Bastard Son of Giant Spaceship Thread

Hi gang
This is just a fun little thread I’ve made to chronicle the making of my new sci-fi thing…
I made this pre-viz vid while following Dan’s Plate Armor Tutorial on Vimy. Everyone’s a BIG Fan Of The Giant Spaceship Thread…
So it’s really just sheer opportunism on my part (and shameless self-promotion…) to rip off his title to get views! :smiley: Don’t you just love how the internets work!? :slight_smile:

UPDATE: I found another way of doing Dan’s Plate Armor technique. The new way allows for MUCH smoother armor, and far fewer of the ugly bent plates (it is also much less time-consuming…) I worked on it all night last night, and am getting some very nice results. I’ll post a new pic or vid soon on the progress with this ship… Thanks for looking.

And, as Dan always says, I hope you’re all well and having a great day! :slight_smile:

Alright, I made some minor adjustments to the Plate Armor Technique I had learned in Dan’s Giant Spaceship Thread. Now I have a much smoother armor, which is what I wanted.
I did another render of Olympus Mons and the Fleet, and this one suffers from some hardcore fireflies! I was always a huge Firefly fan, so…
I think the fix is in some rendering tricks I’ve been playing with on some recent vids, but yes that is a glass shader on the plate right now. i’ll change settings next time and see if I can get the fireflies to leave… although, this is still just 300 passes…
Maybe I’ll leave the glass and go back to glossies. This rendertime was a whore…

I like the design of those vessles. Kinda somewhere between a modern submarine, a protoss carrier from StarCraft and an ol’ Zeppelin airship. Pretty cool.
As this is focused critique: Is that one ship in the midground supposed to pop up outa the void like that? -For real?? -Why on earth, -or ,well…? (you got the point)
Also there seems to be one huge spaceship flying into some completeley different direction than those others. Why’s that?

greetings, Kologe

Hey Kologe, thanks for being the first Commenter, and YOU HAVE A GOOD EYE! :slight_smile:
Yes, they do look like all the ships you named. Glad you caught that.
Well, this is a very large, and old scene. This clip focuses more on modelling and design elements, but there is already some old animation on this scene captured in the clip. This is sort of a shipyard, I guess, since I’m building them in here. So, the ships far below are actually much larger, and the foreground ships will soon be sized up greatly. The really big one underneath these is even part of the “enemy” fleet.
As for that “jumping” effect you mentioned, yes, you have a good eye. I had been experimenting a while back with ideas for HyperLight travel, and what that effect might look like. I always admired the new “Battlestar Galactica” method of Hyperlight Travel, where the ships just pop into the scene (if you can believe it, the show creator said in podcasts that he decided to do it that way to save screentime by using an extremely simple effect :smiley: ) So I had wanted something similar, and bouncing Layers is a great way to do it. My effect might be slightly more complex, I might even use Dynamic Paint. Maybe that’s the topic of a later section of posts in the thread… :slight_smile:

Thanks again for participating, and the great questions!

Nearly done with the plate armor on Olympus Mons, yet still plenty more work to do on the rest of the ship’s design. No weapons or realistic drive systems yet, and don’t even get me started on the lack of windows…
Hope you’re all doing great.

WTF is up with the title? Were you ticked or something when you posted this?

Anyways, I like the ship. The first animation was pretty awesome and so was the second except for what looked like a clipping error. The third was a bit short.
Are you going to update this?

This is not Focussed Critique, moved to Work in Progress

I like the design of the ships but they need more of a metallic feel and some normal mapping for the hull detail.

Thank you, Richard. Yeah, probably this is the better forum for this thread.
At any rate, back to the circus…
After taking a long break to hmmm and haw about different renderers and other projects, I’ve come back to this one and Cycles with determination.
Here’s the newest test, a fail. I thought I’d see what you guys have to say, and see if you wanted to brainstorm about it some.
This is an effects shot. Unlike Star Wars and Star Trek, the spaceships in my thing do a much more Battlestar Galactica-type deal when they travel long distances. They don’t go to lightspeed or warp through spacetime, but instead tend more to jump around it. So I didn’t want some effect where the ship stretches ridiculously like the Roadrunner in the old Roadrunner-Coyote/ Star Trek:TNG shows.
In Battlestar, the ships just jump to a new spacetime coordinate, suddenly appearing there after a very brief flash of light, probably taking about 15 frames.
I didn’t exactly want to do that, but something slightly more elaborate. My ships are not as advanced as the ships in Battlestar. The process is not as quick and easy, the tech not as perfected. The shit might just blow up.
I wanted something more like Terminator, where the timetraveler is surrounded by a slightly glowing bubble, which can rip apart stone and metal and any matter it happens to unfortunately intersect with, and which dissolves leaving the traveller. You’re here and now and then you’re there and then.
So, that’s the sort of thing I’m after.
Believe it or not, the giant starship I’ve been working on in this thread is inside the bubble. On about frame 100, the starship pops over from another layer into this one. Also, I will scale the sphere from frame 30 (invisibly tiny) to frame 100 (this size), until it collapses or dissolves at the end of the vid. I just wanted to keep it this scale now to get a good look at the surface.
(Disregard the ghosts glare node on the sun. The sun glares where also tested for the first time in this vid, and so this is the first chance I’ve really had to look at that setup. The ghosts one goes WAY too far, so I’m going to dial the ghosts back a little, but I like the other glarework on the sun. Anyway, this is about the Jump Bubble thingy, not the sun…)
This is all rendered in Cycles (of course.) On the sphere I’m using the Dispersion Glass material from the thread of the same name. So, there are no compositing effects on the sphere yet. I wanted to see what I could get out of it naked. It’s less than impressive, but it might be a decent start.
I might do a renderlayers thing where the sphere is on a different renderlayer from the ship so you can see both better, and put lots of crazy lights and screwy nodes on the spheres.
But, first I wanted to see what ideas you guys might have. Go crazy with the cheesewhiz. I won’t be offended. As I’ve said, this test is a fail. It’s already broken, so take a sad song and make it better.

@Animaniac: LOL! Sorry, I just saw your post. I didn’t realize so many people would have replied to this thing in my absense. Sorry.
At any rate, no, I was not angry when I originally posted this thread. The title is not in anger but in humor. I’m a big fan of Dan Browne’s “Giant Spaceship Thread,” where I’ve learned a lot about modelling (and applied to and experimented with what I’ve learned to the giant spaceship in these posts) and his new film-in-progress, “Plagarus.” I was shocked by how much attention and the instant fanbase Dan had generated for the film (already a cult classic) by keeping up with a thread on BA in which he designs it before your eyes. I always thought that was a brilliant idea, and a huge service to the community, where we are forced to stretch our skill and imagination and help work on someone’s thing.
So, my title here is more tongue-in-cheek than angry. I do that a lot. I love humor and being silly. You’ll probably never see me actually pissed off on this site. The only way anyone would ever know is because I say absolutely nothing. And just how likely is that?
No, assume I’m kidding or “taking the piss out of” (as the English say (I JUST LOVE THAT SAYING!)) because I usually am.
And thanks for keeping up with the thread. Good to see you again.
@Cuddlyogre: Yes, you’re right. I had switched back to BI for a while, and was using BI’s ability to deform the surface using a texture. But, it started getting a little messy. And, Cycles is getting better and better and faster, so I’ve pretty much decided to do all of this in Cycles. I’m just not sure how Cycles handles things like that yet…
I would tend to agree with you about a metallic surface look. However, for these ships, the armor isn’t a metal. Instead, I’m going for a more mirror-looking type of material for the armor. The reason for that is because the ships in this universe don’t use laser beams or projectiles (for the most part) as their main amrament. Instead, I’m going to be using lightning. Now, I’m no scientist (obviously) And I didn’t want my ships to have rubber armor. So, for some reason, one day I figured that my ships ought to have mirror armor. They won’t be able to completely stop a bolt like that dead on, but they might deflect it if it hits at an angle. I know that probably sounds absurd. It probably is absurd… At any rate, this rapidly encroaches on the territory where someone like Spielberg says “It’s not the sort of thing you can over-intellectualize. It’s a movie. Think about it too much, the whole thing would suddenly collapse.” (And I moan about JJ Abrams…)
The model will have more detail, guns and such. I’ve just taken a breather from modelling for a while in order to get back to working on how the action of the whole scene will flow.
Thank you for dropping by and for the suggestion.

Now, my point in doing this jumpbubble thingy test was to see how much of the visual effect I could get out of doing it as a “practical” effect. I’d like to use this dispersion glass material to give a basis for an effect, then possibly do the rest with compositing nodes. I just don’t know enough yet about doing effects that way to make it happen. Probably I will wind up doing an effect similar to the techniques in this cool tutorial on renderlayers effects…

The point I’m making (badly) with all of this today, is that this IS going to be a VERY MESSY THREAD. Like a redheaded orphan, it will get kicked around between forums, abused, crapped on, and the rooms themselves will be completely disheaveled and meander without direction from topic to topic, making very little sense during and in between. At points, you’ll even wonder if you’ve started to lose your sanity. The thread should be taken more as a stream-of-consciousness stab at this or that, not an organized painstaking effort to carefully design a movie from a perfect outline. In fact, if anything, it will be much more like going to the BigTop, a day aimlessly wandering the halls at ILM or something, while tripping on Acid. There will be random, completely unrelated displays and demos.
And maybe, just maybe, if I’m damn lucky, some bits of this might turn into a movie that is somehow worth watching. :smiley:
So, you can all feel free to drop in whenever you like with whatever odd thoughts or concerns you have, however unrelated. No point in formality here. If you’re convinced the guy who runs the joint is cuckoo, then why clutch onto perfect sensibility and reason yourself?

Qu’ PLAH! Me likey. I think I’m going to go with that.
Alright, now she’s got legs and doesn’t even have windows yet…

Okay, just so it’s detailed in this thread and I never forget again (this always confuses me, for some reason…) can someone tell me how to make a proxy of a model in another file?
I have all my ship models in other files. I’d like to make Linked copies of those models into this main scene. But, I’d like to make them Linked copies, so that when I change the master model in it’s home file (I still have plenty more modelling to do on each class of ships), that change will be reflected in the Linked copy in this main scene, where a big space battle will take place. Also, there will be several proxy copies of the same model. So, if I start damaging and crashing a proxy of one copy of a class of ships, I don’t want the other copies of the same model to also be damaged. They are just sisterships of the same class of ship, but individuals. And they will all have their own individual animation. Is this possible with Linked proxies?
At any rate, I’m hoping to hear from the users who have experience with Library Linking and using proxy meshes here. Sorry for the wordiness, just trying to be clear. Library linking is still something I have to think hard about every time I do it, and I’ve never used proxies before… (And is it true that, in Cycles, using a proxy mesh is less time-consuming for the Cycles BVH update during render?)
Thank you for your help.

I can actually figure out what the hell is going on with the second one… it looks way better than the first. Pretty cool. :smiley:

LOL I finally understand the name of the thread. At first I thought you were cursing someone(something) out, and then I realized this thread is the bastard son of the other thread. But if that thread is the father, then wouldn’t that make you the mother?

You know, I would add way more greebles to all of your ships, I’m not seeing any. The plates are good, I’m liking the materials, but in the “aliens exist” one it’s a bit obvious that the texture is tiled. Also there would be camera shake, so I wouldn’t have posted that on youtube YET.

I’m not understanding why people say that about space shots. I almost worked for a guy once who was making a sci-fi CG movie. He was very proud that he had been promised it would play on the Syfy channel. I had just started with Blender at the time and didn’t know much about filmmaking of any sort, so he was going on about basic cam work. He was insisted that camshake was mandatory in any space flyby. He showed me a Maya shot he had paid for already, a big pyramidal ship with all sorts of big glowing green neon engineering work on the underside roaring by over the violently shaking camera. “You say you’re getting started in… Blender? Yeah, I’ve never even heard of that…” So I didn’t get that job. And I’m still glad.
But I beg to differ. Space is a vacuum. There is no air there. Camshake is due to turbulance and vibration transmitted through the air. If there is no air for sound vibration to travel through and no wind, then there is no turbulance. Therefore, when a spaceship flies past, there is no camshake.
But you’re right about the texture tiles and greebles. That model is still in an extremely early stage. It doesn’t even have windows yet. What you’re seeing is just the most basic outline of the ship. The armor is the only real upgrade it has so far…

LMAO @ Animaniac!

Okay, guys, back to the Linking and Proxies question: anyone can answer the $64,000 Question?

Sometimes you have to draw the line between realism and good cinematography. Why else are MythBusters episodes filled with so many Hollywood myths? You already are not striving for realism here, (Battlestar Galactica timewarp and futuristic spaceships) so why sacrifice something that would improve a shot for already-deficient realism?

Animaniac, there’s a difference between things that no one has ever experienced and can barely even imagine (hyper-light jumps, giant starships, etc.) and things that men experience everyday and have since the early '60’s (spacewalks, the eerie silence and stillness of life outside an atmosphere, and a completely soundless environment)
Now, granted, we’ve been drowned up to our eyeballs since the '80’s by big spaceships roaring past, the pewpewpew of gnarly, cheese-laced “Eat lasers, PUNK!” Buck Rogers space combat, and endless screaming 'splosions and Micheal Bay-fueled popcorn stuffers. But does all the noise and rattle and clatter necesarily mean that you are, in fact, experiencing “good cinematography”?
These are habits of filmmaking we were all weened on, thanks to George Lucas. His excuse was, “Oh, well, if you didn’t have the sound of the engines it would pull you out of the experience. If you think of them like fighter planes, then something in your gut just expects to hear the engines droning as they barrel past. Hehehehehe…”
Perhaps he’s right. Then again, he also never hesitates to remind critics that he’s making “fantasy movies that just happen to be set in space, not sci fi…”
Personally, I find almost all of these old conventions tired and beyond worn-out. When I was a boy, I loved them. But, somewhere along the line, I just could no longer handle noisy ships in space and lasers that go pewpewpew. Anytime I see it it sets off bells in my head. And that’s the opposite of what Lucas was going for.
I sound like a broken record when I reference this movie, but pull up a couch and watch Kubrick’s “2001.” Tell me there isn’t something distinctly eerie about the silent, slow, long space sequences in that thing. It’s simply unnerving. I challenge anyone to even try to fall asleep during either of the Pod sequences in that.

Now, one thing I’ll grant: It might be that, during the Jump sequence, perhaps the cam should rattle and shake. But not because of atmospheric turbulance generated by sound. Instead, it may be that any space local enough to those ships would be highly turbulant, because the spacetime fabric near a ship jumping into local spacetime would be vibrating, similar to heatbloom in a desert or the heatbloom generated by cannon decks on an old tallship giving a full broadside. Perhaps the cam should be vibrating during the jump. But I’m not sure. Maybe I should just do some sort of bloom effect, again like being in a desert. However, I’m not exactly sure what that would look like, or how to do it. Although, I do remember somewhere seeing an Andrew Price tutorial on it once…
At any rate, I think we have to stop repeating the old habits of “good cinematography” we were spoonfed by the Boom Generation in space movies when it comes to sci-fi space sound. Enough with the noise in space. Instead, I think, since we know better and BECAUSE WE CAN, we should be thinking in terms of doing something more interesting, and maybe even more scientiffically accurate. I think we should start focusing on doing space scenes with VISUAL NOISE.

I actually posted that without much thought, and after analysis I realize I phrased it wrong. The Michael Bay popcorn stuffing cinematography is not good cinematography, but rather cinematography that appeals to the general population, in other words people that would rather watch mind numbing scenes of “crap blowing up” than to actually use their brains. And after watching your scenes, I agree that camera shake is totally unnecessary. I now don’t even realize why I suggested that. It goes, literally speaking, against everything I believe in(spoonfeeding, turning off your brain, etc.). But to see exactly what I meant by “good” cinematography, read the last sentence of the first paragraph of the first user review of “2001” on IMDB. I agree, and regret saying something so hypocritical.

Don’t beat yourself up. I think the majority of the population would be completely shocked if we landed on the moon again and they didn’t get to hear the thunder of the thrusters of the Lunar Module.
Again, we’re battling here against about 3 decades of training in The Sound And The Fury Of Spacewar. These are very old habits that are very hard to break. I’m fully expecting to get screamed at when I post the first episode of my space serial. If only I could figure a way to get paid every time some noodle on YouTube screams in comments: “Dude, all I hear is radio chatter and music? Did you forget to add the sound fx?! DIDN’T YOU SEE TOP GUN?!?”

Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Been workin on my thing a lot lately, so I thought I’d drop in give a sneekpeek for the 4th. We’re supposed to have fireworks today, no?
Hope you’re all well. :slight_smile:

The laser(or what ever you would call it) seems to have a bent in it… which I can’t figure out why, but the ships look nice. I see that there’s realistic lighting. That’s one thing that I enjoyed about 2001’s sequel, “2010”; it had realistic lighting for the spaceships.

I’ve been playing around with lighting a vacuum scene with a Viper MK II. If you fly another viper beside it, the first viper’s shadowed side will still be light by the sun’s rays bouncing off of the second viper. Hopefully that makes since.

Simply put, If one spaceship fly’s past another spaceship, the bouncing of rays might have the possibility on lighting up the dark side of one of the spaceship, hence allowing you to see the spaceship in more detail. The only problem with this is that the noise is going to stay for quite some time, unless you think of some other method to achieve the same results. Please excuse me for my rambling, hopefully it does make since.

What king of propulsion are you using for your ships. I assume your not going for the atmospheric flight style like you see in Star Wars.
Is it going to be similar to Battlesstar Galactica?