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Blender question: How'd they do this?

Judge DeathJudge Death0 Posts: 0Member
On the star trek blender mesh site they have some free openly available downloads of star trek ship.

Many of these have hull lined and planets molded into the mesh and I was wondering how they did that.

Here's a link: Star Trek: Blender:: Meshes

The ncc-1701A has a lot of this effect and I'd like to know how to do the hull plating effect where the panels and the lines between them are actually part of the ship's mesh. Any ideas on this?

I'd have posted this in the dojo hoping that maybe polaris might answer, but I guess only sensai can post there. I understand the policy but would like to ask people to consider allowing those seeking knowledge to post their queries there as well.
Post edited by Judge Death on

Posts

  • Polaris 004Polaris 004198 Posts: 752Member
    Hey Judge, I'll take a stab at this, although as a rule I don't bother to cut deflector lines into the meshes of my models. There's a number of approaches, not all of which I have been successful at figuring out.

    6.jpg
    Here's a basic example of one technique that I got pretty good at. Basically I thought about where I wanted the deflector lines, and subdivided the mesh so as to make a very thin row of faces where the lines lay. Then I selected the areas and pushed them below the surface of the saucer by the same small amount.

    I got pretty good at it, but figuring it out was a little maddening at times. It sounds simple, but there's a lot of details that you have to figure out as you go, like where to break the rings, when to detach the ring from the mesh and when to hook it back up, and how to avoid killing yourself by making 2 million extra verts.

    There's another method that I am going to start experimenting more with. You can find a tutorial on it in the tutorial section of this site, which is pretty good. It's called "Saucer Grid Tutorial," and it's on the second page of tutorials. Basically, you highlight an entire square where the deflector line will go, and extrude it down just a tiny amount. Then you slightly bevel the outside edges of that square. Raise it back up flush to the surface, and then bevel the outside edges again slightly. I did this once and got encouraging results. I think I will eventually use this method a lot more.

    You could always try to cut the lines with Boolean cuts. But I wouldn't recommend even trying it. That has been nothing but headaches and dead ends for me, though maybe you would be able to figure it out. I personally hate spending my time flitting from 1 vert to the next trying to figure out which one to delete to clean up the mess a complicated boolean cut usually makes.

    My models are medium poly meshes, which means I can get away with a lot of simple shortcuts that look okay from a reasonable distance. One of these is to make my deflector lines by actually creating dark lines just ABOVE the surface of the mesh. I turn the ray tracing and the shadow buffering off for this material, and it usually looks pretty good:

    rANGER2.jpg

    Prog20.jpgHere the grids are actually light in color, the same as the studio model, but the principal is the same.

    TychoProg101.jpg

    The method has many advantages. First of all, it's easy. I can do a whole saucer in, like, 5 minutes. No kidding. Second, you don't actually cut into the mesh, so you don't ruin anything and have to re-do a whole bunch of work. If the grid doesn't work, just delete the object and start over. And if you want to re-use the saucer for another model, well, it hasn't been all chopped up, so you can make a different grid and window layout to suggest a different scale or a different class of starship.

    Of course it doesn't look as good when you get REALLY REALLY close up, and that's a trade off. But I am just doing this for a hobby in my spare minutes. I am not trying to get a job at ILM or anything, and so really the end result only has to be as good as what I want for my own personal amusement. And I can always go back to these models in the future and cut real lines in them, when I figure out a really whiz bang method, right?

    Well, I hope I have given you some ideas. You seem to have the right spirit. You found those models and are studying them. That's exactly what I did. I have all those models and I look at them all the time. They are GREAT learning tools.

    If you have any more questions like this, you can always PM me. But look through those tutorials on this site also, there's plenty of great stuff there. Look at the ones not specifically for Blender as well, as there is often a lot of carry over applicability.

    And if you figure out a better way, you need to PM me and give me a heads up. Okay?
  • Judge DeathJudge Death0 Posts: 0Member
    Thanks, polaris, your first method looks the best and most real, but is of course the biggest pain, I guess. One way to try booleaning might be to make a very ring or line at the point you wanted the grid to go, then duplicating it and using it as the base for the booleam. Let's see, extrude it up a little them see if you can split the upper verts nto two to make a triangle, then use that as the cutter.

    I'm just guessing here. I'm not even close to your level and probably never will be.

    Another guess I had it to make a duplicate of the saucer, shrink it just a hair, then cut the original saucer into pieces, extrude and widen the lower base of the pieces a hair and plate them onto the scaled down dupe, which is given a dark color....

    I think the actualy deep lines between the hull plates is the best, as it suggests thermal aps that allow the plates to expand and contract a little due to extreme temperature environments, so I like your first example the best. It looks like if one side's beaing heated by a sun while the other's facing the cold the hull plates could change size slightly due to the gaps.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]0 Posts: 3Member
    the few times I have experimented with intergal hullplating. I use extrusion. its the only way I can think of to do it. though Im no expert.
  • Judge DeathJudge Death0 Posts: 0Member
    Hey Judge, I'll take a stab at this, although as a rule I don't bother to cut deflector lines into the meshes of my models. There's a number of approaches, not all of which I have been successful at figuring out.

    6.jpg
    Here's a basic example of one technique that I got pretty good at. Basically I thought about where I wanted the deflector lines, and subdivided the mesh so as to make a very thin row of faces where the lines lay. Then I selected the areas and pushed them below the surface of the saucer by the same small amount.

    I got pretty good at it, but figuring it out was a little maddening at times. It sounds simple, but there's a lot of details that you have to figure out as you go, like where to break the rings, when to detach the ring from the mesh and when to hook it back up, and how to avoid killing yourself by making 2 million extra verts.

    There's another method that I am going to start experimenting more with. You can find a tutorial on it in the tutorial section of this site, which is pretty good. It's called "Saucer Grid Tutorial," and it's on the second page of tutorials. Basically, you highlight an entire square where the deflector line will go, and extrude it down just a tiny amount. Then you slightly bevel the outside edges of that square. Raise it back up flush to the surface, and then bevel the outside edges again slightly. I did this once and got encouraging results. I think I will eventually use this method a lot more.

    You could always try to cut the lines with Boolean cuts. But I wouldn't recommend even trying it. That has been nothing but headaches and dead ends for me, though maybe you would be able to figure it out. I personally hate spending my time flitting from 1 vert to the next trying to figure out which one to delete to clean up the mess a complicated boolean cut usually makes.

    My models are medium poly meshes, which means I can get away with a lot of simple shortcuts that look okay from a reasonable distance. One of these is to make my deflector lines by actually creating dark lines just ABOVE the surface of the mesh. I turn the ray tracing and the shadow buffering off for this material, and it usually looks pretty good:

    rANGER2.jpg

    Prog20.jpgHere the grids are actually light in color, the same as the studio model, but the principal is the same.

    TychoProg101.jpg

    The method has many advantages. First of all, it's easy. I can do a whole saucer in, like, 5 minutes. No kidding. Second, you don't actually cut into the mesh, so you don't ruin anything and have to re-do a whole bunch of work. If the grid doesn't work, just delete the object and start over. And if you want to re-use the saucer for another model, well, it hasn't been all chopped up, so you can make a different grid and window layout to suggest a different scale or a different class of starship.

    Of course it doesn't look as good when you get REALLY REALLY close up, and that's a trade off. But I am just doing this for a hobby in my spare minutes. I am not trying to get a job at ILM or anything, and so really the end result only has to be as good as what I want for my own personal amusement. And I can always go back to these models in the future and cut real lines in them, when I figure out a really whiz bang method, right?

    Well, I hope I have given you some ideas. You seem to have the right spirit. You found those models and are studying them. That's exactly what I did. I have all those models and I look at them all the time. They are GREAT learning tools.

    If you have any more questions like this, you can always PM me. But look through those tutorials on this site also, there's plenty of great stuff there. Look at the ones not specifically for Blender as well, as there is often a lot of carry over applicability.

    And if you figure out a better way, you need to PM me and give me a heads up. Okay?

    One thing I'd love to know is how you modeled the pylons on the second ship, the centaur, isn't it? I can do some stuff in blender, but not sweeping curves like that...
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