3D Alternate USS Enterprise – Video and Final Images

Here is a collection of animations featuring my alternate USS Enterprise. I’m pretty happy with the 3D mesh at this point and don’t see myself making any changes in the future. It was a fun exercise and I enjoyed experimenting with an iconic Sci-Fi design. If I have any regrets it’s that the ship is not as detailed as I would like, but since I don’t have a whole bank of computers and RAM at my disposal, this is the best the model will look if I want render times to remain reasonable. (more…)

Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 4

USS Enterprise thumbnailWith the release of the Star Trek: Into Darkness in just a couple of months I thought I would post the updates made to my alternate USS Enterprise. I’ve also been working on my lighting techniques in Cinema 4D to make this collection of computer generated polygons look like a physical object and a gallery at the end of the article showcases my best renders.

I’ve made some big changes to the Enterprise because I couldn’t wrap my head around two of the design elements. These two areas were the engine supports and the open/flared area around the front that looks like it would collect all sorts of space “garbage” for lack of a better term. I also made alterations to the saucer near the neck and straightened the engine supports. The curved supports are my main annoyance of both the official 2009 design of the Enterprise and my alternate design. In fact the new design of USS Enterprise might be my favourite if it weren’t for those idiotic supports. Maybe after all the carnage the ship goes through in the movie they’ll be fixed (though I doubt it)*.

I decided to do some before and after renders to show the big changes I’ve made to the design.

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Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 3

USS Enterprise thumbnailWhile I’m still tinkering with the texturing and smaller details of the mesh of my alternate USS Enterprise, I thought it was time to create a space scene. The majority of sci-fi renders of spaceships incorporate of combination of nebulas, clouds, suns, stars and planets, and unfortunately I did not strain from these conventions. In my defence these cliched elements provide a physical source of exterior illumination rather then an invisible light.*

First I rendered out a view of the Enterprise to bring into Photoshop. I made sure to make the render a TIFF file and included an alpha channel. In Photoshop the alpha channel masks/eliminates the space around the Enterprise, making the lower photoshop layers visible. I decided to use a nebula and a planet as background objects, with the nebula being the main light source. The next step was creating these objects in Photoshop.

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Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise – Part 2

USS Enterprise thumbnailSince my last post I’ve been playing around with the textures, lighting and composting of my alternate Enterprise in order to make it look “real”. I’m using Cinema 4D v.11 and the multi-pass settings to get different layers/passes of the mesh, such as a specular pass, a lighting pass, a global illumination pass, etc. I take these passes into Photoshop and create a more dynamic, realistic, render of the Enterprise using filters, opacity settings and layer settings such as Multiply or Soft Light.

Instead of having one main light I am using two, one for illumination and one for specularity. I keep the illumination light low, at around 30% and bump up the specular light to 120%. This seems to work quite well. This also gives the mesh a metallic sheen and reflective quality without actually using a reflective map, which helps keep render times down. I’ve also added textures resembling peeling paint and small dents (from space debris) to suggest the Enterprise isn’t new and has been in the far reaches of unexplored space for a while.

Click continue to see a slideshow of my alternate USS Enterprise

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Having fun with an iconic Sci-Fi Design: An alternate USS Enterprise

USS Enterprise thumbnailIts been a long time since I lasted posted (over a year in fact) so I decided to show something I’ve been working on in my spare time. I guess you could call me  a fairweather Star Trek fan. I grew up watching The Next Generation as a kid as well as the six films starring the original cast. I don’t know the ins and outs of the show or how transporters, warp drives, or the reverse tachyon side split burst array influx emitters work but I knew episodes like “Darmok” or “Best of Both Worlds” were damn good television.

One thing I liked more about the original series, and the movies as well, was the design of the Enterprise. Simple shapes were combined into an aesthetically pleasing design which suggested it could be repaired or maintained by Scotty and his underlings in the far reaches of the galaxy without retreating to any (space)ports, like sailing vessels of long ago. Yet when I first saw the new Enterprise design for 2009 re-boot film, I thought it was extremely ugly and jarring, despite sharing the same basic design features and principles as it’s 1960’s predecessor.

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