It only looks bad because it was posted on low-res NTSC video,...If they could go back to the original 35mm negatives, TNG could look amazing.
"They further revealed that tests had been done for a possible future Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered effort."
-Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits gave us his two cents at
San Diego Comic Con, 2006
Obviously that would be a test done from the scanning of the 35mm original camera negative to HD tape at 1080/24p.
In 1987 the 35mm telecine to standard definition video (480i) options were not great especially when recording to 1" analog videotape. Today's telecine machines working at 2k resolution really pull so much more detail and information out of camera negatives.
The costs _ARE_ very high to re-edit a show when it is not telecined as from a cut negative that was conformed (such as "ER" and "NYPD Blue" and "ST:TOS" were.) If Paramount can make a profit on fan collective remaster packages maybe they will put them out on Blu-Ray. 7 full seasons are just not worth the effort to them.
It probably is unlikely that the CGI effects projects themselves from 1987-1994 were archived, even remain accessible, or are able to be imported into todays software due to Operating Systems and software versions.
Most likely if CGI effects were recreated in HD Eden FX's Gabriel Köerner's model would be used with the current NewTek LightWave 3D v9 software to render out to 1080/24p.
Ron Moore one of the veterans of ST:TNG digital visual effects mentioned his effects on ST:TNG were created [at 29.97fps] without the 3:2 pulldown mimicing a 24fps-film-to-videotape-look.
according to the Millimeter.com March 2002 article on "ST:Enterprise" CGI effects. This is only part of the reason why the digital CGI work done on ST:TNG looked bad.
If they do decide to do it I sure hope the visual effects house contracted has access to the original Andrew Probert designs of the NCC-1701-D as well as the 3-D CGI model
as mentioned here:
ILM's John Knoll also built a CGI Electric Image model of the Enterprise-D for the 1994 film Star Trek Generations. That model was transferred to LightWave and used to create various Galaxy-class starships in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Timeless". Eden FX's Gabriel Köerner built a new CGI LightWave model for the Enterprise-D's appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise's series finale, "These Are the Voyages...".
Okay that would be the CGI model used in 1987 season 1 and future seasons 2-7, the one built by John Knoll, the one built by Gabriel Köerner as all official TV or cinema NCC-1701-Ds. I will not count the NCC-1701-Ds created for any videogames by the videogame developers.
3 different models created of the Enterprise-D. Only one CGI model was actually used on the TNG television series I believe.
One would think the two CGI models created in 1994 by John Knoll and 2005 by Gabriel Köerner would both be up to the detail level for an HD render. Surely one of those two models could be transferred to current CGI software.
If you want a look at what the recreated and rerendered Enterprise-D would look like on any Blu-Ray remaster as far as lighting, shading, and small design differences than the original TNG CGI NCC-1701-D then check out Enterprise-D's appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise's series finale, "These Are the Voyages..." for a pretty good idea (even if only in standard def.)