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Old 7th Sep 2015, 07:13 PM   #1
David cgc
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Default Star Trek - Archer-class Scout

Here's a little something I've been working on. The Archer-class ship, most notably seen as the U.S.S. Sagittarius in the "Vanguard" and "Seekers" series of Trek novels. It's a small ship, about 45m long (the saucer is about the size of the Millennium Falcon, for comparison), with a crew of twelve.

I've finished modeling and I'm ready to begin moving on to texturing. I rendered out some shots to make sure everything is fine (I already found a smoothing problem on the flat part of the saucer and a strip of polygons missing from the left warp engine). Rather than do a standard clay render, I gave it a shiny, reflective texture with metallic highlights, sort of a cross between a Franklin Mint model and the painting of the Enterprise on the cover of the old "Cage" videotape. Looks like something Commodore Reyes might've had on his desk.

The landing gear, rear cargo door, port airlock, phaser turrets, and torpedo tube cover (not visible in these renders) are all independently animatable. They're all very rough. The pistons on the gear and door aren't rigged, they just stretch along the long axis, and there's a lot of morphing and scaling to get the landing pads to fit into the hull, with no concessions to mechanical plausibility. The designer, Masao Okazaki, described the pads as folding up like an umbrella, and I took that into account (I think I'm the first person to make even a token effort to animate them). I think it looks pretty good from a distance in an animation, but it's all very Serenity-from-the-TV-show and not Serenity-from-the-movie, if you take my meaning.

I got a little burned out on interiors after my last project, so after roughing out the rooms based on this diagram, I decided to just put in doors and leave the rest for when I felt up to doing a fully-detailed interior. Every room but the bridge and bathroom has a window or door, so I may as well do the whole thing when I get around to it.

Of course, right after I decided that, I found there was a tiny error. Based on the diagram, I assumed the loading room for the torpedo tube was only accessible from below, and the transporter was immediately aft of it on the forward bulkhead of the engineering compartment. Then I read "Long Shot," the most recent book featuring the Sagittarius, and noticed during an action scene a character was thrown from the aft of the engine compartment all the way into the torpedo rack, so I repositioned the transporter to be closer to the middle, near the ladder from the main deck. It helped that I realized that the engine deck was much more roomy that I was thinking once I scaled the transporter properly.

I also gave some thought to the skiff/lifeboat on the starboard side of the saucer. I was stymied for a long time trying to figure out how to fit twelve people into a craft small enough to fit in the slot (I was considering having it be zero-g and having seats on the ceiling, for instance), but "Long Shot" also solved by that problem by mentioning the pod only seats seven. If I model it, I think I'll go back to my original idea for it, which is a cross between this concept for the TOS shuttle and this concept for the TMP travel pod.

The next step is going to be the lighting scheme for the nacelle caps. I'm going to be using Prologic9's Constitution-class as a style and texture reference, since I'm expecting to multiple shots with an Archer and a Connie next to each other. Right now, I'm working on emulating his in-camera nacelle effect, but once I'm done I'm going to also do the cheaper, composited version using volumetric lights he described in this WIP post.
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Old 8th Sep 2015, 05:10 AM   #2
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looking forward to seeing it progress. Reading the 3d novel now.t
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Old 8th Sep 2015, 07:58 AM   #3
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Your modelling is beautiful. Everything looks very smooth and clean.
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Old 9th Sep 2015, 06:08 PM   #4
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Tiny little update: A test-shot of the in-camera nacelle effect. I'm going to move on to the volumetric light version now and then double-back to make the in-cam version consistent. It seems like it'll be easier to fine-tune the surface settings and animation on the blinking Christmas lights with the cheaper version then port them over than vice-versa.

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Old 20th Sep 2015, 08:31 PM   #5
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Slightly larger update: I've reached a point where I'm satisfied with the nacelle caps (though I'll probably keep adjusting them forever). There's a pretty big issue I didn't anticipate with the in-camera version. Since the caps on this ship are elongated and not just half-spheres, the Christmas-light effect is barely visible from the front. I was expecting to be happier with the volumetric post-production lights, anyway, but this is a major flaw for the in-camera version.

In-Camera:


Composited volumetric lights:


Animated volumetric lights: There's a glitch in this version. I have the lights animated so they stretch out along the z-axis, since spherical lights didn't work with the longer endcap. I didn't see until I rendered it that the animation didn't carry over correctly when I duplicated it for the starboard nacelle, so the effect on that side is brighter and stubbier than it should be. It's already corrected, but I didn't want to run another render.
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Old 20th Sep 2015, 11:18 PM   #6
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I find the big thing with your end caps are the stripes. The problem is, they look like stripes painted on the glass, they don't look like physical ribs inside the dome.
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Old 21st Sep 2015, 10:58 PM   #7
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Good catch. That's my bad. What happened was, I initially tried modeling the ribs as if they were physical objects with depth, but wasn't getting the effect I wanted. The first thing I tried was to upsize them a little so they were pressed right against the surface of the dome. That didn't do what I wanted (I had to reduce the strength of the glow effect and remake the blades as strips of single-sided polygons), but I forgot to shrink them back down to leave a visible, if subtle, air gap. The difference isn't really noticeable unless you flip back and forth between yesterday's and today's renders, but it's there.

I'm not sure if it solves the problem, though. I took another look at the two models used on the book covers, and both of them have very rough adaptations of the TOS engine effect, probably just straight texture maps. Maybe I'll be able to perfect it once I start putting it in a real scene and not this test environment or a black void with one single distant light.


Comped domes:


In-camera domes:



I also tweaked some of the light colors and surface settings. I'm not 100% sure what's behind the bright light around the cap on the in-camera version. It looks like light leakage. I'll need to experiment to find out, but I think there's a chance the problem will go away when the real texture is applied to the nacelle instead of the satiny showcase texture.

Next up is actually learning about texture painting. I might be able to procrastinate a bit more by stenciling the pennants and ID markings, but that's only worth an evening.
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Old 21st Sep 2015, 11:07 PM   #8
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This is cool, I've liked this little ship since I first saw the pic fro the book cover. Nice job.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 05:28 AM   #9
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Really must model this someday. BTW the crew complement is14.
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Old 22nd Sep 2015, 08:25 AM   #10
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Yes, that looks a bit better.

I suspect the rotating ribs were never meant to be part of the effect, but in the 1960's there was no way to put a frame in there to hold the lights (and bits of broken mirror and glass) and not see the frame. So we're stuck with seeing rotating ribs behind the domes.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David cgc View Post
I might be able to procrastinate a bit more by stenciling the pennants and ID markings, but that's only worth an evening.
I know myself too well. And I seem to be missing a "9" from the right side of the saucer. I always find such interesting things in these renders. Fixed now.

This weekend, will be all texturing, all the time! I've already started painting my first map for it.

I also found out when I did this that the cut-away I used to get the cross-section of the engineering deck doesn't seem to match the aft view on the final schematics, so the tail end of the ship is too short vertically. I squeezed the ship's name in there, but it looks a little awkward. I like how it slims the profile of the ship compared to the other versions that are out there, so I'm not going to re-model it. Plus it'd be a huge pain in the butt.

In any case, it's not the only tweak I made to the design. Maybe I'll omit the name from the back of the ship, I'll have to decide how I feel about crowding it in.
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Old 27th Sep 2015, 09:54 AM   #12
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Very nice work
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Old 8th Dec 2015, 08:55 AM   #13
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I finished the texturing. There's just a little bit of fine-tuning left to do with the light rig, double-checking some of the finer texturing (the grills and such), and knocking out a few more alternate registry numbers. Then, not only can I release it, I can move on to the project I needed a Sagittarius model for in the first place.
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Old 8th Dec 2015, 09:58 AM   #14
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I have to say it's and interesting design
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Old 8th Dec 2015, 06:22 PM   #15
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Very nice!
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Old 9th Dec 2015, 09:04 AM   #16
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Nice work on the textures.
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Old 19th Dec 2015, 11:00 AM   #17
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I think I'm finished with the last tweaks. All that's left to do is package the scene and writeup a Read Me and it'll be good to go into the Resources section.

I've made a handful of alternate registries for the ship. It's not all the ones on the Master List, but I didn't want to have to find more unused registry numbers and figure out more options for nose-art. My priorities were getting ships that had had starring roles in books, then ones that I could easily think of a logo for. If I may digress for a moment on the nose art...

For the Archer I decided to use the hybrid boomerang/arrowhead used as the UESPA logo in "Enterprise." I didn't want to have it pointed backwards, and I also didn't want to flip it, so it's the only one where the nose are is on the starboard side of the deflector and not on the port. It's the prototype, though, so I feel it should be a little distinctive. I also made NX and NCC versions of the hull markings.

As soon as I saw a ship was named after Merida, from "Brave," a bear paw seemed like the obvious choice. When I was researching to actually draw it, I found that most animals have startlingly similar-looking paws. I eventually settled on a ridiculous celtic-knot inspire paw tattoo, which split the difference. I found the production art for the engraving on the character's bow, but I didn't think it would fit well on the shape of the hull, and the idea of tracing it in Lightwave made my blood run cold.

The Bowman's NCC-1968 hull number confirmed it was a reference to Dave from "2001: A Space Odyssey." I came up with a too-clever-for-its-own-good idea. HAL's eyepiece had three reflected overhead lights converging on the red dot in the middle. Turn it on it's side, and it looks sort of like an abstract version of a drawn bow.

The Montana gave me some trouble. Aside from being off-theme, I wasn't sure what would be a good representation for "Montana," or even what "Montana" was in this context (assuming we wanted to pretend it was actually on-theme and not a mistake). The state? The model of bow? The name of a famous archer from the Third World War's bitter archery battles? Eventually, I remembered that states have flags, and looked up Montana's. Then I remembered state flags are terrible, so I looked for redesigned flag concepts from the public, lists of state symbols... eventually, I found [url=http://www.theus50.com/montana/quarter.php]the Montana state quarter, and traced the bison skull off of that.[/url[]

The Huang Zhong was another one where the concept came fairly quickly: his name in Chinese. It's TOS, so it didn't need to be an elaborate Serenity-style mandala. I lucked out when I noticed that my english-language computer can still display chinese characters natively, so I copied the characters off of his wikipedia page, and then cycled through the handful of chinese fonts on my machine, to pick which one I though looked best for each character.

So endth the digression. I'll also include my template file, so other people can make additional registries as the need arises without any trouble.

I lit the impulse and warp engines with translucent surfaces with lights behind them, so it would be easy to animate them or change the color (if you prefer red impulse engines to blue). I set each up with a controller null. For the nacelles, the holes in the inner grill light up, as do the globes on the end. I've included some renders of the nacelles turned on below. The inner grill will probably be flickery as hell in an animation, but if that ends up being the case, it'd be easy to replace with a glow texture. I doubt it'll come up often, though. My conception is that TOS designs would be like the TMP or JJ-verse versions, where the warp engines only glow when they're actually being used.

That's about it. I've arranged the five-view to match this one of Masao Okazaki's original drawings, and I plan to set up a before-and-after slider on my site like I did with my Enterprise-refit retexture. It'll make it easy to see all the minor changes I made.

The showcase renders are all 5K, suitable for desktops on the giant hiDPI displays of tomorrow.
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Old 19th Dec 2015, 12:16 PM   #18
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I'd say it looks pretty damn crisp and the extra registries are always a plus.
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Old 19th Dec 2015, 09:47 PM   #19
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The model has been submitted to the Resource section, but if you can't wait, you can also download it from my site. If you can wait, you can visit see the neat before-and-after comparison of the original design drawing with my model.
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 04:31 AM   #20
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Hello David cgc,




Many many thanks for this beautiful object with all its details.
I have converted it according to C4D, I hope that's ok?
greetings
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Old 20th Dec 2015, 08:35 AM   #21
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Of course. I'm happy to see it being used in other programs.
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Old 21st Dec 2015, 05:11 AM   #22
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I would rather make my own , but your would be better looking.
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Old 29th Dec 2015, 07:50 AM   #23
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Very nice, many thanks David. Downloaded the FBX/OBJ version from your site.
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Old 5th Jan 2017, 01:07 AM   #24
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I love this. Thanks for the download.
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