Thursday, July 21, 2016

Adamant Command Center Texturing Pass WIP

Hi everyone.  Sorry for the lapse in updates this past couple of months.  I'd been tied up in several projects and work was piling up. :(  But, had a week, here, to breathe and de-stress.  Here's the result when I de-stress!

I took the Adamant's command center and started texturing it and prepping it for finalization.

The scene relies very heavily on dubious topology and severe color correction to make it look good.  This is still very much a WIP in that I have to add the sweeteners to the holographic displays (control rings, numbers/letters/symbols, readouts, etc....) and flesh out some of the detail geometry--most notably the detail lighting and a few other things to highlight the scene a little more.

Hopefully everyone is doing good.  More work on this today to finish it out and get it done!

Have a good one, all.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Jaspera Central Core Modelling - Part One

Work starting on the interior of the core region of the station.  Got a rough idea from some concepts on what I want to do, so now it's just time to build it.  The video above is a timelapse of the concept phase of the station's interior.

Hopefully everyone is doing awesome.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Old and New Projects: Plagarus, Adamant Command Deck, and Jaspera Interspatial Station

Hey all,

Well, it's been a crazy few months, with commissions and stuff.  But it's time to get back to my personal projects that I've been putting off.  I have a mind-shelf full of ideas and I need to get them down in a more-or-less polygonal state before they get stale.


Since I've been a kid, I've had this idea of a space station that is, essentially, a giant mall in orbit of a very affluent planet.  This station, called Jaspera, had inflicted upon it one inept attempt thus far to build it.  I need to do something better this time:

A very old model I built over ten years ago... eww. :(

The scene above is very old.  But it's a general approximation of what I want to do with the space station.  It does capture the mood, as it was described in my original one-page description of the scene I wrote up when I was about 15, sitting in a lobby of a Chinese food restaurant that my father cleaned in Skowhegan, Maine.  (I had finished my job of vacuuming the carpet on the main floor, by the way, so I wasn't being lazy, as I recall...)

I want to build the following sections:

1.) Main Atrium -- This is pictured above.  It's a 20 - 30 story tall inner core with a skylight above pointed at the sun.  There walkways all around the periphery that connect to the various storefronts along the external hull of the station.

2.) Industrial Docking Bay -- The docking bay is at the bottom of the station.  It's where the thousands of space ships that visit the station every day have berths and refuel gantries to resupply the station.  It's a more industrial part of the station and less pretty than the civilian areas.

3.) Passenger Docking Bay -- At the top of the station.  It's a more elegant docking area, where yachts and whatnot dock.

4.) Shops -- I want to build some of the generic shops.  These can be modular in design so that I can make a bunch of 'em if I want.

5.) Ol' Baid's Bar -- A bar in my magnum opus, Armranath (a colossal film project which will never be made), but it would be cool to have the bar.

6.) Hotel Area -- An outer ring of the station is a massive hotel, with windows facing space or the inner core, depending on what you desire.  It'd be cool to see that actually completed.

At any rate, that's the goal.  Probably will take the better part of a year to complete.

Plagarus, Part 3

Plagarus... :\  I'm still working on Part 3.  Got a bit of work done on it this month!  But it's slow going simply because being a one-man animation machine is tough.  I may have recruited a real life friend to help me out on some of the animation, but he's still hammering out school over in Full Sail, so it might take a bit of time, unfortunately. So I apologize that this time around, you'll still probably be dealing with my crappy animation skills.  :(

I'd just like to say that the stills look a lot better than the actual action. :(  I'm dreadful at character animation, and try to avoid full body stuff at all costs.  But, I've chosen to focus on modelling mostly.  Movies are, by far, the most complex art form out there, and it takes more than one person to make one.

At any rate, I'm expecting Plagarus, Part 3 some time this late spring/early summer, depending on how much I get done.

Adamant Command Deck

Also, there is the Command Deck of the SSC Adamant, which I still have to complete.  I'm planning on getting that thing done pretty soon, as I was thinking about incorporating a scene on the Adamant in Plagarus.  We'll see how that goes, though.


So, there will hopefully be more updates coming on this page now that I'm through the woods and get to start putting attention on my own projects again.  I'll definitely try to put up a link to the Star Wars fan projects I was privileged to assist with for the Star Wars Fan Film Awards that are scheduled to be released in a few months.  Also, huge shout out to Ansel Hsiao who was gracious enough to allow me to use his awesome Star Destroyer model for the space scenes in one of the films.  I finally got to meet a personal inspiration--the guy that got my butt into gear with spaceship modelling in the first place--and it was awesome.

Well, that's about it.  Hopefully everyone is doing awesome and that things are going well.  If not, I hope things get better for you soon!


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Commissions for Book Art

Hey all,

I know it's been a while since I posted anything, but I'd like to show what I've been working on.

A few projects early this year.  Two Star Wars projects beginning this week to hit.  One, hopefully, to win the Fan Film Challenge on  We'll see.  It's pretty awesome to be included in those projects.

As for paid client work, continuing process of making high resolution print-ready images for a novel, "Reality", by Daniel Liut.  Since it had to mimic preexisting artwork that was made in a traditional paint medium, I had to add a somewhat "painted look" to the images in post-production.  The client has been happy so far, and so I'm pleased.

I'm pretty proud of this stuff.

The images had to be full-page printable 6" x 9" at 300 ppi.  That means it was necessary to render up images at 1800 x 2700 pixels to accomplish this.

My personal favorite thus far, first:

"Facing the Knights"

Final version of what is temporarily called "Plate Z", and I call "Facing the Knights".  The directions for this piece indicated a scene where three of the main characters stand in an open hatch of their starship looking out at an army on a planet that has achieved only medieval state of development.  It was encouraged to emphasize the difference between the two worlds, so I decided to use luminary contrast: the darker interior of the super advanced starship's airlock against the lurid sunlight and fog of the natural forest beyond.  Also, the harsh, non-organic nature of the ship's interior against the softer, more natural designs of the alien armor was used to highlight this contrast.

Several elements to this image.  The first is the foreground elements, which included the starship interior, which is standard 3D modelling for me and was completed extremely quickly.

The characters in the foreground plate were preexisting meshes I had laying around.  They're just the same 3D models I've always used for any project I need to use characters in--Daz Studio Michael 4 and Vicky 4 models that were imported into Blender years ago and still hold up under scrutiny to this day, so I continue to use them.  The fox-like alien was the most challenging.  I had to go ahead and purchase a fox body model and then place the head on the top of the humanoid model.  This took several days of prep work and weighting, but I was relieved the same armature worked for both models pretty simply.  It's not pretty, but we were under a crunch time, and it worked.

The background is the same story about the characters, but the forest scene was constructed using plant models I had laying around the computer and several assets downloaded off of Blend Swap.

This was a few days of work to get it to look at least partially right.

After post production, using Cycles' mist setting:

Not much to look at without the corridor hiding all the bad stuff, but there's little point to filling out stuff that won't be seen in the final product, so I just put this out there.

The final product was this, before the post production paint effects in Gimp:

A strong vignette effect was added to amplify the darkness of the interior sections of the scene, and direct the viewer's attention to the center of the scene, where the alien commander and his standard-bearer stand on the rock.  This was intended to highlight the impression the character's line of sight and where their attention is--the unknown threat.

The second shot was actually the first I did for the book project.

"Falling Towards the Intrepid"

This involved something I enjoy doing: starship modelling.  The design of the starship was already complete, so all that was necessary was the actual modelling itself.  While not exactly the shape of the original, it was effective for the shot and the angle we see it from sufficiently masks any issues with the over all shape of the ship.

The client requested that the scene depict the main character falling toward the starship in the background. This is difficult to accomplish in any still image, but in space it's even more complicated because things are so far apart and appear static.  Therefore, a subtle motion blur was added to the background ships (but not the planet or the character) to impress the idea of plunging toward the ship below.  While not 100% effective by itself, I am grateful that all the images will have small captions underneath in the final book.

The background, of course, was a simple planet model I adjusted from an earlier project.  The character model was the same as the model in Plate Z, but, of course, was modified because it represented a different character.  The capsule was also a model I built.  A subtle blur effect was added to give the impression of falling toward the ship.

Hopefully everyone enjoys this.  I appreciate the client allowing me to show this work on my portfolio.  Hope everyone is doing awesome.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Adamant Command Center WIP Update

So, an update is in order for the Adamant's command center (CC).

So far, the majority of the heavy modelling is done.  But numerous details have to be added.


Most notably, the areas I think could use some love are the floor surfaces (which seem pretty low-fi compared to the rest of the room).  I'm thinking of adding some kind of visual appeal to them, although I'm not entirely certain what direction I want to go there.  I definitely would like to model some access panels and whatnot, in case maintenance has to be done on any equipment stored under the deck plating. It seems unlikely that the floor would be completely solid, without any access.

I was thinking of using boolean operations and simply cutting into the floor, due to the floor's poor geometry.  Or I may remodel the floor from scratch, but that would mean throwing away a lot of work. :(

The materials have gone back and forth, too.  They were originally polished metal, then went over to two-tone carpet, and now have gone back to polished metal.  Polished metal does look cool, but it shows up so many defects and flaws.  It also looks very drab and flat, so the floor is begging for detail greeble-y bits.  Problem is, it's a floor.  We don't want our poor crew tripping over their own floors while they're fighting off pirates. :D


Aft Section:

I'm going to tear out the aft consoles altogether, and may also take out those walls and add some kind of different design there, I'm not sure on a direction for that, yet, only that I'm not happy with that area of the bridge.  The aft corridor, of course, needs a great deal of love.  I'm completely in the dark about how to go about how I want to do a corridor for that.  I may decide on a mix of the Viminal, and the Adamant motifs, simply because that seems the most reasonable.

Front Section:

The front is my favorite part.  Those windows provide a nice, big view of space, which is the direction I wanted to go in.  So that's good.  The problem is, if you're going to show the crew's faces, then the camera is primarily going to be facing toward the aft. :\

Also, those panel details underneath the windows are screaming for some attention.  The color seems wrong, for one thing, and they could really use some attention to detail.  Some more little nooks and crannies are in order.

Color Scheme:


The room's color palette is very bland and gray right now.  I'm thinking the consoles will have some color to them, which will spice up the room a bit, visually.  But there's the fact that the Thrass do not see red.  Their vision is shifted into the ultraviolet range, so everything will have to be left of the red end of the visible light spectrum. I'm thinking yellows would be pushing it quite a bit.  That's a challenge... especially to come up with an alert color.  No "Red Alerts" on Thrassi spaceships, the crew would never see it coming.

The original Adamant's color scheme was quite beautiful.  It was a dark magenta / brown / tan combination with blue lighting.  The impact was quite pleasant to the eyes.  But it looked too "pretty".  Something that bothered me about Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) was that the ship's interiors were so beautiful.   This is, after all, a starship, not a luxury yacht. Now, I understand that Starfleet was more of a science expeditionary force than a peacekeeping organization (well, discounting Deep Space Nine, seasons 5 - 7).  My Thrassi Navy is a bit more like the U.S. Coast Guard than Star Trek's Starfleet.  So, grays and blues are probably the best option.  Finding the right color correction settings for the post-production may be the best option, instead of going in and changing the entire color treatment for the entire ship.


The defensive/weapons stations.  This is where the Palatine-class cruiser's massive destructive power is controlled from

Definitely going to finish out the consoles.  At first, I thought I was going to go the route of TNG, which had back-lit flat panels made of clear plastic.  But I think that's a bit too Trek for the direction I want to go in.  I'm going to go back and add buttons and sliders. This will have the advantage of adding visual interest and, depending on the color scheme of the buttons (note to self: no reds/oranges!), it should add some color interest, too.  Of course, it has the downside of adding even more geometry to an already substantial mesh... but oh well. I'm not making a game, here. :)
In addition to the button-y consoles, I was going to do holographic displays for at least two consoles:

The CED (pronounced "sed", rhymes with "bed").  Thrassi Palatine crews unofficially call this console "The Altar"

1.) The Central Engineering Display (CED, a.k.a. "The Altar", which is that table-like console in the aft).  The CED is the place where the engineer stands if he's on the command deck, to monitor all ship's systems.  There is an interactive holographic representation of the ship hovering over it.  The CED can also be configured to show mission specific things, like interactive maps of planets or star systems, if they wish.  I may change that and provide additional holotables like this one on port/starboard sides of the CC.

Two officers man the CONN.  A Chief Conning Officer (CCO) and an ensign who assists

2.) CONN.  The conning station (a.k.a. "helm"), where the ship's pilot actually flies the ship from, was originally going to have a hologram of the ship which can be manipulated via the conning officer's fingers.  I don't know if I'll keep that, but it's in the lore, and I wanted to keep faithful to it as much as possible.  So I may just put it in.

The issues with this, is that the model of the ship I have right now for the hologram is actually the real Adamant exterior model, with all the trimmings, sans the turrets and some minor details too small to see.  But it still is extremely heavy and was the cause of some serious crashes. :(

So it looks like I'll have to just use a simply stand-in for the Adamant holograms.  Of course, most of that work may be done in post anyway.

Command Chair:

The Big Chair.  The captain sits here

I'm happy with the command chair for the most part, but the area around it could use some love.  The floor, again, is pretty flat and boring, and the stanchions around it are pretty drab and flat.  I may adjust the materials on those.  The floor really needs some care.  It's embarrassing to show this. :(

And here is a overview of the Command Deck Complex so far:

It fits pretty well inside the upper deck of the Adamant...

So, that's the update.  Pretty wordy and I apologize. :(

Hope everyone is doing well!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Your One-Stop Shop for all SSC Adamant Renders

Nothing new, really.  Just did up some renders for Art Station, so I'll put them here, too.

And all the Adamant videos thusfar:

Hope everyone is having a good day.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Adamant Command Deck Modelling

Command Deck for the Adamant still under construction.  Loads of details to add, and I'm not sure about that ceiling...

And beginning the lighting test.  Will need to put some more highlights in it.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Adamant Command Deck Concept

Concept work beginning on the Palatine-class Adamant's command center.

I recently was asked via email why I didn't have more starship "bridge" sets.  The answer, in a nutshell, is command centers/bridges are stinking difficult to concept and finish out.  I always run out of steam before they're completed.  But, seeing as there's a significant lack in my portfolio for suitable command decks, I decided to move to the Adamant's Command Center.

SIDE NOTE: I kind of don't like the term "bridge" to describe a starship command center, for the simple reason that that level of retention of naval etymology really seems silly in a far advanced society.  I doubt that the Thrass, an alien race, would have had the same word etymology for their naval traditions as humans do.

In the case of the naval ships having a command deck called a "bridge", it is called that because originally an ocean going vessel had literally a raised platform which connected the wheelhouse with another part of the super structure of the ship, and it was called the bridge.  It stuck from then on.  Why a starship so far in the future would still have its command center called a bridge, I don't know.  But oh well...anyway, enough of that silliness.

Consoles.  Starting with the consoles this time, because they're the most challenging aspects of bridge designs.

Placement.  I knew the command center of the ship would be near the front, inside a heavily armored portion, with some bunker style windows looking out.  I've got to put the general placement of the various split levels.  I know I want the captain's chair and the aft sections to be raised up, with a lower level toward the front where the various lower hands operate their various stations.

Here, I simply mirrored the finished conference room to show where the captain's cabin would be.  The conference room is on the port side, the room with the table.  The captain's cabin will be somewhat adjusted to accommodate an office/ready room area and a partitioned private sleeping area for him.

The command deck itself will have three window banks at the front, with possible duty stations along the sides where there are no windows.  A central corridor will provide access from the back.  All in all, we're looking at a pretty spacious command center which should be able to house five or six duty stations comfortably.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Viminal Fast Attack Gunship Rework and Nero's Fire Release Prep

Well, with the completion of the Palatine-class remodel, it's time to update the Viminal attack ship. 

The Viminal gunship was designed by the Thrassi Republic for escort duty of larger ships (Adamant is accompanied by two of them almost all the time), and for fast interdiction of small targets.  But they've also been used as orbit-to-surface shuttles for capital ships, too.

So, without further ado, the update that needs to happen for the ubiquitous Vimmy.

Fortunately, it seems the update to the Vimmy isn't as much work as the Pally.  The Vimmy model is much more modern, and so doesn't require a complete remodel like her big sister did, so that's good.  But, still, it does require some TLC.

After finishing up the changes, I'll probably release this one on Turbosquid. At the very least, the interior should be made available.  It's sat on my hard drive long enough, being neglected... We'll see.  Think I'm overly attached to these silly ships of mine.  Perhaps a therapist is in order. :)


Also, the Nero's Fire, a freighter I worked on about a year ago also needs some TLC.  Since I have a tad bit of free time, I'll probably hit this one and get her finished up.  The only thing that really needs to be done is to finish modelling the landing gear and the loading elevator, and then she'll be ready for public release.

So that's about it for now.  Just thought I'd throw another update on here.

Hope everyone is doing well.  Have a safe week.



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