Your design process?

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by sojourner, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Just around the bend.
    This is stemming from some thoughts I had regarding Warped9's thread.
    http://trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=72128

    What basis do you design a ship?
    From a personal standpoint, I like to come up with a purpose and make some constraints as to what the ship is for. For me, just throwing lines on paper would quickly result in "Mondo-super Universe class ultimate battle destroyer". I also like the elegance of a good "form follows function" to the designs of military equipment. it reminds me of a saying used in the aerospace design industry I once read about and always keep in mind when trying to think of a design, "If it doesn't look right, it won't fly right". Which in my mind meant that while there is a science to designing aircraft, there is also an art to it. I also have a tendency to want to come up with smaller ship designs in response to avoiding my "inner fanboy" and creating some huge 12 nacelle'd, 40 photon monstrosity.

    So, what type of thought processes do you go through when thinking out a new ship?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  2. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

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    Lately, what I've been doing is using a philosophy I call "Matt Jefferies Original Intent", which basically means I use what he said were his original notions for the starship Enterprise and applying them to new designs. It's still a work in progress, but my Enterprise layout for "Star Trek: MY Way" essentially starts with MJOI being strictly enforced (as opposed to being mercilessly fudged throughout canon).
     
  3. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I usually come up with a shape, then decide what its going to be. Then I hit it with a sledgehammer until it has some sort of semi-plausible functionality, and detail it.
     
  4. ancient

    ancient Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Engines first.
     
  5. BorgMan

    BorgMan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm an engines-first person myself as well. I design from the philosophy that a ship matches the nacelles instead of the other way around. Sometimes I'll start with a hullshape, but it has almost never occured. Then I decide how big it will be, again in synch with the nacelles: if the nacelles suggest this will be a small ship,I'll make it a small ship, just as I did with the Hayden. Then I start shifting around with some of it's interiors to make sure that all the detail I put in the ship is in the right places. For example, you won't see me put a window in a panel that has the deflector cut-out on the other side...
     
  6. Ziz

    Ziz Commodore Commodore

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    NY
    Yeah, try to avoid things like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Out there... thataway.
    Why do I suddenly have nacelle envy?

    Don't answer that... :lol:
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    I throw shit together and hope it comes out looking okay. :)


    re: the USS Fanboi there - I have actually gone into a project trying to go into fanboyish territory, yet reigning it in juuust enough to keep it from being embarassing. My Belisarius and Coeur de Lion are the results of that particluar philosophy.
     
  9. judge alba

    judge alba senior street judge Commodore

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    i usaly just decied roughly what type of ship i want eg a cruiser then what era and kinda work from there or if i see a shape when walking about that looks like could be a ship shape i work round that
     
  10. Gepard

    Gepard Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This. :cool:
     
  11. judexavier

    judexavier Commander Red Shirt

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    Ya know, this is gonna sound rather lame (most likely so), but I always like to imagine (in a loose way) I'm working for ILM or some production designer, and am tasked with a "project". Perhaps "constraining rules", specs, etc...but then try to give it a go, and develop the thing over time.
    I imagine that it would have to be credible, AND "attractive" on screen.
    Period. I don't know how the hell a "warp engine" works!!??!?!?!
    Rules that I use in trek-verse would be 100% MJ basic aesthetics
    (simple saucers/cylinders/spheres/connecting shapes), and vary the greeble depending on what looks right. I still love the pre TOS series development/evolution that MJ did. I don't like to be too influenced by generally accepted "canon" rulezzzzz, or other estabished design trends (....TNG....). Or "treknology"....deck plans are one thing (fun), but...all the other stuff? Jeez.
     
  12. Arkady

    Arkady Lieutenant Commander

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    Purpose and then design. Usually when actually sketchig I start at the tip of the saucer section and work from there, sketching out the section and adding section by section until I get to a point where I am satisfied with it (which is rare on the first take, I probably burn through a half-dozen sketches before I find a configuration that I am happy with.)

    If I have time then I sketch other angular views by the same method, for some reason my three-dimensional perspectives look better and are easier for me to get right than traditional orthographics, but that may be the way my brain is wired.

    For example: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v629/arkadyfolkner/Caravel.gif
     
  13. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    With me it's often design first, then trying to figger out what the purpose would be.

    Like, "Well, that's too ugly to be anything but a freighter!" :)
     
  14. Arkady

    Arkady Lieutenant Commander

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    heh the ship that i posted is ugly, and yes it is a freighter :)
     
  15. Masao

    Masao Commodore Commodore

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    Tokyo
    I draw quickly with a pen/pencil and paper (a little notebook I carry or a napkin) to figure out the shapes and positions of the primary and secondary hulls and the "neck." I draw from different angles because if you draw only the side view, what's thin (like a neck or nacelles) will seem as important as what's thick (like a primary hull). The most important thing is the ship's general shape, so I try a lot of different things. The nacelles are just tubes at this point, and I usually don't care much about markings, windows, weaponry, sensors, etc. I don't spend lots of time on detailing the sketches and don't show them to anyone else. If and when I get a main shape that I like, I use my computer drawing program (still Freehand 10) to do a rough blueprint with the top, left side, front, and back with more detailed shapes, surfaces, and attachments. The parts of the ship still get thrown around. Lots of ships don't get further than this, but some make it to a final blueprint.
     
  16. Kaiser

    Kaiser Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I hammer it out in my mind for weeks or months then when im settled with it go do it on MSPaint.
     
  17. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like designs that keep a swan motif
     
  18. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When I started my destroyer project, U.S.S. Charles F. Adams, I went with the concept of what do I need to make the starship functional? The answer was simple, what do you have in your house to make it functional? (In no order...) there are bedrooms, an eating area, a kitchen, a laundry, a den/office (where in I do my skullduggery), storage area's, and a garage for my shuttle craft/Ford Explorer. Ad nausium... Now to make it move I simply look at it as a big RV. Add in controls and an engine/power plant and vi-jola! Instant starship.

    These are all common areas or modules that are necessary for all starships, they may vary in design and shape from ship to ship, but they are the building blocks from which all else spring.

    The next question is where does my ship fit in to the Star Trek universe (as I preserve it?)

    Well, I don't care for the big 1701D/NX2000/Jar-jar esque Uberprizes. They're fun to look at, but story wise nah-h-h, not so much. All the capability of a starbase, with warp drive. Where's the challenge in that? Then the situtation is 4 or 5 people doing everything all the time, with Red Shirts to suck phaser bolts for them... "Sir we just lost ensign Expendable...he's dead Jim."

    I prefer the original concept, 300ish guys and gals out there, doing stuff-f! Getting into trouble and having to use their noggens to get out...or flat out, cut and run, A/R. No big deal holo-labs/decks, no double talk generators, no ubercomputer control/automation functions. Things are done by the guys and gals of the crew, much like the real world of the twenty first century.

    Ok so we nailed down the crew, what about the ship? The Adams will be built using the modular construction of at least the ship builders of the present, I would therefore use the common modules from the TOS heavy cruisers of the Constellation class. Which of course gives me the saucer section as a starting point. Construction would be bonded (not welded) modules of advanced composites. (No little tiny plates butt welded together.) Ship to be built in space, not in a quarry... lifting that much weight into orbit presents a lot of problems, and I do mean a LOT. (Which is why ships are not constructed in Nevada and trucked to San Francisco.)

    Now comes the fun part... research. Being an old aviation guy I can identify with the original designer of the Enterprise. (But I don't know from boats...) Fortunately for me I lived not far from Oakland and the U.S.S. Hornet. As well as a couple of other ships across the bay in S.F. (where in our hero promptly made a nuisance of himself ) To my surprise the docents on those ships were happy to expound on their ship's construction and mission. One gentleman on the Hornet was curious about why I was asking so many questions. So I braced for impact and told him what I was doing. Turns out he was a Trekkie and as consequence I got to see some things that the public is not allowed to. All in all I visited an Aircraft carrier, a fleet submarine, a destroyer, a liberity ship, a stern wheel river boat and the HMS Surprise. (Chuck's hints to happiness... If you are doing something like this, and live near a museum ship, grab you sketch book and visit the ships. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions, the docents are a pretty good group all in all. Plus they get to tell you all kinds of stuff about their ship!) From this I got a pretty good feel what life would be like on a ship/starship. (The Navy guys here will laugh and roll around on the floor in hysteria at our hero's "land lubber" take on things.)

    Being a reenactor and all around history buff, I look for actual things and sequences of events to latch on to for my drawing... to give it a good grounding as it were, in believability because if I don't believe in the ship, nobody else will either. So names, numbers, time/era and etc. must have meaning. For example I like to place my ship's designs some where between TOS and the TMP eras. I figure it gives me a developed "world" to pull from as well as a large-ish gray area to play with my designs. At the same time giving the reader/viewer a sense of familiarity, almost.

    Then we start putting things on paper in earnest like, what do I want to accomplish with this drawing? What level of detail is acceptable? What do I want to include? What do I want to exclude? How many and type of views are needed? An so forth and so on. Right now I work in 2D, some day maybe I'll get enough bucks to for an old copy of Autocad 2005 and be able to do 3D solids. (sigh)

    As I block in the first pass at the ship on the board, I think about the ship's back story/history, fleshing out some of the details in my mind as I go.

    Once I've got the first pass done, I move to an inboard profile, where in I show the general layout of decks and details. Sometimes, more often than not, this involves pushing and squeezing the ship's outline to make things fit or work.

    Once the inboard profile is firmly set in jello, I go back to the out board profile and include the updates from the inboard profile. NOTE: All drawings are done full scale, for the autocad guys, 1 foot equals 1 unit.

    Next I project the other required views and repeat the revision process as above.

    For my own bookkeeping all drawings start out as a revision level "-" and when I change or update the drawing I roll the revision level to a numerical level starting at "1" and go to where I release the drawing as finished when it becomes a revision level "A". Yeah I know too much drafting ingrained into me... the advantage is as I go along and if I don't like something I've done I can always go back to the pryor REV and pick it up again...avoiding the blunder(s) previous!

    Once I'm done, I write block all cool stuff from the margins to my block library, of which I have several. Then I delete/nuke everything else save the actual drawing(s) copy the views out to separate pages and put on the borders, dimensions and notes.

    For references I use;
    MIL-STD-100 Drawing Reference Manual
    ANSI-Y14M Supersedes Mil Std 100
    THE MACHINERY HANDBOOK Ver 26
    STNG Technical Manual
    DSNINE Technical Manual
    MR SCOTTS GUIDE TO THE ENTERPRISE
    STAR FLEET Technical Manual
    STAR TREK Blueprints
    STNG Blueprints
    These are my "go to" references, at different times I use a bunch of information on the internet and other places.

    I hope some of this is useful...

    Regards

    Chuck
     
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  19. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting! I do many of the same things in regards to working out things from the "inside out", so to speak.

    One thing I don't like in a lot of ship deck plans I see is every single inch of interior volume being laid out with habitable decks. A realistic space craft is going to have large parts of the internal volume dedicated to the machinery of the ship and to storage. tanks of fuel, ammo, food and supplies, oxygen and other gases, etc.
     
  20. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Yeah, they pack all that stuff in first (systems and support) an then they go, "Ooh, of course and the crew goes somewhere around here..."

    I noticed that more on the subs. The Hornet was a slack jaw experience of the O-oh and Ah-h variety. Still things were crammed everywhere!

    Regards,
    -Chuck