off, but they're close enough. I can say for certain that the slope of the teardrop is off slightly, but the actual teardrop shape is correct, at least according to the blueprints I'm using. But I don't worry about such things, especially since there are at least half a dozen physical models that were used in TOS, along with various CGI models of this ship in canon now, with variations between each model. One change I consciously made was to line up the windows with an actual deck plan. Allowing 3.1 meters per deck (which allows for interior space and framework, inner and outer hull, bulkheads, conduits, wiring, etc.) I got 21 decks, which I seem to remember being an actual number that was thrown around at some time. According to Memory Alpha, the ship has 22 decks and Memory Beta says 23 decks, which lines up with Franz Joseph's blueprints. (I almost used those but decided not to) However, that makes the decks too short, IMHO, when you watch the show and see that the decks were quite tall to allow for bulky 60s camera equipment, so you need plenty of space for those interiors. So, if the windows don't line up, that's why.
Funny thing: I log on for the first time in ages and this is my 10,000th post.
I didn't do the little sign that goes next to the warp pylon because, if I do it, I'll add it after I add the pylon. However, I have mixed feeling about that sign. The sign says:
"Tail pipe socket adjustment access"
However, that sign goes against the wishes of the designer. When he was designing the Enterprise, Matt Jefferies remembered being in WWII and having to leave his post to go fix something. He figured, by the time the show was supposed to take place, they would have devised a way to fix anything wrong with the ship from the inside. This makes sense, as the ship is in space and fixing something from the outside involves space walks in space suits. That sign indicates that someone has to do a space walk to adjust the tail pipe socket (whatever that is) from the outside. That makes no sense, as it should be accessible from the inside. Indeed, during the run of TOS, we never once saw Scotty suit up to do a repair, he and his team always fixed things from the inside, as did other members of the crew, such as Spock. So, I don't think I'll include that sign or the one or two others on the saucer.
I have been looking to see if you had ever returned and I've been disappointed ... until right now! I'm very glad to see you here!
Keep going! I love to see your work.
I'm mostly done with this. I just need to detail the bussard collectors, but that can wait until tomorrow. I work 6 am to 3 pm, so I'll probably open this back up when I get home and finish those, then it's on to texturing and materials.
And, in case anyone is wondering about my dedication to modeling stuff you're likely to never see, here's a closeup on of the warp pylons with the grill pattern so tight that it's hard to see unless you get very close:
Thanks a lot.
Uncompressed version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ft9v5cwzqb8gpy/Ent_Beauty01.png?dl=0
This took a long time to render because I had to use my laptop to render it. That's because I'm rendering a flyby animation on my desktop:
I took that pic several hours ago, there's still hours to go.
For the beauty shots, I'm going less for a "desktop background" look and more for a cinematic look. I may do some other images like that too. But, I don't plan to do too many renders of the ship, as I'm itching to get going on my next build. I have another ship planned to build, but I may put together a quick and dirty drydock next. That will work into some future animations I have planned.
Glad that it was the former.
I think that everyone gets burnout. Best cure is to just take a break until the inspiration comes back.
Hope that Lightwave continues to have a future. Having to use inferior substitutes is so damned annoying.
Thanks. Yeah, I had to take a big step back, until I got to a point where doing CGI was fun again. Since I had a blast building this newest Enterprise model, I'd say I'm there.
The blog was annoying. Wordpress kept changing things that were supposed to make it easier, but really they were just dumbing down their interface for people who can't be bothered to learn even a little about web code or software. I know very little, but come on! Even I know some basic stuff. That combined with the serious CGI funk made me just want to go Ben Finney on the whole thing, so I jettisoned it. I don't even have most of my old stuff. When I cleaned house I was thorough. But, the fun of CGI is that stuff can be rebuilt. (at least, the stuff I like)
It's hard to say. Since Newtek was bought by Vizrt in 2019, they don't seem to have done much with Lightwave. They released LW2020, which was already in the works at Newtek when they were bought. And Vizrt is cryptic AF about what they have going on, so it's hard to say if LW will ever get another release. I used to be a Truespace user and this reminds me of when Microsoft bought Caligari. They promised "big things" and they never released a single version of TS afterwords. My guess is that they used the TS code in their own in house projects. That could be what Vizrt has planned with Lightwave. Or they could be working on a new version. At least they left the LW site and resources live, such as the support forum and plugin database. But, that stuff could go away anytime. I've looked at Vizrt's products and it looks like they do a lot of programs for creating content, such as animations, effects, video editing, etc. But they don't seem to have basic modeling software. They might have bought Lightwave so that they can add modeling to their list. If Lightwave is gone for good, then it seems like a bitter end for what was once an industry leading CGI suite.
Personally, I have no plans to go beyond Lightwave 2018. At the beginning of this project, I was looking at using Blender, but I ran into an issue with the way they changed the controls between the last version I used (2.8-something, I think) and the current LTS version, 3.3.1. But, I figured out what the issue was, and Scifieric reminded me that I can always download an older version. The last version where I was proficiently creating something was 2.79b, I think. And Blender still offers every version going back to Blender 1. Plus, there's no danger of Blender going away, as they're run by a nonprofit and, even if they did go somewhere, someone else could pick up the source code and carry on. But, my guess is that the Blender Foundation keeps talented people onboard and has no shortage of talent in the pipeline.
There are a lot of advantages of Blender over LW2018, such as GPU rendering. It won't help on my laptop (Intel Iris graphics) but my desktop should definitely be able to render faster with that feature. It's an MSI gaming machine with a Ryzen 5 5600X, but it has a GeForce RTX 3060 in it, which should render much faster than that Ryzen. Also, I think Blender just renders faster anyway, even using the CPU. The Cycles render engine (love it) is more mature than the engine Newtek switched to with LW2018. My next build may just be a Blender build. Then it's a (relatively) simple matter of converting the Enterprise. Or just rebuild it. Honestly, I never get tired of building the TOS Connie. The TMP version is my favorite Enterprise, but the TOS version is an extremely close second. Or it may even be my favorite. Hell, I love them both.
Hours of rendering for 6 seconds of 1080p. Gotta love animation.
And, since I actually had to compress that one to get it to upload to Imgur, and Imgur itself compresses images, here's the full 26.74 MB uncompressed version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/campv6p5dw5c14d/Ent_Beauty02.png?dl=0
I was actually working on a third image when I had the rare Lightwave crash. Of course, I was a schmuck and hadn't saved my scene, so I lost it all.
Obviously, this is my take on a classic. I changed it to more of a "full frame" aspect ratio, as my nod to classic TV. Though, it's still in 4K.
Sorry, I'll try to do better next time.
Oh, that's BEAUTIFUL! Well done, Sir!
The remastered CGI tinted the lighting of the Enterprise pinkish/purple to match the color of the barrier, but I've got to say, I really miss the old school feel of the way the original was composited. Yours has the same TOS vibe except now in lovely HD
I really don't care for a lot of the lighting they did on the CGI for the remastered episodes. For WNMHGB, I really feel they overdid the lighting, particularly the pink from the barrier. It's too strong, IMHO. I could have had that if I rendered the background and the ship at once, as the background is made from procedurals in Lightwave, and I can have that light the ship. (but I can also turn that off) But, I rendered it separately and then rendered the ship with a blank background and added a couple lights to simulate the pink and purple hitting the ship. By using lights, I was better able to control the strength of the effect and (hopefully) not overdo it. Then, of course, I did a composition image with the background, the ship, some specular bloom and glows for the lights. I usually try to shoot for a blend of realistic and "Sci-Fi realistic." After all, space is actually very dark and there likely wouldn't be a star close enough to the galactic barrier to light the ship.
Originally, I intended this to be a scout. However, the ship is actually quite large, by TOS standards. It's 202 meters long, just about 86 meters shy of the Enterprise. In fact, I actually used the saucer, engineering hull and nacelles of the Enterprise as reference and just scaled them down. The saucer and nacelles are slightly smaller, and the engineering section, which I sort of mashed into the saucer, is thinner, but the hanger bay is about the same size. The opening for sure is the same size. So, I decided to make it a light cruiser, as I always figure scouts are smaller ships. This sort of fits with canon, as indicated by the dialog from Star Trek III:
Chekov: I could swear there was something there, sir.
Kirk: What did you see?
Chekov: For an instance, a Scout-class wessel.
Kirk: Could be Grissom.
What Chekov actually saw on his scanners was the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, which was a smaller B'Rel-class ship, just before it cloaked. He thought it was a scout ship. Kirk said from that description that it could be the Grissom, which was a smaller ship. Basically, Kirk was saying the Grissom was Scout-class.
Anywho, my ship is something I'm designing as I go, but it's obviously based on some existing designs. Also, I'm giving it more details than TOS had, because I like to do that. Despite what they say, about "modernizing" designs, all you really need to make TOS look more like modern stuff is to give it some extra details. Speaking of that, I found my old "upgraded" TOS Enterprise on a drive:
I did this ship 3 years ago, and I basically took the TOS design and added bits like thrusters, weapons, docking ports and more glowy bits. I also gave it hull paneling, but I need to change my texture settings as it's only in the specular channel. But, that's easy to fix. I just have to do a setting more like what I used on my most recent model. I already changed the bussard domes and some other glowy bits to materials similar to my most recent build.
BTW---In terms of compressed images, I found out about this
Maybe this could be used to flesh out images of ships in the novels--with minor tweaking
Thanks Ger. It's good to be back.
I'm hoping to get back to modeling soon. I got sick last week (not the dreaded 'vid, just a cold) and I still have a cough, but I'm otherwise fine. I don't get sick very often, so it's not been a fun time. But, while I was sick, I started watching Star Trek: Discovery again. I love that show, though I've only watched through part of season 3 in the past. I'm currently rewatching season 2, and I plan to watch all 4 seasons this time. I'm currently gathering resources to start building one of the ships from that series.
Get well soon mate.
I don't watch much TV now, if I am not modelling I am reading something.
looking forward to seeing your future models.
So, Blender is the obvious choice. It's free and own by a nonprofit, so there's no worry that it will go anywhere anytime soon. I've done stuff in Blender before, but it's been a few years. One of the more annoying things that they do is change the way things work from version to version. It took a while to figure out how to do things I once knew how to do in Blender, but my lack of consistent experience with Blender is not helping. But, I'm plugging away at a somewhat accurate version of the original Enterprise:
I don't know if I'm going to continue with this, as I recently built one and I have other stuff I'd like to do. But, at least I'm getting somewhat used to the software. Also, I'm not super happy with the teardrop and I'm not sure if I care enough to do another one.
It's hard to get right.
Nice work, by the way!
I don't see how you all reproduce all these ships. I can't even remake my own stuff and have it look the same twice. And here you all are doing these complex, iconic shapes that people are incredibly picky about, and being successful with it.