Michael Benson: the art of Otherworlds

•March 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

If you are not familiar, Michael Benson is, among other things, an artist that takes NASA probe photographs and converts them into color images. He has been doing this since the mid 90’s. You have probably seen his work on the web or in books.

Reconstructing the B/W photos is a fascinating process where the various filtered digital data from the probes is assembly back into true color. The video is a short discussion on the process and why he does it along with some very nice examples by the artist.

The Art of Otherworlds just closed in London and reopened at Natural History Museum in Vienna. I hope it comes to the US sometime soon.

Swordfish Carrier (revisited) – Pt 3

•February 26, 2016 • 2 Comments

Small update.

I have been working on specular maps as work / life time has permitted since last post. I like where this is going and should be able to complete the set very soon. I seem to change my approach, tweak here and there, on how I set up my specular maps. The image below is just a single pass with no separate output layers for post production. If it looks nice in a single run then I am pretty happy.

I have included the little something extra here that I did for this mesh. I have done interiors before and only once rendered out an image using such a mesh. Since this is a carrier and I did the fighters, well…

The interior is not properly lite at the moment as this was just a look see.

Star Trek Swordfish #7
Star Trek Swordfish #8

Swordfish Carrier (revisited) – Pt 2

•February 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I completed the base textures for the Swordfish model with the exception of the deflector dish. My next task is the specular maps, the dish and one special item that may or may not make it into the final scenes. Will have to wait on sharing that.

Couple of quick renders to see what was what.

Star Trek Swordfish #5
Star Trek Swordfish #6

Puffin fighter – pt 3

•February 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment


This is done in that I have one complete texture setup for the model. I will crank out a couple more for the final scene when I get to it. They won’t be hard as I only need change the fighter registry number and pilot name. The livery is not correct for the USS Hammerhead but I had UV mapping issues with the design that I did not want to work out. Lazy, yes, but you all know that:) .

So, here is the the complete Puffin waiting on the Swordfish carrier to get completed.

Star Trek Puffin Fighter #7;
Star Trek Puffin Fighter #8
Star Trek Puffin Fighter #9

Puffin fighter – pt 2

•February 11, 2016 • 2 Comments

Yes…yes! It’s a Puffin and not a Penguin! How silly of me.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

I worked up a basic texture and applied it to this little ship. Needs a few embellishments here and there but mostly is done. I will need a few different registry work ups for the scene I have in mind but that’s easily done.

Puffin…Puffin…Puffin… Geez! (Hope Masao doesn’t catch that:) )

Star Trek Puffin Fighter #5
Star Trek Puffin Fighter #6

Puffin (not Penguin)

•February 10, 2016 • 1 Comment

As noted in the Swordfish post of yesterday, I also plan on adding the Penguin Puffin fighter that the Swordfish carries. This is finished but lacks textures. This mesh needs some TLC on UV unwrapping (depending on the livery it gets).

(Screwed up on class name – it’s a Puffin, the Penguin fighter is different – Edited 2/11/16).

Star Trek Puffin fighter #1
Star Trek Puffin fighter #2
Star Trek Puffin fighter #3
Star Trek Puffin fighter #4

Swordfish Carrier (revisited) – Pt 1

•February 9, 2016 • 1 Comment

A sort time ago I was looking through some project files I would like to get back to. One that I thought was a slam dunk was my Swordfish carrier mesh that had partial textures. I went back to the source (Masao’s Star Fleet Museum page) and came to the realization I had made a few mistakes on the mesh. That lead to some revisions and do overs. I did so much work that I decided to put my nose to the grindstone and finish this!

Yeah, that’s the idea.

I also tweaked the Penguin Puffin fighter that goes with this and hope to incorporate into the final project.

Yeah on that too:) !

The textures are all based on a 3K base format. What I mean by that is the largest map is 3K and the other maps are all to the same scale. I get a fair amount of drawing detail in that way.

Here she is with just 6 maps applied and another 4 to go. Will have to also create specular and bump maps. I’ll put the Penguin Puffin in the next WIP series but it is colorless at the moment.

(Oops – can’t keep track of my ship class names – Swordfish has Puffin fighters not Penguin! – Edited 2/11/16)

Star Trek Swordfish #1
Star Trek Swordfish #2
Star Trek Swordfish #3
Star Trek Swordfish #4

Model – Mesh – Model

•January 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Odd title but make sense to me. I had toyed a few months back (probably longer) at making some of my meshes into 3D printed kits. I reworked a few models into low volume and reasonably scaled objects that could be printed commercially and easily built into a nice desk display. The key word there was ‘commercially’. As I have no link to my ‘for sale’ kits you can see that went nowhere! That stuff is just not cheap no matter what the various websites say! And I am not going to buy a printer anytime soon!

While I was on that specific modelling tangent I had the following idea. It stemmed from a project some years ago where I had decided to build a few Warhammer type tanks to go with my, then, large physical model tank collection. Those of you who know me may recall I was a moderately obsessed model tank builder. All gone know. But I loved the Warhammer kits and wanted to craft my own. I mocked a few up in 3D Max with the idea of making kit templates to scratch build them. I had parts that I could resin cast and spare detail parts to use. Sadly, the real estate requirement (and cost) killed the collection and idea. But I found this in my archives and thought I could print it. Too expensive.

So here is the raw mesh without some of the finer details (that would have come from the model spares box). Maybe I could add them and have fun with this. Maybe.

gobsmasher 1
gobsmasher 2
gobsmasher 3


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