The Unseen Perspective?

Looking Towards Airlock 5…

space_office_transp_rm_012eSpace voyeurism… in reverse? Gazing back in that direction from which our cinema views first peeked into the orbital office world.

Finally got my first hint of what could be hiding just out of view in that office module from The Motion Picture.

With that much of the docking structure visible outside the viewport, I should probably also do a render (eventually) with my travel pod model there, docked in place.

While ripe with speculation about the unseen, I’d argue this is all based on some fairly basic principles evident in the film’s screen shots: Basic shape, size limitations, and overall symmetry.

Essentially shaped like round canisters with outwardly angled sides, all the station’s environment modules tend to vary widely in diameter, ranging from small, medium, and large (though there are some four or five specific sizes total), while sharing a common single-level depth. There are four impressive arms stretching out from the station’s mid-core, each positioned at square angles to its next quarterly spun neighbor. All the modules are perched aside these branches, varying in connections and elevations. The two shortest arms extend opposite one another and have the most even and symmetrical modular distribution. This is not surprising considering it’s the four widest modules that must share the majority of these two slightly stunted boughs.

spoff_reg_1_029My incomplete 2009 model. Can opener included.

The two longest extender arms house a more staggered/less uniform grouping of the modules. The office module staged in TMP is one of several smaller units (though not the most bite-sized), and rests at the terminus of one of these two, more elongated arms (both of which would be entirely removed for the miniature’s repurposing as Spacelab Regula I in The Wrath of Khan).

spoff_reg_1_028Office module of focus is to the far right.

Though there are some minor imbalances in the quantity and placement of the viewports, both exterior filming miniatures reveal the module’s baseline construction as relatively simple and fairly symmetrical. Distinctly round, yet relatively flat compared to its diameter, the stubby rectangular protrusions housing the airlock-docking rings are perfectly mirrored down its center line.  They are labeled as ports 5 & 6 in the film.

The interior set also reveals an implied symmetry. The area has a central wall divider which smoothly combines an inner bulkhead with the standardized frame trusses seen planted radially throughout the facility, in support of the exterior hull. The divider evenly bisects the office module perpendicular to the station’s connector arm. The on screen set essentially represents one half of the entire module’s interior space.

The transporter chamber interrupts any full completion of the divider near the module’s central axis, but the visible walled portion does appear remarkably symmetrical based upon its mirroring of door frames and wall recesses on either side of that chamber. One sports a closed door, with no direct evidence of a door on the other, but that’s the most notable difference. It can’t be confirmed on camera, but given the limitations of the hull’s shape and the repetitive use of those truss frames around the external wall, it’s plausible another open passageway, such as the one visible in the background, would exist just out of camera shot in those interior scenes.

Those visibly remaining trusses appear grouped into pairs which flank either side of the docking port hatches. One member of each pair is noticeably aligned with a specific radial groove present in the interior’s central overhead.

Added to the exterior visuals with nearly identical docking ports on exact opposite sides of the office module, symmetry looks promising.

space_office_transp_rm_013aA touch of orbital context.

I got a lot of shape work done on the transporter console, though I’m still unsure as to what it is I’m actually seeing on screen. For decades I glossed over it, assuming that the whole structure was just a doughnut shaped console forming an incomplete loop around a central seating nook. It wasn’t until this project that I realized that nook is actually carved out with some rather sharp angles, and I still have no idea what controls lie just out of sight below the upper console. The technician on duty in TMP almost looks like she’s playing a church organ to put Admiral Kirk back together again. Still, it needs a chair and, on either side of the console nearest the transporter pads, I need to add some “palm scan” pads used for security identification.

space_office_transp_rm_013-1bOrbital Context 2. Experimental render blend.

I had fun adding an Earthly marbled orb I’d rendered a while back, into the scene’s background. I had originally placed a starfield as a background composite in the actual renderer itself, but it looked so silly upon completion that I decided to kill it and put in something totally different post render. I even enjoyed faking the planet’s reflection atop the console’s surface. I also ran several different renders at different exposure settings and tried blending them together in an attempt to obtain some richer, deeper colors and effects.

space_office_transp_rm_011Serendipity upon render.

Here I was trying to get a sense of things from outside the module after I’d done some touch up work on the docking protrusions.  I set up a new camera outside the station, and forgot that I’d recently moved the entire outer skin to a new layer to aid in its editing.  When I ran this render, it hadn’t been updated in Layout, and I got this naked version.  But I liked how it described things so I figured I’d post it here.

space_office_transp_rm_011aSkin returned.

Outer skin back in place.  Lots more detail needs to be done however, especially up top where there’s a veritable greeble garden waiting to be filled in.  The original office module built for my 2009 model is much further along of course, but with less definition. And as much as I love the method they used for presenting Starfleet personnel bustling about inside the office module, it is pretty evident from what I’ve worked on here that the viewing angles witnessed from outside the viewports were askew by quite a margin. Knowing how the transporter station lines up so perfectly with the two docking ports, it’s obvious that any viewer outside those windows would have seen the transporter technician and Mr. Scott from nearly directly behind their positions in the scene, rather than just shy of their extreme far left. The travel pod’s departure gives a slightly better twist to things, but still feels a little off kilter. Regardless, they did a fantastic job marrying the separate elements together, and it really does appear as if you are getting a “peek inside the fishbowl” in those few moments.

space_office_transp_rm_015Detailing can begin. Added travel pod door, though not a perfect match.

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~ by starstation on September 10, 2014.

4 Responses to “The Unseen Perspective?”

  1. I love the “peek inside” shots, though the one where you accidentally left off the skin is cool too. If you hadn’t told me it was an accident, I’d have just figured you intentionally did that to show how it all works with the support structures and whatnot from farther back. 😉

    I love how much thought you put into everything you do. You’re really worried about keeping accurate to the film while at the same time filling in what’s “missing” due to camera angles and the limitations of the sets, etc. It makes sense that the other airlock section is pretty much a mirror of the one we do see in the film. And, yes, you really should put your pod out there. You definitely don’t want to make the same mistake they did in the film. 😛

    I know you don’t post over at Scifi-Meshes as much anymore, but Tralfaz was (and probably still is) looking for references on the office complex station. I tried to help, but I couldn’t come up with much. I don’t know what you have, but I’m sure he would appreciate anything you’ve got, if you feel so inclined to help him. He’s started a fairly ambitious TMP project which promises to be really cool once it’s done.

    • Thanks. Sometimes, I think put too much thought into it. It took me way too long to put this one silly post together. Every time I came up with a justification for something, I found myself playing devil’s advocate for it’s opposite argument. Talk about your symmetry. It’s downright ironic!

      Eventually, my brain was an omelet and I just had to hit “Publish” and go to sleep. 😉

      I try to stop by Scifi-Meshes frequently, but it’s true, I haven’t been on in a few weeks. I’ve just been super busy with that… “real life” thing (some people call it their “career” – I just refer to it as “occupational dialysis with a daily commute.”) But, there is some light at the end of that proverbial tunnel, or so I am told by the higher ups.

      I just took a look, and I like Tralfaz’s work. I loved when he was working on his Enterprise, and that Drydock is looking very impressive already. I can totally remember what a treat/pain that was. Once again… never totally finished it.

      I might swing by again in the near future and drop a line, once our “big projects” phase has cooled down and I am no longer a zombie, craving brains. 😀

      • Yeah, it can be tough sometimes to walk that line between attention to detail and anal retention. 😉 Unfortunately, I’ve been on the wrong side of that line too many times due to over thinking things. It’s a habit I’ve been trying to curb the last few years with some success.

  2. I’m loving this, Basil. I do like the chair you’ve come up with as well. Fits very nicely in-universe. I was considering coming up with a variant of the bridge chairs for use in my project as well, for when I get around to making a Refit-Enterprise briefing room.

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