2022 (13)

•October 12, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Ta Da!

I thought I would never finish this. The Atolm YTJ6600 Star Wars ship is complete. I got real stuck on the greeble work and then texture application was a beast. I did not think this through enough so that I could unwrap the model. So, since all I really do is a single beauty shot, I decided to ‘hand paint’ some of the details.

I rendered the entire thing out with the main shadow and fill lights is one pass (4.65 hours at 4K resolution) and then the specular lighting layer. I also saved as a PNG (ultra high) so that I would get a crisp Alpha layer.

Then, finally, in Photoshop I grunged up and streaked each panel one by one. Once I got going it was remarkably fast (~5 hours). Yep, not likely to do that again.

I should note, my computer is very, very old. My ‘GPU’ is first generation and only 128MB. Was awesome in the day but….

Anyway – really like the result.

2022 (12)

•September 14, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Greebles, nurnies, widgets… whatevers!

I knew that building a Star Wars inspired design would require, at some point, the addition of the infamous Geeble! You know, those little nonsensical items that populate otherwise smooth surfaces on spaceships. Luckily for me, the Atolm design was not very heavy on such details so I was spared (or so I thought) the need to overdo it.

I first broke out the area that needed the detailing and moved them to 3D Max. I have a greeble plugin which I applied to these panels. After an hour or so of playing with the panels I realized that I could not get scales and randomness correct for a Star Wars ship.


I concluded that the panels needed to be broken up so that the plugin could be more random. I could then get scale and variation more aligned to what one would expect to see. So, a couple of hours later… Nope, fail.


I opened Wings 3D and copied the panels out into a new project and started slapping boxes on the surfaces and doodling details. I did not want to go crazy because you really won’t see these up close. This, however, took many hours. More than my attention span can handle to be honest. I am happier though with the finished project (greebling). I still need to add small random surface details to the hull which will be fairly simple.

Next big project is the engine exhaust detailing and then (dreaded) smoothing checks.

Port view
Aft starboard perspective

2022 (11)

•August 26, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Just finished a few weeks off with family visitors, very exciting and very busy! So, not much (rightfully) going on with hobbies otherwise.

I’ve continued to play with AI art text-to-image generation. I think I’ve now tried (trying) 6 different tools. Playing with all the ‘free’ ones right now to experiment with prompt writing. It is also interesting to see how certain prompts transfer to other platforms. I plan, soon I think, to sign up for Midjourney. Midjourney seems best but you burn through your plan very quickly. So, for now, I am mostly practicing with variouis Diffusion colabs and NightCafe.

The Google Diffusion colab, which is pretty awesome, takes a long time to render (the free version only uses low end GPU’s if you are not familiar which drags performance). While I run batches I have had some time to continue with my Star Wars (Atolm) project.

Lots of panel cutting and extruding. And, as with first attempts noted previously, I’ll render progress shots to then find errors in what I did. These WIP images are the latest after a few ‘redos’.

2022 (10)

•August 2, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Mesh by a thousand cuts….

I have started the detail work on my Star Wars (Atolm’s) YTJ-6600 ship. I have a new found sense of appreciation and awe for modellers that cut in there panels. It is tedious and can be fraught (if you don’t know what you are doing) with challenges.

I am on my 5th version (cut in). The first four had various issues I found in render tests. Figured out what I did wrong, regrouped and (think) I solved it. So now I am applying to everything this particular model will need. Image below (V5) took about 2 hours to get the cuts and panel extrusions completed.

Panel Cuts and Extrusion

2022 (9)

•July 28, 2022 • Leave a Comment

I’m a robot.

Big craze now is AI generated art from text prompting. There are a load of tools out there and they are all mostly beta (and have pay walls). I’m using Disco Diffusion in free mode. It has lots of quirks (is a Google Notebook Lab, little to no documentation, time limited, resource limited, ya know – Google).

I’m also playing with and likely going to pay for Midjourney.

Anyway, not going to offer thoughts on or debate the whole ‘is AI art?’ discussion here but thought I’d share a few things.

Dieselpunk Abandon Train – Disco Diffusion

Hobbit Home – Midjourney

Fun stuff and can be done while I’m doing other modeling stuff.

2022 (8)

•July 28, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Dum..Dum..Dum..Dah.De.Dum….. (get that right?)

Yes, a Star Wars related project. The last time I did a SW project I had hair on my head. Yeah, that tells you nothing. Suffice it to say, I only did a video using someone else’s mesh for my company (at the time). We had a COMDEX display and had all kinds of 3D software created content streaming and mine was a X-Wing zipping by with a pretty decent (for the time) planet in the background. Another of my small bits of 15 minutes chewed up.

But…. I digress.

Many of you know of Atolm’s various Trek designs. He also does many other works themed from other shows or genres. I’m taking a crack at one of his recent SW designs. I took the perspective drawing and printed it and then dusted off my old drafting tricks to get the dimensions.

It looks close but I may need to practice those tricks some.

This is a couple of hours work with a ton more to do. Studying SW ship details a lot to finish.

2022 (7)

•June 27, 2022 • Leave a Comment

And now for something completely different.

Still working on the Albacore but took a little side track trip into Wings3D for a project I have always wanted to do. This will not likely show up anytime soon as a finished model but I wanted to see if I could get close enough to replicating the object to put it into my ‘I’ll get around to it’ queue.

I bet a couple of you out there will know what this is but I’m keeping quiet for now.

2022 (6)

•June 27, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Well I returned to work on my TNG precursor Voyager ship. I started drawing the various textures it will require and it’s been fun. They are all based on a 3K sized saucer section which allows for some fun details. I know that a lot of people now do 8K image sizing but I think my computer would literally melt if I tried something like that.

I have also refined the genesis of this ship, this is not a class of ships but just a technology demonstrator. I’ve given it the registration of NX-36000 and the name Albacore. The name is taken from the submarine USS Albacore AGSS-569 which was, in a sense, a naval technology demonstrator and served for 2 decades as a test bed and technology research vessel. (I’ve had the pleasure of visiting her.)

At this point I have the hardest textures done though I may add a few minor details to them before moving on to the final few I’ll need. I have also thought about the scene for this as opposed to just another model shot. I’m thinking of building a specific space station for it but keeping the details quiet since I have not decided for sure yet.