How would one go about modelling the Millennium Falcon ?

Hi I am relatively new to Blender and I am looking for a challenge. When modelling something like the Millennium Falcon would it be better to do it in separate parts or one mesh ? It’s just that there are so many complex lines and changes in the structure. I was wondering how those parts should be modelled ?

Lots of little pieces. Build the major form as a single piece perhaps, but then the rest is all just bits welded on anyway so you might as well model it that way.

Depends on what you want to use it for. Close up shots: do what K Horseman said, get the base form close to the correct profile then start making and duplicating small bits to attach. if its for render only, just child them to the main body. if its for a game, you’ll have to figure out how to weld them in and make it all manifold while not completely blasting through your vertex budget.

Hi thanks guys for the replies. I am going to look to use it for animation. Do I need to watch my vertex budget with animation ?

Vertex count will eventually become a concern as the viewport’s realtime performance can suffer drastically at high vertex counts. If your model is going to be extremely detailed I would recommend creating an animation proxy. A lower polygon approximation of the final model (perhaps in this case just the main body of the ship, undetailed) which you can comfortably manipulate and animate, but which is set to be invisible to the renderer (turn off the camera icon on this object in the outliner). The more detailed version is visible to the renderer but not to the viewport (turn off the eye icon in the outliner but not the camera), and is either parented to the lighter proxy or uses constraints to copy its animation, or if an armature is used it can be skinned to the same armature as the proxy.

Of course some of this can be alleviated with clever texturing. Low-profile detail such as surface panels and thin piping can be baked down to textures and normal maps on a lower polygon model so that there is no need for actual geometry to represent those details at all. This way it’s possible to get more of a medium polygon count that works fine in the viewport but still looks good rendered. It depends on how much detail you really need up close and how much geometry your computer can handle before bogging down.

separate parts are you best option, model each “greeble” then arrange them together onto a basic blocked out hull model. rather than child them to the main body i would, once all your separate objects are positioned “group” them all into one new object, this is done by selecting all your greeble objects and then selecting your hull object last, then click “join” in the object toolbox on your left. any greebles that are meant to move should be parented instead by selecting all the moveable greebles(things like gun turrets, rotatable radar dishes, landing legs) then selecting your main hull object then “ctrl”+“p” to make them children of the hull object. this way they can be moved independently but still “get moved” when the hull object is moved, for example your gun turret can be rotated in it’s mount but when you translate,scale or rotate the hull the gun turret will stay where it is supposed to be relative to the hull. my personal advice would be to build the parts in another program and put them together in blender for material effects, rendering and animation but that is often trickier than modelling within blender. texturing is always helpful but how important it is depends on how high poly your ship is going to be, at low poly the textures are critical to making the final model look good, at high poly they are less so but still help to do things like add dirt to crevices. even at high poly it can still render fairly fast(1 minute or less per frame) if you set up your rendering settings correctly.

I’d do what Hollywood does: make several different Falcon models, at varying levels-of-detail, reserving the most-detailed work for models that might not even be of the complete ship. Or, if you simply want to earn your rightful place in The Gallery, model the whole thing in exquisite detail.

Definitely, the modeling will be done in pieces, and the completed ship will probably be a “group of groups.” (In fact, it would be desirable to section-off the ship in quadrants or some-such so that you could easily omit unnecessary geometry from a render.

For a shot even at the distance shown in your first post, most of the detail shown “doesn’t need to be there.” It could be, as has been said, “baked” onto a much simpler piece of geometry, perhaps from a more detailed model that’s only used as a (offline) texture-source. The “animation proxy” and variations of it could get a lot of screen time under the right conditions … say, anytime the thing is moving at warp-speed.

Thanks for all the advice guys, you have been a real help. To form the main body of the Falcon what would you guys use ? A cylinder or start with a cube and add a sub surface modifier overtime to bring out the more curved details ?

Personnally i would start with modelling simple with several objects and progressively increase the amount of objects and details
You can find lots of blueprint with google for the overal shape.

Cool thanks for the advice Sanctuary ! In the model you have shown me did you join all the vertices together or have you stuck them into the place ready to join when you have finished adding further details ?

Those are independant objects in my example blend, not a single one.