So this project started with these images I found online a while ago. The images are of a closeup model of the engineering section of the refit Enterprise created for The Wrath of Khan. What struck my eye was all the little graphic details that they model makers had put onto the model. Apparently, they felt that since this was such a close up shot of the ship, that they needed to give it another layer of detail that was not really visible on the regular shooting model.
Anyway, this gave me the idea to apply this level of detail to the entire ship in 3D. Using these photos as a reference - along with other online resources on the graphic design from the first motion picture - I began to add some design elements to the existing textures of the Enterprise Refit model by Al Dinelt (Tralfaz).
What I quickly discovered was that these details were way too small to be clear when layered onto the existing textures. So I decided I would have to create them using geometry. I created a few details for the neck and did a few renders.
I saw that while the little graphic details were crisp and clear and could stand up to extreme closeups; the existing aztec panelling textures looked really pixellated and soft in comparison.
So, my solution was to recreate the panelling textures using geometry as well. I first bumped up the contrast of the original aztec textures so I could easily distinguish between the different colors of reflectivity. I then became the long and tedious process of tracing the shapes of the aztec patterns onto the actual geometry. I had to subdivide the geometry quite a bit overall, but eventually I had created separate geometry for each color of the aztec patterns and for each color of the various other textures, colors and graphic elements that appear on the ship.
After some research into the actual physical painting of the studio model from The Motion Picture, I learned that there were only four main pearlescent colors used on the model. To simulate where two or more colors overlapped, I simply created a new color. In the end, I ended up creating twelve sets of geometry for the aztec patterns.
My next step will be to take my high contrast colors and develop a suitable pearlescent material. Iím sure I will be tweaking this throughout the rest of the process, but I want to get that somewhat in order before I start creating all the little details for the rest of the ship.
I know that this wonít be technically screen accurate after Iím done because there is no existing studio model with this level of detail, so I will be making a lot of this stuff up as I go. I will try to figure out some theory as to what goes whereÖ but there will be a lot of creative license taken in this project.
Of course, if any of you have any more information on these little graphic bits and would like to share - that would be greatly appreciated. For example, I remember once seeing a detailed illustration of the manual control for the airlocks, but I canít seem to find them online anywhere. Things like that.
So thatís it for now. More updates to comeÖ but Iím doing this in my free time so they will probably be rather sporatic.