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Old 03-19-2012, 01:17 PM
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Default TOS Constitution

I’m using Blender since it is free, and many reviews claim that Blender is very on-par with industry standards like Maya, Lightwave, etc. Using the Alex Sinclair blueprints, scouring the internet for & downloading pictures of the original model, I set out to create a virtual Constitution-Class starship.


My approach was to model the big pieces first before focusing on the details. By this point, I had gotten quite a bit done: the saucer & neck were nearly complete, and I had just finished the secondary hull & deflector housing.


Starting on the warp nacelles.


Pylons created, nacelles mounted.


Still so much more left to do.


Started the windows on the neck & got the deflector/sensor dish in place.


More windows added/cut out on the warp pylons & secondary hull. Added raised details to the flat surfaces on the secondary hull.


Started some detail work on the saucer section. Also started adding details on the nacelles.


(Almost) Completed nacelles.


The rear of the nacelles, where that ball sets into the endcap, is tricky. Because of the corrugated shape, it didn't render a smooth, flat plane. Its on my to-do list for fixing.

That's where she stands for now. There's a few things that need some tweaking: the b-c decks below the bridge, the nacelle endcaps, and (if I'm willing) correcting the shape of the secondary hull. Total time to get this far: about 6-8 months (the secondary hull was a PAIN).


Still, for picking up a book and learning as I go, this hasn't turned out too bad.

Thanks for looking.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:21 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

That's some great work there - the Lady's looking wonderful!
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

This looks great Loneknight... No fantastic is a better term.

I recently built this model in Lightwave.

Quote:
Question to the seasoned 3D modelers out there: after some thought, I began to question if I should have cut the windows out, or left the polys in but changed their transparency settings (the intent is to add lights when I get to that point, maybe a few interiors here & there). Any input?
While I am not a professional modeler just a hobbyist like yourself.

What many of the pros do for the model in close up is to build a room behind the portholes... to get that added depth to the ship........ the great thing the original and for me still the best Enterprise (ok the refit is awesome) has a few windows. another thing I notice is your primary hull....... its has segmentation on it..... I assumed you use a lathe function (I am not sure of the term used in blender) you created the profile of the saucer shape and lathe it..... giving it some sides or segments. how many sides did you give it ? ....... at a guess between 60 and 80.... hard to say without wireframes.

this is what kills models in close up shots when you render it..... or even an animation.... when I built mine I gave it 180 sides so the model can handle close ups.

Check out this approach to doing windows it shows a great approach to added windows to your model. it is another program but the approach is the same as I would do in lightwave... the tutorial is found on scifi-meshes.com

Hope this helps...

Another thing that would be interesting to me and other modelers in cgi is seen your wireframes of this model....... is handy to show other how you built it.

I hope you donīt mind me posting images of my model in your thread to show what I mean....

looking forward to see more..

PS .. Donīt ask about texturing ...... its an area I an not very good at.....
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:51 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Thanks for the kind words, guys. It means a lot, and has certainly re-invigorated my motivation to keep working on it.

Taranis: thanks for posting that link for the window tutorial. I have seen it before actually, but the writers' terminology had me stumped. Since he was working in 3DS Max, I have no idea whether the tools or features are transferable to Blender. I'll have to take another look at his tutorial & see if there's anything I can extrapolate from it. Worst case: I go to Blenders' forums & start asking there.

Regarding the segmentation...I have noticed it in several renders as well. Initially, it was to keep poly count low for pity on the machine I was using (also as a noob following an author's insistence to keep poly count low for render times). As I progressed further on the model however, I realized that re-doing the primary hull was a strong possibility.

I did use a 'lathe'-like function, though (in Blender it's called "Spin"). Again, because I didn't want to kill my PC, I kept the step-count around 12-15. After smoothing it & adding an additional subdiv surface smoother, I setup the mirror. Now, I don't know how Lightwave does it, but Blender uses a mirror 'modifier': basically, it's a non-destructive setting that dupes the geometry without adding any additional polys; I can turn it on & off at will, but if I want I can 'apply' the modifier to add the extra, mirrored geometry to the model. Since the window placement is staggered on some areas of the saucer I had to permanently set the mirror, but lately I've noticed that in close-ups there's a thin seam running right through the middle of the saucer (it goes away, strangely enough, when I render the shot. Editing inside of Blender, it's sometimes painfully obvious).

I'll try & post wireframes soon, and I certainly don't mind you posting wireframes of your model. Your Connie looks very nice, by the way!
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loneknight View Post
Thanks for the kind words, guys. It means a lot, and has certainly re-invigorated my motivation to keep working on it.

Taranis: thanks for posting that link for the window tutorial. I have seen it before actually, but the writers' terminology had me stumped. Since he was working in 3DS Max, I have no idea whether the tools or features are transferable to Blender (I'm sure they are, but I still have yet to find a lingo translator between 3D programs ). I'll have to take another look at his explanation & see if there's anything I can pick out from it. Worst case: I go to Blenders' forums & start asking there. It isn't that I'm not finding ways of creating windows (obviously...my pictures show a great deal of them), but I'd love to know if there's an easier way at it...especially since, down the road, I'd love to tackle the Enterprise-D.

As for your comment about the segmentation...I have noticed it in several rendered shots as well. Initially, the idea was to keep poly count low for pity on the machine I was using (also as a noob following an author's insistence to keep poly count low for render times...I gotta stop following ALL the instructions ). As I progressed further on the model however, I realized that re-doing the primary hull was a strong possibility.

You are correct that I used a 'lathe'-like function, though (in Blender it's called "Spin"). Again, because I didn't want to kill my PC, I kept the step-count around 12-15. After smoothing it & adding an additional subdiv surface smoother, I setup the mirror. Now, I don't know how Lightwave does it, but Blender uses a mirror 'modifier': basically, it's a non-destructive setting that dupes the geometry without adding any additional polys; I can turn it on & off at will, but if I want I can 'apply' the modifier to add the extra, mirrored geometry to the model. Since the window placement is staggered on some areas of the saucer I had to apply the mirror, but lately I've noticed that in close-ups there's a thin seam running right through the middle of the saucer (it goes away, strangely enough, when I render the shot. Editing inside of Blender, it's sometimes painfully obvious).

I'll try & post wireframes soon, and I certainly don't mind you posting wireframes of your model. Your Connie looks very nice, by the way! I hope mine turns out just as good.
I donīt know much about Blender so I cannot help as much as I would like....... Lathe is Spin in Blender I have to remember that.

what kind of machine do you have....... Ram wise...

Between 100 sides or Spins..... and 180 would be enough.. all you need is to texture it...... a Blender forum should help a lot there.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

I'm building the Connie on two machines: The first is a desktop with 4GB of ram, AMD dual core @ around 3.0ghz, and an ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card. The second is a laptop, but I don't have the specs in front of me right now.

Thanks for your feedback, by the way! After your comment I decided to create a new saucer, stepped it 100 times @ 180 degrees. The results certainly look better:


Performance-wise, my laptop bogged down when I switched the viewport shading from 'Solid' to 'Textured' ('Textured' view tries to display the model as it would appear when I go to render it, but it tries doing this in real-time). The desktop appears un-phased...I just need to remember to keep the viewport in 'Solid' mode for the time being.


Still need to apply the mirror modifier, but the saucer definitely looks better! Note the white-ish square to the top-left: trying my hand at applying different materials to the model as I'm re-adding details.

I'll probably work on the details of the saucer first before starting textures. There's a wealth of tutorials I've seen to get me started, but I probably won't start that until I get the windows & cargo hatches/landing legs (whatever the hell those triangular thingies are supposed to be on the bottom of the saucer) finished.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loneknight View Post
I'm building the Connie on two machines: The first is a desktop with 4GB of ram, AMD dual core @ around 3.0ghz, and an ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card. The second is a laptop, but I don't have the specs in front of me right now.

Thanks for your feedback, by the way! After your comment I decided to create a new saucer, stepped it 100 times @ 180 degrees. The results certainly look better:


Performance-wise, my laptop bogged down when I switched the viewport shading from 'Solid' to 'Textured' ('Textured' view tries to display the model as it would appear when I go to render it, but it tries doing this in real-time). The desktop appears un-phased...I just need to remember to keep the viewport in 'Solid' mode for the time being.


Still need to apply the mirror modifier, but the saucer definitely looks better! Note the white-ish square to the top-left: trying my hand at applying different materials to the model as I'm re-adding details.

I'll probably work on the details of the saucer first before starting textures. There's a wealth of tutorials I've seen to get me started, but I probably won't start that until I get the windows & cargo hatches/landing legs (whatever the hell those triangular thingies are supposed to be on the bottom of the saucer) finished.
What I meant was setting the segments either at 100 or 180 and 360š ,,,, but having 200 sides will definitely be better

I have a tutorial I done for the Enterprise but in Lightwave.. I am re editing it at the moment......
some awful error in grammar
Oh I will say that the 2nd and 3rd deck or that teardrop shape as some call it, the approach I used was one used also in Blender. I can get you that link too if you like

4 gig is what I have.. you have enough ram......... of course it also depend on blender.... but I have not heard of any performance issues with blender
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
What I meant was setting the segments either at 100 or 180 and 360š ,,,, but having 200 sides will definitely be better

I have a tutorial I done for the Enterprise but in Lightwave.. I am re editing it at the moment......
some awful error in grammar
Oh I will say that the 2nd and 3rd deck or that teardrop shape as some call it, the approach I used was one used also in Blender. I can get you that link too if you like

4 gig is what I have.. you have enough ram......... of course it also depend on blender.... but I have not heard of any performance issues with blender
I see what you meant regarding the segments now. I didn't want to go too crazy with it, so 100 steps looked decent. Whether I choose to do close-ups or not may determine how much more detail I add, but at least this way the saucer will look good from any distance.

I'd love to take a look at your tutorial for the b/c decks (2nd & 3rd...whatever it's called, lol). I was happy with how mine turned out, save for the back-top of the teardrop, so any additional advice would be great!
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Here is that tutorial for the Enterprise in Blender by Scifieric.

http://www.3dscifi.com/forums/showth...mage-Intensive!
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

The re-designed saucer is definitely an improvement:


All of the cuts made so far were to get the mirrored elements done. After I apply the mirror, I can continue adding in the rest of the details.

The details were added by way of boolean operations. If there was an easier way to do this I'd kill for it. Still, a little clean-up and the cuts look pretty darn good.



It may just be me, but the top of the saucer looks more like a pimple. Maybe its the angle, the lighting, or just the default material. I'm hoping it will look better after I get into materials & texturing.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

It looks a lot better..... the lower saucer looks great, I see what you mean about the top...

some wireframes would help.

This ship while a simple one by many standards can cause problems to get right.... its a unforgiving design that way..

It took me 5 attempt's to get it and to finish it and I will work on it again.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
This ship while a simple one by many standards can cause problems to get right.... its a unforgiving design that way..
...and here I thought she'd be just enough of a challenge to build in 3D. Oy...

Well, here's the wireframes. Looking at the fore of the ship:


Side:


Top & bottom perspective shots:



When I lined up the saucer with the Sinclair blueprints, I only saw a very slight deviation (actually, it looked more like my saucer was slightly taller compared to the prints...go figure). The top curve of the saucer appears correct, so I'm hoping that the previous image I posted was just the way in how I setup the camera.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

Looks good ....... Thanks for the wire-frames

I used Charles Casimiro Blueprints for mine.....
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

I've seen the Casimiro prints, and I use them (among a TON of reference photos found all over the internet) to help define details.

The Sinclair prints are nice though because he offers them in standard image formats, along with DWG and DXF formats. I can view them with Solidworks' eDrawings viewer (free download, btw) to get ridiculously up-close for details. Plus, the DWG format can be ported over to Illustrator and converted to high-res images. It may be overkill, but the bigger the image that I can get into Blender and use as my background template, the less squinting I have to do (plus, being an anal-retentive graphics guy, I tend to get hung up on the details ). Also, when I 'port it to Illustrator I can save it as a .svg, which Blender can import & convert the lines to a 2D mesh. I used that trick a few times to help with proportions & sizing of my objects.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: TOS Constitution

So work & life have dominated most of my time as of late (had to get a new car, building a website by myself for work...and I thought 3D modeling was tough ), but I managed to sneak in some progress on the Connie.

Because booleans seemed to be the best route for the windows, it required creating individual 'cutters' for every window on the saucer. This shot shows the cutters for the lower saucer, since by this point I had created the windows around the saucers' outer perimeter.


Creating one window is a multi-step process in Blender. I can go into details if someone asks, but for each window it involves about 6 steps (a few more if you're checking to make sure your normals are going the right direction). It borders on laborious, but the results turned out far better than the original process I was using.
Here's a shot of the cutters intersecting the faces where the windows will appear. These faces were separated from the rest of the saucer, and will be re-integrated once all the notches are made.

Separating the specific faces, or polygons, from the rest of the saucer mesh isn't exactly necessary. Because I'm using boolean operations to create the window notches however, it makes life easier - both on yourself and your poor PC.
Booleans use a decent amount of computing power to apply its operation; the issue is that booleans will use EVERY vertex point, edge and face in a mesh to do so, even if the majority of those faces aren't even intersecting the object you're using for the operation. By isolating those polygons where the notches go, the boolean runs MUCH faster, producing a cleaner result. Its then fairly easy to re-integrate those faces back into the saucer mesh.

Took about a couple hours, but here's the end result:


The triangular sections were off (again), so I had to re-cut those. Thankfully, Blender's recent release (2.6.3) introduced n-gons, which made a few things easier...like filling in the notches with a window-looking material.


The window material isn't anything special, and certainly isn't final. I still need to fill in the windows on the secondary hull, bridge & b/c decks. After that however, I'll go back & fine-tune the window material since that's my next section of the book to tackle.


Another shot of the Connie as she appears now. I would have filled in the secondary hull windows, but it was late...and I do enjoy sleep.


One last shot looking aft...nothing special, just showing off her 'ample nacelles':


Thanks for looking.
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