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Old April 4 2014, 02:32 AM   #46
Warped9
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

USS Mariner wrote: View Post
I've been trying to mock up a revised NX-01 in SketchUp, and I just scratch my head at how you get complicated, accurate shapes.

How do you setup your work flow?
Learning SketchUp was a process of trial-and-error.

Of course the first thing I do are draw up my designs in Illustrator or even as a basic hand sketch to get my general shapes and proportions right. I next import that drawing into SketchUp upon which I draw exact lines to form the basic templates of the shapes I want.

It really becomes a comlex puzzle to understand how everything goes together. I also establish a common anchor point so that all my measurements are related to each other and shapes can be placed exactly where they're supposed to go on the 3D model. If you look at my current model you can see a line or path that is sticking up from the saucer: that's my common reference point. whatever shape I draw and form from my initial plan has that anchor point in common with relation to where the part is located on the model. When I copy a shape to be made into something 3D I also copy that reference line so when it comes time to place the new part with the rest of the model there is no guesswork. I just grab the reference line on the new part and move it to match up with the line on the model, endpoint to endpoint. It always works exactly.

As for making complex shapes that takes a lot of thought and planning. Of course, you have to learn how to make basic shapes before you can make more complicated ones, but you're always learning with every shape and every model you make. Today I know how to tackle a complex shape, but when I started I had no clue as to how that could be done. I taught myself by doing as well as trial and error.

It also helps sometimes to avail yourself of plugins that add to the tools at your disposal. These plugins help you do things that would either be very laborious or even impossible with SketchUp's own basic set of tools. Understanding how to merge and intersect solids and cut away what you don't want also helps to get the solid shapes you want.

Initially I was encouraged by seeing very complex models done by others in SketchUp which told me such things were possible. It's simply a matter of learning how.

Take my secondary hull for example. It's basically a cone or more like a pen cap shape. Firstly I created a cross-section shape of the essential shape of the cone. From that I extruded a three dimensional solid using the "follow me" tool. Next I created the shapes that defined the cut-outs on the front and aft end of the cone. I extruded those into 3D solids and then moved them into place to intersect with my 3D cone in the right position. I then intersected the merged solids so that wherever the surfaces intersected a new line or path would be formed. once the solids were intersected I began erasing the parts I no longer needed. What was left was the unusual looking secondary hull you see on the model. then I built the fantail which involved creating the right shape and then using the "push/pull" and "scale" tools to create the solid shape I wanted. I will add here that the fantail was more challenging and time consuming than the secondary hull. I really had to think that one through before attempting it.

So far the only plugin I've had to use on this model is a "shear" tool that helped be make the unusual angled cowl fitting over the the clamshell hangar doors.

Overall I start with the major components, the major shapes, and then move on to detailing. In some respects making a model like this in 3D is similar to making a physical model from scratch. You have to know what your tools can do and how to use them. You also have to know the limitations of your materials. In ShetchUp the limitations are in how the program works and then learning how to work around it. Just as you know all the shapes are really a collection of flat surfaces with lines enclosing the shapes. The smaller the individual enclosed flat surfaces the smoother your shapes.

While I'm quite happy with my progress and being able to do almost whatever I want there are still some things I feel challenged with or that are presently beyond my ability. I hope to overcome those limitations eventually.
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Old April 4 2014, 02:57 AM   #47
gerbil
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

I actually find this design very appealing. I look forward to seeing it develop!
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Old April 4 2014, 05:03 AM   #48
sojourner
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Noted. So I can assume neither of you will be interested in how I'll be proceeding.
I still check in to see how it develops. The details still interest me if not the overall design. And hey, fellow Sketchup user. Though I haven't had any interest in modeling anything in almost a year.
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Old April 5 2014, 03:23 PM   #49
lennier1
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

Love the design, even though it makes me think you should call her "Jetsonprise".
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Old April 6 2014, 12:10 AM   #50
beamMe
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

lennier1 wrote: View Post
Love the design, even though it makes me think you should call her "Jetsonprise".
"Jetsonprise" is actually very fitting.

The design is shit, in my opinion (of course).
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Old April 6 2014, 12:38 AM   #51
sojourner
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

No need to be crass about it if you don't like it.
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Old April 6 2014, 02:55 AM   #52
Warped9
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

beamMe wrote: View Post
The design is shit, in my opinion (of course).
Thank you for gracing us with your informed and qualified opinion. We look forward to your examples of superior skill and insight.
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Old April 6 2014, 07:44 AM   #53
sunburn800
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

The design does not work for me the engineering hull is just too short and throws of the balance of the ship, but on the bright side it looks better than anything I could come up with.
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Old April 6 2014, 09:33 AM   #54
beamMe
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
beamMe wrote: View Post
The design is shit, in my opinion (of course).
Thank you for gracing us with your informed and qualified opinion. We look forward to your examples of superior skill and insight.

You clearly do have the ability to create interesting sci-fi-designs and to translate them into a 3D-model. This can be seen even in this project.
Unfortunately, I think that the design of this ship is infantile. With its stumpy secondary hull and equally far too short engine-nacelles it looks like something a small child came up with after seeing the Enterprise once, or like a really bad caricature.

The single elements of this ship are okay, but the combination of them just doesn't work.
Maybe if you shortened the neck, moved the sec-hull closer to the saucer, and gave the nacelles more girth and moved them up over the saucer... but then, this wouldn't then be your design any longer.

Last edited by beamMe; April 6 2014 at 09:43 AM.
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Old April 6 2014, 01:03 PM   #55
Warped9
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

beamMe wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
beamMe wrote: View Post
The design is shit, in my opinion (of course).
Thank you for gracing us with your informed and qualified opinion. We look forward to your examples of superior skill and insight.

You clearly do have the ability to create interesting sci-fi-designs and to translate them into a 3D-model. This can be seen even in this project.
Unfortunately, I think that the design of this ship is infantile. With its stumpy secondary hull and equally far too short engine-nacelles it looks like something a small child came up with after seeing the Enterprise once, or like a really bad caricature.

The single elements of this ship are okay, but the combination of them just doesn't work.
Maybe if you shortened the neck, moved the sec-hull closer to the saucer, and gave the nacelles more girth and moved them up over the saucer... but then, this wouldn't then be your design any longer.
You see, you've actually touched on part of why I didn't do those things.

Let me be clear. This design wasn't a solitary idea. It came in a process of evolution and trying different things.

Some of the most common things done after the TOS and TMP designs.
- Shorten the dorsal
- Make the nacelles heftier
- Lengthen the secondary hull
- Eliminate the protrusion of secondary hull and navigational deflector forward of the dorsal
- Flatten the saucer and make it more discus shaped

There's more and a lot of those could make a sort of evolutionary sense if your intent is to continue in the same continuity. But if you are restarting the continuity then you can break away and explore different ideas.

When Matt Jefferies' original design first flashed across the television screen in 1966 it was unlike untying seen before. It set the concept for Star Trek for decades to come, but more importantly at the time it was different from everything else. Up till that time sci-fi spaceships were predominantly saucers or V2 rocket like in shape. Many were run-of-the-mill while a few were very well done. Notable examples are the designs seen in Destination: Moon, Forbidden Planet, First Spaceship On Venus and the Jupiter II from Lost In Space.

MJ took some somewhat familiar elements and arranged them in a novel and well integrated way. There was also the ship's size. Compared to what had been seen before his new ship was huge. It was a cruiser or carrier in size and not just in name. And the way the ship was shown in operation, how it was photographed and how it moved all lent to creating an idea never before seen.

You can't recreate that impact, certainly not as long as you stay in a Star Trek universe. If you want to break away from that for visual impact then you step away from Star Trek and do something completely original. But playing in a familiar sandbox carries some expectations even as you're reinterpreting the individual elements.

With TNG how do you think it would have been received if the E-D had been a radically different design with little to no resemblance whatsoever to what had come before? The result would have been mostly howls of derision and disillusionment. They were doing Star Trek and the new E had to be recognizable even as it challenged MJ's ideas of proportion and functionality. The E-D was more organic looking, more softened so to speak. Whether one likes it or not it established that one can reinterpret MJ's original concept. And note that every subsequent design takes it's cues from TNG E and not the TOS E or even TMP E.

So with the idea of restarting the continuity from scratch, updating ideas to today and stepping away from what has been done since 1966-1979 I found myself faced with the question: how can I reinterpret such a (now) iconic design and and make it look more advanced while staying away from what has already been done?

I played with a lot of different ideas, some more extreme than the route I eventually settled on. I deliberately tried some things that I suspected wouldn't be suitable, but exploring those paths sometimes leads to other better and previously unrecognized ideas. I deliberately left my comfort zone. I repeatedly asked myself how far I could push the reinterpretations.

Here's an interesting thing about design. A lot of new design ideas push the envelope in terms of familiarity. Sometimes new ideas aren't universally accepted before people get accustomed to them. With time people get so used to the new forms to the point where the old forms, while still familiar, start to look odd. Modern automotive design is a good example of this. I grew up with cars of steel and chrome and whitewall tires and even remember tail fins on some of them. Some of those old designs are still beautiful, but I can't help but notice that a lot of them have come to look somewhat odd as well in terms of shape and proportion. I've gotten accustomed to more contemporary aesthetics and approaches to design.

I suspect I'm not alone in this and it will continue to happen going forward. Just as many older things can look strange to younger generations many contemporary things could look equally strange if not downright alien to previous generations. The future will be no different.

There are other things to be learned from the real world. Why is a rocket ship (such as a Saturn V) so big? It's not the engines themselves so much as the necessity to carry so much fuel. How big are the engines of a jetliner in relation to its overall size? Not very. Same with ocean going vessels like cruise liners, navy cruisers and carriers.

As I stated earlier upthread I went outside Trek for influences and inspirations. I looked at what else was being done in science fiction as well as real world and speculative design. And I looked at the work of SF illustrators and artists. I did exactly the same thing Matt Jefferies did.


In the end, though, this isn't a contest seeking universal or the widest approval. This is my thought exercise and the reasoning I bring to it. I don't pretend to except everyone to like it. Indeed I don't care if no one likes it because I'm not out to make them happy. I'm exploring my own ideas inspired by the work of others that impressed me.

It's relatively easy to stick closely to the familiar. It's a lot more difficult to move beyond that. But that's my opinion.
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Old April 6 2014, 01:21 PM   #56
lennier1
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

I understand your line of thinking, though where Jefferies' design turned out to be pretty timeless yours is more in line with era pieces like the C57-D or a Chevy Bel Air.
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Old April 6 2014, 02:08 PM   #57
Warped9
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

lennier1 wrote: View Post
I understand your line of thinking, though where Jefferies' design turned out to be pretty timeless yours is more in line with era pieces like the C57-D or a Chevy Bel Air.
I LOVE MJ's original design, but let's be clear. He didn't set out to design something timeless. He set out to satisfy GR's parameters. It became timeless because of two things: Star Trek endured in popularity and subsequent designs followed in the basic precepts it established. Of course, it helps that it was also good design work, but that is also a matter of opinion. Over the years I have often enough heard criticisms of the design so it is not universally accept, but nothing is.

Timeless has another element. MJ's good design has endured, but it is also very much a product of the era. If you are doing Star Trek from scratch then you can't in all good conscience simply replicate how things were done then. You can do that in a fan production that will only reach established fans, but you can't do that if you want to go mainstream.

But more seriously I find some of the opinions expressed here highly amusing. Over the years I've seen praise showered on some of the clumsiest and awkward looking designs and a lot of them executed with little finesse. A lot of it didn't work for me yet my approach has generally been "no comment." I certainly refrained from expressions of "looks infantile" or "looks like shit" as some have said in this thread. I know what it is to offer to share ideas you've struggled with. At least I've had the decency the smile and say nothing to designs that I thought were...less than impressive.

To those with such a superior eye: put up or shut up. Offer constructive and civil critique or show us how it's done or keep it to yourself.

I don't have a problem with critique of a constructive nature (even if I don't agree with it) or someone simply saying something doesn't appeal to them. A dissenting viewpoint can offer fresh perspective. But invoking terms like "infantile" and "shit" simply tells me that individual has nothing of value to offer.
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Old April 6 2014, 02:09 PM   #58
beamMe
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
...
So long as you are happy with your creation.
By posting it here, though, you have to accept the reactions to it; the positive and the negative.

I've said what I think of this design, granted, in a rather blunt fashion. And now I will keep you no longer from working on it.
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Old April 6 2014, 02:12 PM   #59
Warped9
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

beamMe wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
...
So long as you are happy with your creation.
By posting it here, though, you have to accept the reactions to it; the positive and the negative.

I've said what I think of this design, granted, in a rather blunt fashion. And now I will keep you no longer from working on it.
I don't have a problem with dissent. I can take exception to how it's expressed.
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Old April 6 2014, 02:14 PM   #60
lennier1
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Re: TOS in the 29th century...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
To those with such a superior eye: put up or shut up.
Have fun throwing your temper tantrum. The weekend is too short to waste more time on that.
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