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  #101  
Old 10-01-2009, 10:37 AM
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The Science Officer The Science Officer is offline
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Hi Folks,

It's been almost a week since I last updated the thread. I've been working on a new bottom to the saucer, which should overcome problems in illumination and reflections.

The saucer shape has been tweaked to better match the original. A new Aztec pattern texture has been created as the original supplied one never sync'ed with the deflector grid.

Most of the effort though has been spent on cutting out the grid and hatches. Doing this whilst minimizing errors is a lot of work and gives you a lot of respect for those who model entire starships! The new saucer is very tidy, but due to over-zealous use of C4D's Optimize feature, I've got a bit of wobble in the points of the mesh. It's under 1cm, but the saucer symmetry isn't perfect.

Illumination tests look very promising, with no evidence of the two tone error. Reflections do break down on edges as expected. I have yet to implement my workaround to resolve that.




Still got much to do:
  1. Cut out portholes.
  2. Complete hatch cutting.
  3. New phaser clusters to replace old ones.
  4. New deflector grid mesh to replace old one.
  5. Modify texture map for use in existing shaders.
  6. Integrate new saucer into model.
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  #102  
Old 10-07-2009, 02:18 AM
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The Science Officer The Science Officer is offline
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I've done a little bit more work over the last few days. The saucer now has some new phasers.

I have been distracted by the issue of shaders. As you may recall, the biggest issue I have is render times - caused by the combination of radiosity and blurred reflections. I was looking for some inspiration and remembered the images of the Apollo command/service module I had (one of which is posted on the thread somewhere).

My thinking is this - what if the hull is very reflective with no discernable blur? That would be like the skin of the command module. What if the green parts of the hull (around deflector/warp core etc) were not so green and were dull like the service module?

This would significantly reduce the area requiring blurred reflections and improve rendering times.

Of course this would mean the Enterprise would look different, especially if it is near a planet. In deep space it would look more conventional. I have included 2 test renders below...


In deep space.


Near the Earth.
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  #103  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:07 AM
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The Science Officer The Science Officer is offline
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I finally completed sculpting the port holes today. Like most things on this new saucer, they are different to the old ones. The positions are much closer to reference photos of the TMP model and I've added a small rim.

I'm also more convinced that the new shaders will make for a better looking Enterprise. I superimposed the new saucer on top of one of the older renders and it looks much better. The dark void will eventually contain reflections of other parts of the ship. The new saucer looks like it fits into the environment whilst the old one looks more like a drawing.

I'm tempted to carry on remodelling parts of the ship I'm not happy with. But for now I'll try to merge this into the old model and see what happens.


Apollo reference image.


New saucer superimposed on old render.
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  #104  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:07 AM
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Zardoz Zardoz is offline
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Looking real darnned good!
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  #105  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:45 AM
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The Science Officer The Science Officer is offline
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Thanks Zardoz,

A few weeks back I was considering packing it in. I just couldn't get those inverse-square lights to work. But having created a new saucer bottom, the illumination now works and the new shader fits it into the environment a lot better.

I suspect many other parts will need remodelling as they are likely to suffer from the same problems. But doing this in C4D and thinking ahead as not to introduce errors is a slow process.
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  #106  
Old 10-27-2009, 11:16 AM
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The Science Officer The Science Officer is offline
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It's been a few weeks since my last post - how time flies.

I think I've caught the modelling bug! After my first attempt at doing the bottom of the saucer, I decided to do other parts. Slowly I'm learning to use C4D's modelling tools to full effect.

I've done the rim and most of the navigational array. The black squares on the NA have been painted in for now. I need to cut in some squares with rounded corners and then extrude them slightly. I've also got to decide on what to do with the spotlights. That leaves a second attempt on the phasers and a first attempt on the navigation lights on the rim.

The next big job will be the top of the saucer, deck 2 and the bridge.



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