A-ha Moment


I love “a-ha” moments.  Had one yesterday…

when I was desperately searching for some reference to fit my vision of the Miranda’s cargo transporter.  Cargo transporters were never featured on screen until The Next Generation came around.  TNG’s first season featured cargo transporters several times at varying levels of “completeness.”  I had pretty much decided I wanted panels behind the chamber just like the standard personnel transporters from the films.


I’ve always liked that translucent honeycombed paneling which appears both industrial/functional and decorative.   Still, the deck plans I’m using to reference the cargo transporters show little more than a huge rectangle in these areas with very little detailing except for a few round pads off to the sides.

I went looking in, of all places, some Next Generation screen caps to locate the only version of cargo transporters I could ever recall seeing (certainly the first).  I knew I didn’t want the styling to appear too “TNG”, but so many of those sets were recycled from the films it was at least something to get my brain thinking about how to execute what appears so undeveloped in my current references.

Low and behold there was my answer (part of it anyway.)  Looking at screen caps from TNG’s “Code of Honor”, there in all it’s glory and recycled from The Wrath of Khan stood that giant containment door that came down to save all those poor unsuspecting cadets in engineering.

codehonor008TNG episode, “Code Of Honor” (Note the silly floor pad)

twok0475Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

I’ve always loved the look of that door, but put off tackling a 3D model of it for lack of a full reference shot.  They had used it to great effect in TNG Season One, and I found quite a number of good shots and angles in all of 3 TNG episodes;  “Code of Honor”, “Datalore”, and “Symbiosis”.  I had forgotten it was also used as a shuttle bay set for a few episodes in Season Two and beyond.

Certain materials have always been of frequent use to production set designers, and true to tradition they used the same paneling in that door as used in the movie transporter chamber.  It occurred to me this would be the perfect object to add to the design, especially since I had always wanted to model that door and it had the specific features I wanted.  The added fact that it was a door only made it more plausible since all of the functional equipment for these transporter units (transporter field generators) is right behind them in the deck plans.  What better way for maintenance access than to just raise the wall?! 😀  Maybe the honeycomb pattern functions as a sort of radiation barrier like the little grates on microwave ovens.  I dunno, but to me,  it’s cool! 😀

Above-top is the first low res image I have to experiment with lighting and surfaces.  Daylight savings stole an hour of rendering from me this weekend. 😉

Still much to do.  Though turned wrong 90 degrees, the honeycomb pattern is currently being faked with a nice bump map.  Not sure how I want to proceed with that one; create a better surface texture or actually model one and go hog wild with the polygon count.  There are actually two layers for effect currently, but the windows are far too flat compared to the real deal.  There were also some adjustments made to the door track lines for TNG use, so I’ll probably copy this door and make a  TWOK version.   I’ll try and have some more renders later today but my new Mac mini just arrived, and I might be preoccupied.  😉

I’ve also done some more work on the control console.  Those toggles just won’t leave me alone,  and I’ve put together a more accurate version of the Lite-Brite button set up.  Also, I added those red dials next to the numbers (hate them really but they were there) and I gave in to experiment with those sunken wells in the central panel, and I really liked how they turned out.


Gave in and used a diffraction gradient on the toggles so I could blur their surface and make them look more plastic.  It eats up render time, but I had to try it.



Here I’ve raised the height of the console a bit, though it is hard to tell from this angle.  It just appeared too stubby to me previously.


~ by starstation on March 9, 2009.

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