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McC

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  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    Time to do an actual update now!

    Even before the crash, I made several changes that I only ended up posting on Discord. First, as mentioned in the last post with updates, I backed off on the big dark area behind the upper shuttlebay and instead made it more of a U shape, with additional landing lines and such. This was from March 21:

    coro_2020-03-21-1701.jpg&size=320

    Looking at that, it became clearer and clearer that my little "porthole" windows in the insets on the saucer just weren't working, so I replaced them with more Voyager-esque inset windows instead. This was from March 25:

    coro_2020-03-25-1555.jpg&size=320

    I also started having serious misgivings about the "spine" and why such a huge dividing feature would run through the middle of an otherwise contiguous flight deck. After a lot of experimenting, I ended up with this more subdued piece. This was April 2:

    coro_2020-04-02-2234.jpg&size=320

    Then the crash and such happened. When I finally got back into it, I decided that I still wasn't happy with the above solution and decided to throw the full-length spine out entirely, in favor of having it terminate with the other hull plates in that area. This was October 31:

    coro_2020-10-31-1711.jpg&size=320

    That, of course, left a big gaping hole in between the two Specter doors, and someone suggested putting a flight observation room there, so I mocked one up just to see how I felt about it. I wasn't sure straight away, so I let it sit for a bit to think it over. This was also October 31:

    coro_2020-10-31-2156.jpg&size=320

    A few days later, we (some of the old Coro RPG folks) got to discussing the flight procedures for the Specters and it turned out many of us had misunderstood how it was intended to work. The "top" doors were meant to be where they launched from and the aft doors were meant to be how they returned to the ship. I had been treating the aft doors as egress, including a little aircraft carrier-like catapult launch track for the Specters. The original intent had been for them to be raised on a variable gravity platform for launch, and then that platform would launch them in pretty much any direction, with huge initial velocity, that the situation called for. This called for a couple of changes to the area: ripping out the catapult "strips" on the deck (which I was all too happy to do!) and restoring the interior elevator platform. I also reduced the overall height of the aft doors, in part because they were playing merry hell with the sense of scale in that area. I ended up going with a revised two-piston platform, drawing inspiration from some of the model kits I've seen of the Constitution refit's shuttlebay and the shuttle lifting platform inside it used to elevate shuttles to the launch deck from storage. This was November 6:

    coro_2020-11-06-2110.jpg&size=320

    I revised the shape of the exterior flight control station, which at this point I had settled on as a worthwhile feature to keep. I drew inspiration for the window shape from the flight control station on the Sovereign dorsal shuttlebay, which resulted in the following. This was from November 7 (and please ignore the UV wonk on the spine!):

    coro_2020-11-07-2101.jpg&size=320

    And, to sanity check how it looks in deep space:

    coro_2020-11-07-2118.jpg&size=320

    At this point, having burned a lot of unexpected time on remodeling, I decided that the model is now geometry locked. I'm not going to make further structural changes, no matter how compelling. The only changes to geo henceforth'll be driven by render errors or UV issues and the like.

    So, back to texturing!

    Most of my texturing source files got corrupted, but most of the textures themselves were still around, so I can reverse-engineer a lot of that without too much trouble. My vector documents for making precise panel lines and things are also still intact. To that end, I decided to just start doing some direct on-model texture painting in Blender to sketch out what I wanted to do with more precision in the final texture comp. The following are the results of the initial work in that direction, all from November 10:

    coro_2020-11-10-2228.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-11-10-2225.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-11-10-2232.jpg&size=320

    The stardrive/engineering hull in particular has only had a little bit done to it so far (top and underside of the pylons and the ventral "notch") -- the lateral/dorsal surfaces remain flat color at the moment, but I don't intend for them to remain so. The big dark patches on the underside of the saucer are meant to be similar to the big sensor pod on the Nebula class.

    Obviously, a whole lot of shader work left to do, as well.

    RekkertLizzy777MadKoiFishBolianAdmiralFreakslybrarianJES
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. No, this is not the Insignia class. Thanks!

    Texture, texture, texture! Plus messing around with shaders and not being happy with any of my experiments. I've (at least for now!) resolved to leave the shader fairly simple for now and will circle back to roughness and bump maps after I get all the colors and such sorted out.

    Most of the texture work is done in Inkscape (open source equivalent to Illustrator).

    Mar 10:
    coro_2020-03-10-2038.jpg

    Shader iteration over the course of Mar 10 through Mar 14. I have yet to shake the feeling that it looks too much like a plastic model or toy in the shots, which is super disheartening:
    coro_2020-03-10-2255.jpg coro_2020-03-13-2233.jpg coro_2020-03-13-2306.jpg coro_2020-03-14-1418.jpg

    Phaser hazard markers from Mar 15:
    coro_2020-03-15-1648.jpg

    Blocking in some more color areas and general markings, from this evening:
    coro_2020-03-16-2235.jpg

    I'll probably back off of the big dark landing area aft of the shuttlebay. That was lifted from the aft bay of the Sovereign-class, where it's a much smaller accent. Might keep some of it, though -- maybe make it U- or V-shaped instead.

    The grind goes on.
    Lizzy777evil_genius_180P5ych0p4thBrandenbergFreakBolianAdmiralJES
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. No, this is not the Insignia class. Thanks!

    Thanks, @Brandenberg! Life has change profoundly, but also remains the same in a lot of ways!

    Been madly UVing since last post, finally getting everything to a point where I think I'm happy with it. With the UVs sorted, I plunged back into texturing in earnest. Right now, I've got a generic hull panel mixed into the shader that is just mapped with blended box mapping. I don't intend to leave it in that state; the hull panels will get properly incorporated into the textures once the other features are in. For now, it's there just to give me something to reflect light off of and see how the surface roughness is coming together.

    UVing, from Feb 26, 27, and 29, using checkerboard textures to check scale across both islands as well as different UDIMs.
    coro_2020-02-26-1514_ogl.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-02-27-1316.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-02-29-0932_ogl.jpg&size=320

    Texturing finally beginning anew (albeit with the previous texture work used as a reference), from Mar 1. Some pieces still have checkerboard scale textures on them, other places have islands with solid, bright color for quick identification.
    coro_2020-03-01-1120.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-03-01-1135.jpg&size=320

    More incremental texture work, from Mar 3 through this evening.
    coro_2020-03-03-1320.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-03-04-1154.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-03-07-1251.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-03-07-2333.jpg&size=320
    Lizzy777lewisnivenxiaorobearBrandenbergevil_genius_180BolianAdmiralJES
  • Quick Greebling in Blender

    Here's a nifty trick I stumbled across and then fleshed out a bit more, which I think will be of use to a lot of the community. Props to YouTuber Ryan Devenney and this video for inspiration.

    greeble_009_unioned.jpg&size=640

    Greebles. If you're modeling a spaceship, chances are you're going to need some greebles at some point. While precise replication of an existing studio model may demand exacting modeling of each little cube, pipe, and hemisphere dotted across a ship's surface, most of the time that level of exacting replication isn't necessary. That's where this technique comes in handy.

    First, a demonstration of the general principle.

    I. General Purpose Tutorial

    1. Base object

    Create a cylinder. This is your hypothetical starship hull. It could be a cube or a plane just as well, but doing it with a cylinder proves this technique works in more than just easy cases!

    greeble_001_baseobj.jpg&size=640

    2. Make greeble objects

    Now, create some other objects. These will be your greebles. They can be whatever you want. Make some boxes, with varying scales. Make an icosphere. Make another cylinder. Anything you like. Don't spent more than 30 seconds on any of them. The point (for the moment) is not building a crazy greeble library (though this technique can be applied to one!). I moved the pivot points/origins on some of these objects to be on their "bottom" face. The only thing I strongly recommend is that you not make the "bottom" of each object coplanar with the others, relative to their origins. Vary them a bunch. We'll touch on why later.

    greeble_002_greebleobj.jpg&size=640

    3. Collect 'em all!

    Add all of these objects to a Collection (Ctrl G, by default). Call it something memorable.

    greeble_003_collection.jpg&size=640

    4. A hairy situation

    Back on your cylinder, go to the Particle Settings tab of the Object Properties panel. Click [+] to add a particle system and change it from Emitter to Hair. Yes, Hair. We're going to adjust some Emission settings later, but you can leave them as-is for now. Do turn on Advanced and (then) ]Rotation, however.

    greeble_004_particles.jpg&size=640

    In the particle settings, go down to Render and change Render As to Collection. Under the now-present Collection submenu, choose your Greeble collection. You'll immediately see some cool stuff, but make sure you turn on: Pick Random (so objects are chosen at random from the collection), Object Rotation (so you can rotate your greeble objects to reorient, if needed), and Object Scale (so that you can scale them and see that respected). Go back up to Rotation and set Orientation Axis to Normal, so that our greebles are oriented to our object's face. The rest of the settings can be left at default. Phase can be fun, as can Randomize Phase. Randomize itself is not as useful because it leads to chaotic greebles, but play around with it to your heart's content.

    Having done that, you may also want to rotate some of your greebles at this juncture!

    greeble_005_greeblering.jpg&size=640

    If you want to adjust the proportion of the objects, so that some appear more often than others, you can do that under the Use Count section after checking the checkbox. If you have one object you only want to appear once for every 100 objects, you can set it to 1 and then evenly divide 99 amongst the others available, for example. Maybe I want my icosphere and smokestack greebles to be relatively rare, so I'll set them to 1 and the rest to 5.

    greeble_006_count.jpg&size=640

    You may have noticed that we just have a band of greebles along our cylinder right now. That's governed both by our cylinder geometry and the Source settings under Emission. We could just subdivide our cylinder to get more greeble bands, but instead, let's change Distribution from Jittered to Random* and crank up Number to something like 2000 -- thisis why you keep your initial objects simple! You can also adjust Hair Length (which governs object scale) if needed. Segments can just be 2 (the minimum), since we're not actually trying to use the Hair system to do Hair here.

    * (Sidebar: you can use Jittered and play around with Particles/Face and Jittering Amount to get nice-looking distributions, as well, and for some seed surfaces this may be the exact right thing to do. For this example, Random worked better.)

    greeble_007_greeblecover.jpg&size=640

    4. Make it real

    Alright, now we've got this virtual greeble surface geometry. How do we make it real? Flip over to the Modifiers tab and you'll find a modifier for our ParticleSettings, with a handy [ Convert ] button on it. Push it! ...and then wait a while for the "hair" greebles to bake into a single object. Unfortunately, this appears to be a single-threaded process, so it can take some time. Eventually, you'll find yourself staring at a whole bunch of selected objects (2000, to be exact!). Cool!

    Once you've done this, remove the particle system from the Cylinder object!

    greeble_008_convert.jpg&size=640

    5. Mass-Booleans (Optional)

    But wait...trying to mess around with 2000 objects sounds awful. Can we do anything about that? We can, and our saving grace here is the BoolTool addon that comes bundled with Blender. BoolTool is aimed at making boolean operations slicker. It's still the basic boolean modifier operations under the hood, but it's a nicer interface for certain operations...including mass-applying boolean operations to several objects at once!

    How you approach this depends largely on your system. With a beefy enough system, you (probably) could select all 2K greeble objects and run BoolTool > AutoBoolean > Union, then walk away for a few hours while it churned through everything. For my part, even with 2K objects, I was inclined to pick smaller batches to do at a time, starting with just 10 and then working up until I found a number that felt like a decent balance of "Blender is just busy" and "...did Blender crash?" responsiveness. 50 took about 20 seconds; 100 about a minute. I settled somewhere between 100 and 200. The other potential issue here is that if one boolean operation starts causing nonmanifold geometry that propagates boolean errors forward, the entire operation will end up with a garbage result, so doing them in smaller batches lets you catch this earlier.

    greeble_009_unioned.jpg&size=640

    Note 1: you need to make sure one of the objects in your selection is the active object, or BoolTool will give you an error.

    Note 2: Boolean operations hate overlapping faces (and objects with malformed/inconsistent/wrong-facing normals!), which is why I advised not making any of your greeble objects have coplanar faces relative to their respective origins! If you find your greeble objects are resulting in terrible boolean results, one trick you can try is using Object > Transform > Randomize Transform with all of your greeble objects selected, and restrict the randomization to location and/or scale, keeping the variations very small. This will jitter the faces enough per-object that the boolean operation should complete OK, without drastically affecting the placement of your greebles.

    Note 3: It's not strictly necessary to boolean all of them together, and in some cases you may not want to, but the next step is made easier by doing so, and if you intend to apply a geometry bevel (as opposed to shader bevel) to your greebles, having them be a single object will make those beveled edges look nicer.

    6. Detail applied

    One benefit to combining everything into one object -- although, admittedly, BoolTool would allow you to do this without having to combine everything, too -- is that you can then further carve up your greebles to fit them to specific places on your geometry, which in turn also makes them take on additional unique shapes on top of what they've already got.

    greeble_010_moreboolean.jpg&size=640

    II. Practical Example

    To put my money where my mouth is, here's an example of using this technique on a part of my Coronado model. The sensor wells were looking a little bare with just the big greeble objects in place; too plain. To fix that, I chose a small subset of the faces on which I wanted additional surface detail and duplicated + separated them out to their own object. I applied the method above, then created further boolean objects from the larger original surfaces in order to isolate the greebling detail to just locations where I wanted it.

    greeble_011_coroexample.jpg&size=640

    Hope this is useful to you!
    P5ych0p4thora tzoFreakGuerrillaComcowolfman
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. Thanks!

    Thanks, Brandenberg and evil_genius_180!

    Managed to knock out the modeling of the dorsal shuttlebay over the course of the day today. Hooray for largely-reusable elements!

    coro_2019-06-30-1109.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-30-1333.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-30-1531.jpg&size=320

    Terrible denoising artifacts on that one, but meh.

    coro_2019-06-30-2137.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-30-2155.jpg&size=320

    Noticed some pretty nasty old topology in that last render there around the panels just below the launchways, so I next set to work rebuilding those panels from denser, more evenly distributed curves. Got through 3 of the 5 before realizing it was probably time for bed! :grin:
    FreakLizzy777evil_genius_180ashleytinger
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. Thanks!

    Thanks, @evil_genius_180 !

    Was out of town for GenCon (my first time!), and the week prior to it was a whirlwind of in-person D&D sessions, so have only really been able to get any progress done in the last week or so.

    The next big item on the agenda was finalizing what to do with the actual launch doors. After some experimenting, I decided I liked horizontal staggered sliding panels. Unfortunately, in order to make them not overly huge and also reasonably thick (~30cm, my standard hull thickness), I had doors that didn't fit into the door frame I had made! Time to rebuild the entire outer shell of the Specter bay, I guess!

    coro_2019-08-08-1728_ogl.jpg

    Pictured above is the "how am I going to patch this up?" screenshot of despair on top, with the end result (using a red carpaint matcap to look for mesh distortion) on the bottom. The Shrinkwrap modifier, using some freshly-built and very clean target meshes, made reworking the area a lot less painful than it would have otherwise been. That'd turn out to be foreshadowing for later tasks. Speaking foreshadowing, anyone remember this?
    McC wrote: »
    Shrink Wrap is a dirty, evil modifier that I try to avoid wherever possible.

    Yeah...my opinion on that topic has changed over the years. :sweat_smile:

    In any event, I ended up putting together a quick rig and cooked up a viewport render to see how it looked opening.

    evil_genius_180Lizzy777Brandenbergsrspicer
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. Thanks!

    Thanks, evil_genius_180 and Rekkert! Certainly been a long road since that first post at this point. :sweat_smile:

    Today's post brought to you by adventures in rabbit holes.

    Since October's renders, I did some more reading about the filmic lighting model and various aspects of trying to cultivate a more physically-based approach to surfacing and lighting generally. One of the big shifts is the use of correct, high-intensity lights where appropriate...such as when directly lit by the sun. I decided to remove the flat environment light that I'd been using (instead replacing it with an emissive value that more or less matched actual starlight) and cranked up the intensity on my main sunlamp to match the intensity of the sun on the surface of the Earth in broad daylight. The result was quite striking:

    coro_2019-06-11-1645.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-11-1716.jpg&size=320

    I had some obvious sampling noise that I was going to have to deal with at some point, but as a first experiment, I was pretty happy with the result.

    Still, that shuttlebay wasn't going to model itself. To give myself some direction, I put together a collage of existing Trek inspirations I wanted to pull from to use as a point of reference. I drew from stills and unused concept art of the Sovereign-class, as well as stills from Voyager of the Intrepid-class and cooked up this:

    coro_aft_bay_plans.jpg&size=320

    I next kicked out a render from a camera inside the shuttlebay with a wide FOV, capturing everything from the edge of the bay doors to the midpoint of the control room window to use as a background plate to paintover and plan direct features.

    coro_2019-06-15-0236.jpg&size=320 coro_aft_bay_paintover.jpg&size=320

    Thus armed with some specific items to work on, I set to work.

    coro_2019-06-16-1122.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-16-1428.jpg&size=320 coro_2019-06-16-1638.jpg&size=320

    In all of this, I also kept futzing with materials and rendering settings. That from-the-outside-in shot above took 40 minutes to render, but I noticed that several of the tiles in the center seemed to take much longer to render than the rest of the image, and I couldn't figure out why...until I pieced together that the CPU+GPU rendering mode of Cycles was on by default in my GPU Compute render settings, and the middle 7 tiles were being rendered by the CPU, not the GPU! Dialing down the tile size to something more CPU-appropriate like 32x32 brought the render time back down to ~6 minutes. Turning off the CPU and leaving the tile size at 256x256 was about the same, so I decided to keep things simple and leave the renders as GPU-only.

    Having stumbled across that, I wondered what other rendering and lighting settings I could futz with. I kept on seeing a lot of sampling noise in the renders, which I didn't want to just throw more samples at. Brute force can be the answer, but it should at least be a last resort! I did a bunch of A/B testing by changing one render parameter multiple times and then flipping between results in GIMP to see the difference. I used this approach to settle on a number of bounces for each ray type that seemed to be right around where adding more bounces made little to no difference.

    Even so, with the bay open, the full ship enabled, and the bright sun lamp blasting light into the scene, it was still noisy at 2000 samples (500-2000 is where I usually render these). I did a pass through all my materials, tweaking settings and making sure there weren't incorrect settings (There were some! Escape Pods definitely don't need Multiple Importance Sampling!), simplifying half-complete experimental shader networks down to simpler ones for the sake of simple WIP renders, and so on. Still noisy.

    Frustrated, I decided to really stress-test things by picking a small-but-noisy section of the image and crank the sample count up and up and up to see how high I had to go. Even at 8000, I still had noise! In a huff, I cranked it up to 12000 samples and let it render for two hours.

    coro_2019-06-17-0806.jpg&size=320

    Still noisy! Grr!

    I shared some of these images on the SFM Discord and several folks immediately questioned why I wasn't using the built-in Denoiser. In point of fact, quite a few of the earlier images posted do use the Denoiser, but I had turned it off when debugging the CPU+GPU slow render speed issue and pressed on with it off in case using it was masking some other problem(s) (like bad light bounce settings, bad material settings, etc.).

    I also wasn't wild about it because I like to render out each of the passes separately and use Blender's Compositor to assemble the image piecemeal, processing different layers to achieve different effects (e.g. bloom on bright surfaces, the glow on the emissive surfaces, the radial flares on the running lights, etc.) As far as I can tell, there isn't a way to get the Denoised passes from Blender, only the Denoised final image.

    However, Daemoria pointed me toward an alternate plugin that I hadn't heard about that I'm planning to give a try next!
    Lizzy777Freakashleytingerevil_genius_180
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. No, this is not the Insignia class. Thanks!

    Thanks, @evil_genius_180 and @Brandenberg!

    Still at it! Also, I'm a dad now!

    I've been posting periodic updates in Discord since I've gotten back around to working on the model again (after another half-year hiatus!). The new Intel denoising node in more recent versions of Blender has more or less solved my demoralizing noise issues entirely, which is awesome. I set about the arduous process of UVing the main hull (the saucer has been UVed for a while, as evidenced by the multiple color tones on it). I should've kept up with my UVs as I went, but I got lazy, and now I'm paying for it!

    In the process of doing so, I started seeing more and more mesh distortion, especially around the windows in the main hull. I knew if I didn't address it, it'd eat at me forever, so I rebuild every single offending panel with significantly higher polygon density and vastly superior loop flow, then re-integrated it into the existing (and now quite a bit lower resolution, though it doesn't show thanks to the placement of the panels) hull. Finally finished that this evening, so I can now return to UVing and--hopefully soon--actually do some texture work and, maybe, possibly, finish this project at last.

    Some "establishing" renders from Feb. 8th, just to refresh on the overall look of the ship.
    coro_2020-02-08-1138.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-02-08-1140.jpg&size=320

    Added an underside fill light on the 10th, no longer lit only by the single sun-bright key.
    coro_2020-02-10-1349.jpg&size=320

    After chatting with @Viper on Discord, switch to the same HDRI he uses in his WIP renders on the 18th.
    coro_2020-02-18-1656.jpg&size=320

    Before/after comparison of the hull panel rebuild and the comparative mesh density from yesterday evening.
    coro_2020-02-22-2244_ogl.jpg&size=320

    Render of the finished panel rebuild from this evening.
    coro_2020-02-23-2313.jpg&size=320

    Not-quite-the-same-but-close before/after comparison render from the same angle as above of the overall wires of the ship from last summer and now.
    coro_2020-02-23-2338_wire_old.jpg&size=320 coro_2020-02-23-2331_wire.jpg&size=320
    Lizzy777BrandenbergJES
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    If you're just joining this thread, hi! Please read the first post for some background info. Many questions have come up over and over again that are answered there. Thanks!

    Thanks, @evil_genius_180 !

    Haven't been idle on this, just haven't taken the time to put together a post!

    Continue to add ceiling detail and added big ol' status displays to the main columns. They're about 3 meters tall, so nobody'll miss w hat they have to say! For now, I just slapped the old MSD image that Jester made onto it, but the idea is that it'll display ship status, launch status, and Specter readiness level. That'll be a fun vector graphic to put together... :grimace:
    coro_2019-07-08-1446.jpg

    Next thing to do was the aft end of the bay, which I had been largely ignoring. The main issue is that the wall panel detailing I've been using for all the bays didn't quite coincide nicely with the deck layout for this bay in particular. After some hemming and hawing, I ended up putting a mid-deck observation/control room there, reasoning that people needing to walk up or down a half-deck of stairs was probably fine.
    coro_2019-07-09-1333.jpg

    Originally, I had envisioned that the Specters would be retrieved similar to the way runabouts landed on DS9's landing platforms. Here's what a mockup of that looks like, with mostly-finished wall detailing:
    coro_2019-07-13-1618.jpg

    However, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea of the Specters having to gently come in for a landing on a landing pad, and then be slowly lowered back down into the bay. Actuated, moving parts are neat and all, but does it even make sense here? After conferring with folks in the SFM Discord as well as some of the old Coronado players with a vested interest in this particular topic, I decided to ditch the platform and instead go with the idea that tractor emitters placed around the retrieval hatch, as well as in the floor, would be sufficient to pull the Specters back in.

    Regardless, I still needed a hatch through which the Specters could return, which meant making one! Proof of concept, the timing of which almost certainly needs revisiting:
    Lizzy777evil_genius_180Freak
  • U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    Thanks, @psCargile !

    Texture work continues.

    Because it's come up several times when soliciting feedback, I should stress that the only (deliberate) texture on most of these is the flat color texture. I've pulled out the roughness and bump passes that I had on here before, as well as extracted out the metal color texture that I had mixed into the mess, as well. That's why the surface tends to look so much more bland than it has in prior renders; it's not indicative of a final look, but rather a stripped-down version aimed specifically at hammering out one particular kind of texture component. Even in just the color channel, I'm still planning to mix in some micro-paneling detail (see below for some experiments with this!), some procedural edge weathering, a general light scuff pass, and selectively mix how intense the actual color pass comes through.

    Finished vectorizing my sketched-in panel lines from last time (Nov 14):

    coro_2020-11-14-1216.jpg

    Vectorized the sketched-in texture detailing on the "notch" (Nov 15):

    coro_2020-11-15-1023.jpg

    Spent some time experimenting with different configurations for what I want the blue accenting on the engineering hull to look like, finally settling on the below for the dorsal side. Also vectorized the top-side pylon texture (Nov 21):

    coro_2020-11-21-1444.jpg

    Same, but on the ventral side of the engineering hull. This also shows some stuff I've been messing with for mixing world-projected "decals" into the texture for signage. I had previously been using a UV Project modifier and multiple UV channels to do this. What you see here is entirely in-shader, no extra UV layers required. Instead, I just use a non-rendering square plane scaled (this is important) to the desired size, and then fed through the shader via Texture Coordinate > Object, fed into a Mapping node, and then alpha-mixed ontop of the base color. There about half a dozen of these in the shader now. The banner itself is its own 4K texture, albeit not 4K on the vertical dimension (also Nov 21):

    coro_2020-11-21-1722.jpg

    That night, I started thinking about how I might work in some procedural micro-paneling into the hull. While aztec paneling is probably Trek's most famous hull paneling, conventional aztec was less of a thing on the filming model of Enterprise-E and was also absent on the physical and digital models of Voyager, both of which have been my aesthetic touchstones for surface detail on this ship. Instead, one particular image stuck in my mind as a fascinating inspiration: the shot of Picard, Worf, and Hawk walking across the Enterprise-E saucer in First Contact. I pulled a selection of the hull out of the image and perspective-corrected it into a rectangle and have had this setting in my reference folder for a while as something to return to.

    Hawk_Picard_and_Worf_in_space_on_the_saucer_of_the_Enterprise-E.jpg
    sovereign_panels_adjusted.png

    I spent a good chunk of yesterday messing around with how to do this procedurally. It started with a Manhattan-style voronoi texture and a bullheaded certainty that I could figure out how to create an "edge extract" effect entirely within Blender's shader nodes. Turned out that yes, indeed, I could!

    material_2020-11-22-2042.jpg

    The shader node for that is pretty large, but it's also fairly straightforward. Posted here, with annotations, for anyone interested in using a similar effect:

    micropanel_shader_network.jpg

    I took a crack at a first-pass implementation on Coro herself, with promising (if in desperate need of tweaking) results. I tried letting the voronoi component of the network use the actual UVs, which in hindsight was a mistake given the varied scale of the UVs (which the main texture UDIMs account for, but generated object coordinates would not). I also need to back off how strong the color variance is, and let the roughness -- which s not hooked up to this at all yet -- do most of the heavy lifting there. But on the whole, I was very happy with the initialy results of what started as a though experiment.

    coro_2020-11-22-2144.jpg

    omnipotentJESLizzy777