Jan 152013

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Frozen and optimized(ish)!

Two renders, mostly for inspection purposes to make sure there aren’t any egregious smoothing errors post-cleanup. Neck area seems to be free of issues.

I might try to massage the polys around the curve where the neck joins the hull, or I might not. I’m not hugely fond of how it’s bending toward the centerline, but I do like having a little bit of a ridge as it smooths into the hull.

There are a couple of minor issues on the main body: near the bottom, toward the midline, there’s a row of unwelded verts…not even sure how that happened, since I neither separated nor optimized that part of the hull. Easy enough to fix. Also there’s what might be a smoothing error about halfway along the arch of the shuttlebay notch. Hard to tell.

Also, totally forgot to turn on the layers with the sensor dome and the room interiors…

Did a little more optimization/cleanup and cut in the shuttlebay. The shape of the bay is more like the Ent-C variant than theYamaguchi variant (which just has an abrupt flat termination with a hemispherical clamshell door rather than the much more common straight-clamshell with flight control deck overlooking it) because, frankly, the Yamaguchi bay just looks rushed to me.

For those curious, the shuttlebay is two decks tall and the hull is about a meter thick at its thinnest point (at the base and apex of the inner arch).

I did a little research by pulling out Star Trek V and looking at the “Emergency Landing Plan B” sequence to see how the Ent-A bay doors are intended to open. Based on the larger bay miniature they made for the sequence, each of the doors slides over the next outermost layer, starting from the center line. This means that they aren’t a smooth, continuous surface with individual grooves for the plates (as implied by the closed doors on the full-ship models). I think I will experiment with making doors with this in mind and see how they look. If it ends up looking too goofy, there’s always either the JJprise method, or positing some sort of tracked mechanism that allows the individual door plates to slide forward and back along a given track.

If you’re interested, here’s an animated GIF of the sequence from ST5. It’s a bout 700 K.

I added two support struts attaching the collar and the inset at the back of the neck. Here’s an OpenGL screenshot and a wire overlay screenshot.

Flanking neck inset created and additional vanes (impulse reactor radiators, perhaps?) added to the aft-facing inset to the neck.

Unfortunately, I am thinking about retooling the neck/stardrive again. I can almost certainly do a better job of making the neck/spine join flow together. My polygon density overall is just too high right now. I’ve yet to develop a good sense for the correct level of geometry to give to something; I always err high because I want the model to stand up to just about any conceivable render distance.

Re-did the neck and stardrive from scratch. Everything between the saucer and the warp pylons is brand new. I spent a lot of time trying to make the join between the neck and secondary hull as solid as I could, which involved no small amount of staring at the screen, trial and error, and refreshing myself on everything from the basics to advanced techniques of subdivision modeling. While it’s not perfect, it’s substantially better than it was and I’m content to declare victory and move forward.

And here are a couple of renders showcasing the new stardrive:

As usual, click for 1280×720 versions.

On a more boring, technical/organizational note, I also overhauled my file naming scheme so that it’s easier to find things. Previously, I had just been incrementally saving files (e.g. ambassador525.blend). Now, I’m splitting it by date and incrementing within each day (e.g. ambassador_2013-01-13.002.blend). I keep all the incremental files for the last week, and then the first and last incremental file for each day thereafter. Until the project is done, at which point I’ll probably just keep the final.

I spent some time cleaning up the impulse unit, which I forgot to freeze along with the rest of the stardrive.  Saved a fair few polygons by doing that, especially with the three thruster units within the impulse housing. I also finally put in the detail that flanks the impulse unit. The white square is the same as those on the “roof” of B deck.

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