Blender 2.5 Video Tutorial: Howto model a spaceship based on Star Trek

[Last Update: 14.01.2012]

Hi guys,

I am the author of the following videos:

… and since a lot of people asked me how I did it, I thought I will model a new ship in a series of tutorials. The first parts are already available, here are the links:

— Download the blender files here —

Tutorial 1a – The upper part of the saucer section (25min)
Learn some basics about blender interface
Start immediately to model the basic shape of the upper part: Learning by doing
Assign a material to the mesh

Tutorial 1b – The upper part of the saucer section (11 + 4 + 12 min)
Continue modelling and designing the upper part of the saucer section
Increase its size
Shape it while increasing
Add a second material
Add a real big Panorma-Window to the surface of the ship
Let the camera target an empty

Tutorial 1c – Create a texture for the current mesh (15 + 30 min)
Create an indivdual texture for our model in Blender
Assign it to our model
Define the UV- coordinates
Use Bumb Mapping

Tutorial 1d – Create the windows of the upper saucer section (52 min)
Add a new layer in our texture blender file
Make a copy of our original Mesh and move it to a layer Far Far Away
Apply the subsurface modifier. The level of this modifier will define the size of our simple windows; at least the way we do it

Tutorial 1e – Optimize the texture layers (34 min)
Delete the old escape pods and make them perfectly aligned to the ships shape
Make them „2-Dimensional in the texture“
Repair some errors in the UV-mapping

Tutorial 1f - Finish the saucer section (63 min)
Scale the mesh down through the z-axis to make it look like being more fast
Add another mirror modifier to copy the current mesh so that we don’t need to model the lower part explicitely
Apply the modifier
Select the new part of the saucer section and scale it down (move it upwards afterwards)
Shape it a little bit
Pimp up the material
Make the background black
Add indirect lightning to our scene
Remove the label and add other label (emitting)
Add more „shape“ to our bottom Texture part (and you should do it for the upper part too).
Perform a test rendering

Tutorial 1g – Special: Animating the upper light rings (Knight Rider Effect) (61 min)
Add a generated blended texture
Add the texture color to the material color
Adjust its x-offset value
Compositing (After Effects inside Blender), Fog Glow and Streaks
Apply the mirror modifier because of out textures and the label of the ship
Replace the upper saucer texture of the hull
Add a light which targets the label

Result of Tutorial 1

Tutorial 2 – Modelling the Warp Engines started [12.11.11]

Tutorial 2a – Modelling the Bussard Collectors of our warp engines (30 min)
Model the inner red glowing mesh
Model an animated (Using IPO/Graph editor) structure around the inner mesh
Copy it and scale the copy up
Invert its rotation.
Model the outer transparent mesh surrounding the rotating parts. (Repaired Version uploaded - previous was one out of sync with audio)

Tutorial 2b – Modelling the warp engines (61 min)
Model the shape of our Warp Engines
Model the Warpplasma inside the engine
Add transparent materials to the shape to see the warpplasma
Initially texture the Warpplasma

Result of Tutorial 2

Tutorial 3 – Modelling the body of the ship

Tutorial 3a – Modelling the body similar to the galaxy-class (17 min)- Start with a cube, add subsurface and mirror modifier

  • Shape the body

Tutorial 3b – Modelling the throat (52 min)

  • Copy faces and shape the throat out of it
  • Take care of keeping your faces quads

Tutorial 3c – Start Texturing the windows of the throat (28min)
- Copy the whole mesh and apply the subsurface modifier with level 1

  • Allign the vertices
  • Add a second cam and make it active
  • Render the texture
  • Use the second cam for view projection and assign the uv coords (added 14.01.12)

Tutorial 3d - Continue texturing the throat (54 min)

  • Delete the windows from tutorial 3c and add new windows with another technqique
  • Model the object for the surface texture of the throat
  • Optimize UV-Mapping for the throat (added 14.01.12)

Tutorial 3e - Still continue texturing the throat

  • Optimize our textures
  • Add painting layer to our texture (added 08.02.12)

Tutorial 3f - Optimize the texture lightning and add a customized texture-cam to our scene

  • Adapt better lightning in our texture layer
  • Recreate our textures to let them fit better to each other (added 18.02.2012)

Tutorial 3g - Optimize the surface texture of our throat

  • Optimize the surface texture of our throat
  • Re-render it (added 19.02.2012)

Tutorial 3h - Start texturing the top of our throat
  • Copy the site-view material, make it single
  • Adapt the material
  • Build the surface of our top texture
  • Add lightning layer
  • Add the top-texture cam (added 14.04.2012)

Hi, sorry for this stupid title, I confirmed the submission of my post/thread to early and couldn’t find a way to edit it. Is there are way to edit my title to the following:

“Blender 2.5 Tutorial: Howto model and design a 3D model of a spaceship based on Star Trek models”

— I think I already managed it —

cool ill check it out

I just updated the Head of this thread. Additionally, “Tutorial c” is available now too. Enjoy!

Looks cool, but just check your youtube titles. “1c2” should be “1c3”, and you mention “second tutorial” when it should be “third” etc etc… Bit confusing!?

Oh yes thank you, I updated the wrong link. Actually yes, I was confused :wink: and since I made these tutorials quite spontanous I MIGHT be confused inside the videos too ;). If something is so confusing, that it is difficult to understand, just say it, and I will add a comment to the corresponding video to made things more clear. Additionally, I hope that when I will make the next steps of this tutorial that I will be more used to make it and consequently the Quality will improve too… I hope…

Please don’t think I was criticizing! These look great, I want to go through them over next few days! Keep up the great work!

Nice! I will be checking these out. Thanks for making them!

@majawe6: I did not but thanks for making that clear anyway ;). In the opposite: Since this is my first tutorial, I am interested in qualtiative feedback.

Right now, I am a little bit confused with my numbering and my overview. It seems like, there is no Tutorial 1d, since 1c3 is actually that what 1d shoul be. So I have to update this this weekend after I listend my own tutorials again. Thanks for your interest in all of that. I think the special part of this tutorial is, that when it is finished, it started by zero and handles a lot of blender basic and more advanced tools. The currently available material is about 3 hours right now. It will increase to about 30 hours, I think. Thus, this a complete tutorial from 0 to 100% ,ok let’s say 90% ;).

Well, im not a big fan of Startrek (only movie iv seen was the one that came out last year, LOL), but since it was made in blender, which i am a HUGE fan of, it looks quite cool. The compositing looks nice and makes you actaully feel like your flying towards a sun/star.

The tutorials are also very nice and easy to follow. Thanks and happy Blending!

@fpsgod17: Well, I am a huge fan of both: Blender and Star Trek. Surprise! no one would have expected that, right ;)?

@all: Just wanted to update this tutorial a little bit. I now understood, that Tutorial 1c3 was actually 1d, I am also saying that in the video for 1d. So now my confusion is … don’t how to say … gone? Well, I am not confused anymore and Tutorial 1e is finished too. Just have to upload it and link it. By the way, is there anyone who followed already all available parts? If so, I will try to increase my efforts in continuing the tutorial … And if so, I would like to know if you foundthe tutorial was easy to follow for you and how experienced you are in blender.

@fpsgod17: Since you said that the tutorial was easy to follow I would like to know, if you are experienced in blender or not so much experienced with blender? Thanks in advance.

Best regards,

By the way: Tutorial 1f is finishing the saucer section. Please let me know, if you want to continue with modelling the warp engines of the ship, or do first some compositing to let everything glow a little bit? We have just windows right now, but we can of course let them glow, if you want so. Please share your opinion with me.

UPDATE: Uploaded Tutorial 1f and updated the overview on the head of this thread with the new link. Additionally, I added the description for the next part of this tutorial. Enjoy!

Well, iv been using blender for about a little over a year, so i would say i am intermediate. If i was beginner though, the tutorial still would have been fairly easy to follow. Iv learned almost every shortcut so that made a big difference in how easy it was to follow as well.

Thanks fpsgod17 for your feedback.

I just uploaded the next part of this tutorial (Tutorial 1f). Enjoy!

Tutorial “1g special” and description of Tutorial 2a added.

Tutorial “2a - Modelling the bussard collectors” and the animated result and description of of tutorial 2b added (Finished Warp Engines).

oooh. I started an Enterprise D-reproduction project a couple of weeks ago on a whim, but the prospect of faithfully texturing all the details made me put it aside for a while. I’ll definitely check your tutorials for technical inspiration!
German trek fan, hmm, I don’t suppose you’re a slave to the STNE?

Sorry, I was so bussy that I didn’t found time to answer and prepare the next part of this tutorial yet. I am afraid I have to admit that I don’t know STNE? Star Trek Next Enterprise? Hehe.

Thanks for checking out my tutorial. Hope you like it.