A Curious Thing Happened…

On the way to the view ports…

Phobos_VIP_17d2Finally, some non-leaky viewports and less embarrassing leaf textures.

I got to working on the exterior hull and viewports late last week. I finally came up with something worth test rendering, but some annoying artifacts showed up that continued to baffle me as the weekend got underway.  All of this occurred while I waffled on whether or not to buy a new computer.

Phobos_VIP_20aA little dark, but now fully enclosed.

Well, naturally I bought it… but that’s gonna take a little time to sort out. In the meantime, I continued on my old Mac Mini. Between a few crashes, I was able to model a bit and crank out a few renders, though it’s not always so fun deciding just which eggshells to step on. In the modeling realm, I played with newly built interior portions of the external hull (based on the Abbe class’s own exterior structure), reconfigured those interior bulkheads which no longer fit perfectly within the Abbe class, and I even modeled some (slightly) more detailed viewports for all the interior visuals.

I created the walls of the interior hull by taking a small yet relevant portion of the ship’s external hull, flipping all its polygons to face “inward”, and then smooth shifting them in that very direction, just enough to simulate a reasonably thick hull. This created an all new edge of polygons along the length of the shift itself. I extruded those along the base straight downward, since the hull portion I was working with didn’t actually fully enclose the interior room. This section of original hull I started with had no upper or lower enclosures either, so I also filled in the open curve at the top with a single flat polygon and began beveling it, first inward and then upward while curving some edges, all to create an upper structural framework and functional overhead (essentially a ceiling).  The constructed interior’s decking already fit pretty smoothly with just a little stretching and squeezing. I finally trimmed and deleted all extraneous polygons.  I then took the same objects used to stencil the ship’s already visible external viewports and applied them to this new interior hull. This time however, I had to extrude these newly stenciled shapes outward. Before cleaning up too much, I figured I would run a few test renders [Enter crunching egg sound].

Phobos_VIP_171st test render: Weird thingies popping up.  I’m thinking, “I can flush this out…”

Well, as the above image reveals, things didn’t hold up to the render program’s scrutiny. I convinced myself that the missing wall elements and weird distortions I was seeing in the framework around the new viewports were just artifacts of the fact that I’d stenciled complex shapes into a curved set of polygons, extruded them, and even moved a few points for the sake of convenience- all while failing to clean anything up in the procedural wake. Typically, after most Boolean and Drill Tool procedures, you need to do some welding of the resulting geometry in order to clean up all the goofy, excess, and non-merged points that tend to get created.  Well, I went to the trouble of cleaning up all the freaky Boolean-by-products  and even rounded a number of frames’ edges.   Everything looked great in modeler, but I forgot to triple any of the involved polygons; this can lead to its own unfortunate consequences if you’ve moved points around and the polygons are no longer perfectly flat.

Phobos_VIP_17b2nd try.  Uh…  Worse? Not anticipated, but handled quickly.

Heh, oops. On the second try things looked WORSE! I started thinking things might be related to some error in the scene, as I had been copy and pasting things into my older scene (and moving the entire set quite a ways to line up perfectly) all so I wouldn’t have to mess with my previous light/camera set up. I decided to start things fresh and created an all new set up, but upon cooling of my computer (and my brain) I checked the model one last time and realized I’d forgotten to triple any of those newly mutated polygons. I tripled everything in that layer where the new exterior hull and viewports exist and went ahead with the new scene setup in layout (I was going to eventually need a new one anyway. Voila! I refer you to the images at the top of the page; Everything finally came out unbuggered.

Phobos_VIP_18Completely rebuilt the bulkhead framework again and adjusted the length of the entrance corridors a bit.

Phobos_VIP_19aApplied new textures to my tables and chairs, but something was still amiss.

I completely rebuilt the interior bulkheads concentrating on the framework details, and shortened the entrance corridor a tiny bit. Added those those frame members flanking each of the view ports as well. I discovered that the doors shared the same shader as the blue carpet, so when I went and added bump textures to that, I got carpeted doors… You can see that in some earlier renders. Fixed that right up. I tried adding some bump mapping procedures to the couch, chairs and their additional, yet slightly darker lumbar cushions.  While I finally noticed a pleasantly mild increase in texture to the lower back cushions after a few test renders, the couch and chairs still looked remarkably plain.  Upon further investigation I realized I had altered a shader named “Cushions” and one named “Chairs,” thinking they were the correct ones. Alas “Cushions” was the only accurate assumption.  I failed to realize that “Chairs” was just some shader I’d snatched in a much earlier modeling project, all to quickly give some color to the plant potters.  The bulk of the couch/chairs are actually textured with another shader named “Cream Colored.”  Of course, once I applied those bump settings to the proper shader, the couch and chairs finally have a little more textural expression, though they look a little like terracotta furniture now. Still not satisfied with either the carpet or furniture fabrics, so I will have to continue experimenting on them as things progress. I also realized the plant leaves had some mix ups in their UV matching, and a touch of luminosity to them which was totally messing up the way their transparencies were supposed to be expressed. I got some of that fixed, though the plants look a little less healthy now. I’ll probably play with those textures when I get the new computer up and working.

Oh, and I also added a type of upholstered angled cushion to the base of the exterior wall (it shares the same texture as the lower lumbar cushions on the chairs and couch), below the viewports running all the way up to the bulkhead partitions.


~ by starstation on March 26, 2014.

4 Responses to “A Curious Thing Happened…”

  1. Yeah, I don’t get some of the funky stuff that Lightwave does sometimes when you use booleans or solid drill. I had a nightmare when I was doing the bussard cut-out on a TMP-era nacelle a while back. It took a long while to get it sorted. (my old software didn’t do that stuff) I see you got yours sorted, though, and it’s looking great. By they way, smooth shifting to get the interior wall is the way to go. (I love that tool 😀 ) It’s way better than what I had to do in my old software.

    I’m loving the work on the materials, especially the fabrics and the plant leaves. The leaves look great, by the way. The lighting is looking really great too. 😀

    • Thanks! 😀

      Yeah, booleans are good for that rough “outer crust” work that sometimes has to be done, but unless you’re actually aiming at some Cubist Picasso inspired model, it’s often best to refine that stuff once you’ve made “the cut.” I love smooth shift too, but sometimes it can get a little wonky too, especially with the more curved surfaces, not doing exactly what I want. Though, most of the time it is fairly predictable.

      The plants have been a little thorn in my side for weeks now, but I keep finding some of the most simple gaffs hiding right under my nose, but I’m getting them fully fixed now (as new problems arise elsewhere, of course). I should have some minor updates sometime today.

      • Yeah, I started using solid drill for pretty much everything that I need a cut for, then I use the smooth shift to inset it. It’s definitely a better tool, in my opinion. I opened up one of my models from last year, when I was first starting in Lightwave, and I used a lot of booleans on it. I didn’t know at the time, but it has/had a lot of errors, so I’m having to rebuild parts.

        I have no idea how to make plants, so I always like seeing when other people make them. It’s always impressive to me. 🙂

  2. Mate your interiors are stunning! You should approach Cryptic Studios and present them with a portfolio! They would be lucky to have you on their artist team for Star Trek Online!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: