Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Warped9, Jun 30, 2011.
A much improved and cleaner bow section. I'm quite happy with the results.
Warped9 - Did you pay for the pro version to get the solid tools? Or just download the 30day free edition of Pro? If the latter, after 30 days just get the freeware non-pro edition and you can download plugins that give you the full functionality of the solid tools. No money required.
I just got the freeware version of Sketchup 8 that includes only one or two features of the solid tools: intersect and I forget what the other one was. Depending on how things progress I might even pay for the Pro version because I don't find it that expensive especially compared to other 3D programs. That said Blender is free and learning Sketchup might make it easier for me to transition to Blender.
Bottom line, though, is I don't mind paying if it's within my budget and reasonably priced.
Take it from someone who has tried. Sketchup will make learning Blender harder. The way you end up building models in Sketchup actually is very different from most other programs and once it's ingrained it really becomes a pain in the ass to unlearn it.
As for continuing to use sketchup, your modelling life will be much easier once you start installing some of the many free plugins available. There really is no point to buying the pro version unless you need the timeline tools for working on "projects". (think architecture and construction projects).
Check out this thread again now that you've played with the program a bit.
Sketchup works rather differently from any other prgram I've tried. I think the way its designed it makes building relatively simple shapes very easy, but more complex shapes are very difficult. I would save your cash and try learning Blender instead. Blender is very powerful and being improved all the time, but the only drawback is that the learning curve is pretty steep.
I hear you. Odd shapes are indeed a challenge in Sketchup and you really have to think it through to get what you want. I've already downloaded and installed Blender and at some point I'm going to give it a try.
For now I'm struggling with the uppermost section of the scoutship's main hull. Again it looks deceptively simple, but I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get the result I want.
Well, we learn by doing...again.
I've run into some difficulty which also underlined some of the mistakes and compromises I made along the way. I know it's mostly the way I'm looking at it, but some things seem a lot clearer than they were before and the model looks somewhat stained by the mistakes I know are there.
And so for my own peace of mind and taking what I've learned I'm starting again from scratch. The big difference this time is I have a better plan and a much clearer sense of what I'm doing. Since a lot of fumbling (but certainly not all I'm sure) can be bypassed I should make a lot faster progress.
In the process I sometimes listen to TAS music sound clips...or I hum or whistle them to myself.
May I suggest my Star Trek: The Animated Series Soundtrack playlist?
Thanks! I actually listen to those tracks off YouTube sometimes while I'm working. I'd love to get copies of those recordings for my computer or iPod. TOS music has been released and even re-recorded note-for-note for a clean sound. When you really listen to the TAS music (which has quite a different feel than TOS') you can hear it's not as simplistic as it sounded on '70's era televisions.
Well, depending on what browser you use, you might find an extension that allows you to download YouTube videos. I use YouTube Downloader in Chrome -- it allows me to download videos as audio-only MP3s.
However, I'm on something of a very long-term project to liberate and reconstruct all of TAS' music cues. I've got my DVD copies of the episodes, and these include an isolated music track. Four isolated music tracks, in fact.
I choose the clearest cues with the widest audio range and load them into Audacity. I then painstakingly normalize them. It's a hideous process.
See, what they did on TAS was crank the music levels up high when there was no dialog. The moment someone speaks or certain sound effects occur, the levels dip by three to six decibels. When the dialog/sound effect is over, the levels are cranked back up.
Since this was the early 1970s, this was naturally done by hand with a simple analog potentiometer. The individual "valleys" aren't particularly uniform, as the editor might adjust the levels slightly to react to changes in an actor's delivery.
So you wind up with all these analog "valleys" in a digital waveform. You can normalize the bottom of the valleys to be consistent with the peak levels in a couple of passes, but the slopes are really difficult. They must be broken into tiny individual chunks and normalized fractions of a second at a time.
When it's all finished (and at this rate and with my schedule, I could retire before it's done), I plan to release everything: original music cue rips in FLAC, my edits in native Audacity format, and the resultant music cues in FLAC.
Man, do I wish I had access to the masters.
While I'm not yet satisfied with the way the levels turned out in "Danger Approaching (Variation)", I am extremely fond of the cue I went with. The frequency range is really excellent and allows you to hear a lot more depth than would ever have been possible in 1974. The tiny drum and cymbal crash at the very end is virtually impossible to hear in any other cue. There are occasions when I think I can hear the electric guitar echoing in the studio.
I think it would be awesome if a modern orchestra were to record these cues. Admittedly, it would probably require some re-orchestration: these were never composed with an 80-piece in mind. Also, in terms of time, there's between fifteen minutes and half an hour of unique music -- though to be honest I've not yet tried adding it up.
You might be able to have a "Star Trek: The Animated Series Suite" -- and in point of fact, I'll probably put one together when I finish it all. The music (actually very good stuff itself) was used pretty formulaically:
You had the main titles followed by the episode titles, followed by the Captain's Log: each of them used identical cues in every episode. Then you usually had one of two or three cues that would indicate suspense. Then there would be one of several action cues. Repeat as necessary until the tag, which almost always included the Captain's Log with the exact same cue in each episode (the one that starts with a fanfare and ends with a drum roll).
I think a "suite" could very easily re-create the "feel" of watching a TAS episode, but if arranged correctly would still have emotional impact. As I say, it's something I think about as a "final product" for the project.
I understand and thanks. I look forward to your progress.
I do understand about long term projects. My shuttlecraft drawings are an example. I go in spurts of intense work sessions and then droughts where little gets done. Real life interferes as well as not having a definitive deadline. I'm doing it for enjoyment. I can say that all the major drawing has been done to the point where I can get the designs rendered in 3D. But, of course, I still have to finish the interior views.
The current scoutship restart is going quite well so far. I've got the major hull section done except for the topmost component (where the forward viewport is set). After that it should go quickly because all that will remain are nacelles, landing struts and details...and of course colouring and registry markings.
What I've learned so far gives you a much better grasp in what is involved in cgi animation. It's all very well for people to say, "Oh, they can just whip it up in the computer and presto!" But, of course, that's not how it really works. You still have to design things and then painstakingly build them from scratch in the computer even if they are "only" mathematical constructs as opposed to physical models. I'd argue that a physical model could conceivably be constructed faster than in 3D. The distinction is that 3D models don't require actual materials. They simply require time: time to design and build the models and then lots of processing time to animate them.
Fortunately I'm dealing with relatively simple static models that might see limited animation.
Something to show.
Again it's an X-ray image of only one side, but that can just be duplicated and reversed to make the whole thing. I know have the main hull finished but one detail small thing in the back end. But the main body is done and a helluva lot of work it was too. The hardest part has become those little detail elements like where rounded corners meet or lining up surfaces with compound curves and angles. Argh!!! (-:
But based on how far I've come along with this I don't foresee any major hurdles with adding the remaining bits and pieces. Now, though, you can get a better sense of the shape and what this adapted TAS design will look like in 3D.
And a quick glimpse...
Very nice work there
Thanks! I was up until 2am last night working on this too.
I'm quite pleased overall, but for myself there are quibbles and some of them go right back to when I drew the schematics initially. As for the 3D model there are things that have worked out, but I now know I'd do differently when I start the next model or if I do this one again sometime. One thing I'm not really satisfied with is that some of the rounded edges are still too sharp for my liking and I'd make them larger diametre edges in the future, but since I took the measurements right off my schematics the mistake was made long before. Hmm, so maybe I should go back and modify my schematics.
There are areas of Sketchup I'm still not familiar with such as how to get more realistic looking surfaces and lighting. The default setting and what I've played a bit around with still looks too bright and intense. And the default surfaces have too much reflectivity at this point. I know it's possible to look more photo realistic, but I haven't learned how to do that yet.
Also I haven't learned how to get sharp and clear pictures of the model yet either. So far I only know how to do screen capture pics and thats not what I want ultimately.
But so far overall I'm quite happy with it. Now what lies ahead shouldn't be too hard. The next major hurdle I have are the triangular indentations on the lower part of the bow section. And with what I've learned so far the landing struts and nacelles shouldn't present any major challenge.
One thing I did yesterday was remove all the unneeded internal geometry thats visible in the X-ray images above. That was needed when I was constructing and assembling the individual components, but now they're not needed and it just complicates things when rendering the model. When I copied the one side and reversed it to get a look at the whole ship I'd get a little spinning beach ball while I waited for things to get processed. And I have 4G RAM. After removing all the internal geometry things sped up noticeably, but I think I'll eventually upgrade the RAM to 8G, possibly more.
Are you just trying to do this stuff within SketchUp, or do you have a rendering application like Kerkythea or something?
I've just installed a plugin called Maxwell that will help me get better renders and pictures. I, uh, had to learn about Sketchup's limitations. I've played with it a bit and early efforts are promising and as I get accustomed to using Maxwell then I should get satisfactory renders. But I'm going to wait until I'm finished the entire model before I go for a final render.
I think I may install a rudimentary interior to the model because although the viewport is darkly tinted (to simulate a one-way transparency) there's still something coming through with enough light from the opposite side. So I should add something to suggest an interior with perhaps a couple of crew aboard. And they'd only have to be rough forms of people to suggest a shape inside the craft when viewed from certain angles.
Importing photo textures are a great way to add a realistic look. I have been experimenting with capturing images of real surfaces from google streetview and importing onto my sketchup surface. It can really make a huge difference to cartoony colours.
I hope you have better luck rendering images the. I have. I tried kyrktheia (spell check) to no avail.
I've installed a plugin called Maxwell for rendering. Early trials with it are decent so far.
Yeah, I'm bumping my head against Sketchup and lighting in Kerkythea myself.
You've gotten further than I have.
It is possible to export Sketchup models (using the Pro version) as .obj and .3ds files which can be read into more powerful rendering engines. I've converted a few Sketchup models at peoples request and made decent pictures and animations with them. If you finish your model and want it converted to Lightwave, send me a pm and I'll do the conversion. For a small model like this it would take no time, and once in Lightwave I can light and texture it a bit better than Sketchup can manage.
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