I know at first glance it may seem like a silly idea to talk about Greebles/Nurnies but I’m thinking it’s because it’s not that it’s hard to do or work through so I thought a bit of benifit from working it out in a forum so design and modelling will go much smoother.
Some may have read my post on the Battlecuiser Greeble thread and I wanted to start a discussion on greebling by itself. As it can be an important part of ship or other sci-fi design process it perhaps should have it’s own place to toss it around a bit as it were. So I’m hoping to have some good input on the subject and maybe build up some stratagies in adding these often used details to sci-fi equipment (ships - vehicles - devices - perhaps even costumes [BORG]). Perhaps aswell some of the software tricks and techniques to do this aspect as they apply to blender and PSP aswell as others perhaps if they are others. We could perhaps build a bit of tutorial on Greebling that could be a model for making models with… I’ll get it started and see were it goes.
Perhaps a bit of history first:
Greebles came out of the BSG/SW ships because they wanted to add detail without the technical neccessity to explain why they are there. They also give the ship a heavily modelled (designed) look for the same reason. Mostly though it’s to give the ship a great texture without needing to paint the textures on. Perhaps aswell to distinguish them from “Smooth” ships of 2001 and Trek. If you look at the ships of SW and BSG you will notice they are painted white not much painting on them at all.
This was an easy way of giving a texture to the ship that for the most part would be smooth.
The parts of the ship that could be inside could always be inside if for these two reasons.
- They need to be outside to function
- They were added on after the design was complete.
Like a hotrod the parts can be inside or outside it’s up to the builder. My primary idea or thought is that greebles can be consistant with the design or they can be added on… If they are added on then they need to have a bit of purpose. If they are consistant then they are part of the design (intigrated). To some extent both of those need some kind of purpose the later is more hidden.
Not to say that greebles are a bad desgn idea but it would be far easier to build a ship with just a few more feet of hull then putting holes in the hull for the greebles. I say that only to make the point that it would be some kind of reason for them to be there when they are there. If space is at a premium inside then you kinda have to ask the second question - why is there so little space inside.
It could be very confined inside but that would be a lets say poor design. You wouldn’t build a house for 4 people with only 2 bedrooms. You could do it but why… (expence of the added rooms or lot size restrictions) well that could be but you would reduce the use of the house aswell. So what ever the use of the ship is it needs to be big enough to hold everything it needs to the greatest extent.
Greebles give you a chance to put in details but they aren’t just details like the old days (SW/BSG). When your making a computer model you aren’t restricted to the little bits out of model kits (as some greeble plugins try to do). You are building the greebles themselves. So you have total control over them. this isn’t to say they all need a purpose and a reason to be there but some of them do… The ratio is up to you as to how many… I would say though that if you look at it from a building the ship standpoint. As in my previous post You can work through the primary functions and add greebles accordingly as you go.
Perhaps to illustrate what I’m trying to say. Think of a steam locomotive. It’s kinda close to what you have? A complex machine even for it’s time. Thousands of parts moving in somewhat unisen. Some of the parts are very recoginisable others not so much but you know it’s a steam locomotive by the parts you recognise.
This is what I’m trying to say. In order for people to believe the greebling is something and not a camera effect then some of the greebles need to be recognisable as something. This will draw the eye into the model to see the details. As a side bar I’ve been into model railroading for years. One of the things that’s important is to model the obvious. Lets say the recognisable or common place.
It’s the same for a spacecraft. When you have details that people recognise as something they would expect to see then that makes them want to look further (to see the things they don’t recognise - curiosity). Without that initial recognition it’s just bumps (no detail just texture). All that work will have been for not. You want people to be curious about the ship and why it’s built this way. To ask questions about it as they look at it.
Perhaps to futher that idea look at the Millenium Falcon. There are greebles on that ship that you know what they are or atleast what they appear to be in anycase. This recognisabilty is part of the greebling process. The ships funcitons play a part in that aswell. You know what the ship is for (it’s primary functions) so the greebles reflect that even if you don’t know exactly what they are they look like they are supposed to be there.
Another long post I know. I am hoping to be helpfull though. The greebling flows out of the ships functions and then it’s operations then out of it’s backup systems. To some extent these things need to be efficient. Then they need to have a certain amount of commonality (recognisablity - standardisation). For spacecraft that isn’t a high priority but it’s important somewhat.
Perhaps a bit of flowchart is what is required to help out. I’ve always wanted to do something like that now seems like a good time. When I get one together I’ll post it here on Elysium.
Till then. Adding some purpose to your greebles becides the aesthetic ones will go a long way to making the greebles really come to life. One of the ways to do that is to not fill the entire space with them (ala Borg). This was a primative design idea as it was ment to be. If you put in some spaces it will give the appearance that the greebles have a reason and are not just stuck on (like the old days).
Greebling is in some cases pretty hard work. I’m not trying to make it harder on you. I’m mostly thinking of a few modelling tricks and ways to get your ship into a greater level of design.
At a very basic level these are perhaps important to always concider
Contrast - Differences in size and space (see the trees and not just the forest)
Balance - The design should have some flow to it. Consistant design cues throughout.
Realism - Not so much that the ship needs to be completely realistic but some of the parts need to be recognisable this applys all the way down to the greebling.
Flowchart is on it’s way… Part one of a tutorial
Comments and ideas welcome…