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Old February 24 2009, 07:03 PM   #706
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Here is a rendering showing the hex pattern on the bussard collectors.



The entire bussard effect is still experimental at this point so don't consider anything final. For one thing, I need to redo the texture for the hex pattern at a higher resolution.

You may also notice that I used a deeper shade of blue for the warp grills in this rendering and that the RCS thrusters have a yellow-orange color, though neither of those are final either.

Finally, here is a set of before/after renderings showing some changes I made to the base mesh topography for the interface between the nacelle body and the support pylon.




You really can't see any difference in the rendered output but it makes for a cleaner joint between the two parts and should save a lot of trouble when this project eventually gets to the 3D printing phase. I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago to the joint between the secondary hull and the neck section.

Another thing I did was increase the mesh density in some parts of the nacelle body to reduce segmentation and I still need to do the same thing with some parts around the bussards. Total triangle count is somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000, though I expect that to come down a lot when I finally freeze the meshsmoothed parts and start optimizing them.
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Old February 24 2009, 07:18 PM   #707
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Vektor wrote: View Post
Here is a rendering showing the hex pattern on the bussard collectors.

Neato!
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Old February 24 2009, 09:21 PM   #708
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

I like the hex pattern, it breaks the large surface.
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Old February 24 2009, 09:58 PM   #709
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

^It definitely adds something to it, that's for sure. I think it's a good update to a component which in the TNG era has largely been untouched except for its shape.
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Old February 24 2009, 11:30 PM   #710
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

I think I do like the hex pattern more too.
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Old February 24 2009, 11:59 PM   #711
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Does the hex pattern cover the entire red membrain area or just the area inside of that gray pipping?

Not really important, im just curious
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Old February 25 2009, 01:06 AM   #712
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

It covers the entire membrane, or what I am calling the bussard "lens." However, the "piping" as you call it is a feature I'm going to change slightly in the next iteration so that the gap around it is eliminated. The more I look at it, especially from more typical viewing distances, the more that gap winds up looking like a mesh error, especially when the bussards are lit. The point being that your question will soon be rendered moot.
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Old February 25 2009, 06:52 AM   #713
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Vektor, something I've been thinking about since I saw the Big Guns ...

I wonder how they would look concealed behind a "garage door"?

That is, you put some kind of roll-back hatchway over them. This would provide for some dramatic effect, since you'd "roll out the guns" by rolling back the garage door.

It would also allow for some additional detail around the guns, since the implication is that the "garage door" exists so that you can pressurize the area around the guns for maintenance. So you could get hatchways near the big guns, warning signage, perhaps a rotating red light near the hatchways.

Just a thought, mind you. This is fantastic work, as always.
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Old February 25 2009, 06:25 PM   #714
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

That might take time to draw the guns... we need to be on the ready asap.
I like them exposed! Looks more menacing like we want to.
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Old February 25 2009, 07:02 PM   #715
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Great design, great work there!!!

Suffice to say -- a million times nicer design than the JJPrise.
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Old February 26 2009, 01:29 AM   #716
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

DakotaSmith wrote: View Post
Vektor, something I've been thinking about since I saw the Big Guns ...

I wonder how they would look concealed behind a "garage door"?
I considered a couple of different schemes for making the guns retractable or concealable but I felt that was too big a departure from the original design intent. It also doesn't make much practical sense beyond the coolness factor. So no, no garage doors.
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Old February 26 2009, 04:44 PM   #717
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

Thank you, m'lord! The intent is to be menacing, not concealment one bit. Besides the hoods, which were still a little much, these things are going to make most enemies think twice before taking an offensive posture. Our purpose is to go in on tough situations and get out in tact. Heavy Tactical Cruiser and reconnasance vessel. We work for IFT COmmand, not IFT Suggestion LOL
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Old February 26 2009, 05:52 PM   #718
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

no, no garage door. as soon as you have a garage door on something, it begins to collect lawn and garden tools, bicycles, boxes of old magazines, and that lamp which you've had since college but can't be in the house anymore because it doesn't match the furniture. and THEN try to get the guns out when you need them.
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Old February 26 2009, 06:10 PM   #719
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

LOL!! X-actly!! I was just getting to that, and the fact that the remote never works right. There would be hangar bays and shuttle bays opening randomly all over the fleet... not a pretty picture!
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Old March 5 2009, 06:59 PM   #720
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Re: USS Grandeur - One... More... Time!

I've had a couple of requests from people wanting to know how I built the Grandeur's impulse engines, so I've decided to do something I very rarely do and post a tutorial. There's really nothing fancy about it and it's probably not going to rock anyone's world in terms of technique, but some of you might find it useful.

I'm going to build this up in layers, starting with the illuminated back plane, the part that actually glows.



Next, I created a set of grills through a combination of spline extrusion and poly editing. Note the two columns of wider segments in each grill piece; when viewed from a moderate distance, these create a variation of that subtle banded effect that was first introduced on the Enterprise-E.



Then we have the actual engine housing, created through standard subdivision modeling techniques.



And for some added detail, I broke out the inner surface polys, edited them into short, even segments and then extruded them slightly.



It should be noted that the actual modeling work for all of this was mostly done in reverse, starting with the engine housing and extruded details, then the grill, then the back plane.

The final step was the addition of a standard spotlight, its beam spread asymmetrically scaled to fit the rough proportions of the engine aperture. This spotlight was set to include only the back plane for illumination and does not cast shadows. The hotspot and falloff were adjusted to make the glow a little brighter in the center.



Using the Mental Ray renderer, the back plane catches the light from the spotllight and glows appropriately, reflecting some of it back onto the grill and the engine housing in a realistic fashion. If you use the scanline renderer, the back plane will glow but you won't get any reflected light.

Here's the end result:



In my example, I'm using a darkish gray hull texture on the back plane because it makes the glow a little less even, but you really can't see it at normal viewing distances so it's probably better to just use a flat color tone. You'll have to experiment with the back plane color and the spotlight color to get the exact hue of impulse glow that you want. You can, of course, vary the glow intensity by simply changing the intensity of the spotlight.

You can also apply texture map "filters" to the spotlight if you want to match the shape of your engine aperture more precisely or don't want to mess with asymmetric scaling of the spotlight. Map filters can also let you do other things like invert the brightness levels so the engine aperture glows more brightly around the edges rather than in the center, which is something I'm thinking of trying myself.

If you want to get fancier, you could probably bake some self-illuminated textures into the engine assembly and eliminate the spotlight altogether. Calculating the reflected light among all those grill and engine housing surfaces does slow down render time a bit, even with minimal bounces and no shadows being cast. In fact, the impulse engines and the warp grills (which are lit with identical techniques) are the slowest rendering parts of this entire model by far.

Anyway, I hope that answers the questions of those of you who have asked how they were done.
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