The Blue Falcon (from the F-Zero series)

Hi all, it’s been a while since I last posted a WIP thread here. This is a project that I’ve wanted to tackle for years, only I never really knew where to start. Back in 2009 I had attempted the same thing but with very disappointing results. That setback is probably what put me off starting anew for so long. So here we are, a project based around the F-Zero universe, namely Captain Falcons’ racing machine; the Blue Falcon.

Now I’d like to point out that this isn’t a 100% faithful replica. I have and will be taking some artistic license with this project. My aim is to recreate my interpretation of the Blue Falcon, which of course differ from others opinions and designs. Although mine will be unique, I still want it to be quickly recognisable.

My plan is to complete the model, rig it and then have an animation of the finished craft racing around a track (haven’t decided which yet, jump that hurdle when I reach it). I plan to use Cycles for renders, it’s already so promising and the real-time viewer is just glorious.

Here’s the low poly mock-up I’ll be using to maintain the feel and proportions:

Here’s my current progress:

Does anybody know how I might go about adding the thruster jets? Although I still have a fair amount of time before I need to add them (final scene really) I decided to have a go at making some the other day. Basically the problem is that I would like to have them properly animated and able to interact with surfaces. Currently the best I’ve been able to manage in Blender with Cycles is quite frankly rubbish.

I threw one of the renders into Photoshop and quickly painted a few jets in to illustrate what I’m looking to achieve. By the way I’ve since changed my plan for the appearance of the bottom thrusters, they won’t be quite so oversized.

Some help on that regard would be most appreciated. My next main part is going to be the cockpit interior which I need to flesh out properly, after that it’s going to be body details etc. Texturing and materials will be covered afterwards, although I will be adding things like lights as I go along, I find they help me to visualise things better. :slight_smile:

That is looking awesome already, keep going.
As for the thrusters, the only thing i can think of is the flame tutorial from blender guru, maybe you can get some ideas from that.

Sorry for the long time between updates, been really busy with uni related work lately so haven’t really had the time to sit down and model. Ordered and fitted in a second graphics card too in the meantime, been loving the blistering render times.

It’s only a small update to the interior sadly, started working on the various button arrangements, a HUD like screen on a robotic arm and of course the steering wheel.

These renders were made in cycles (added a couple of lights for the second shot, should make things clearer in the future). 2000 samples were used, render times were nice at around 4 1/2 minutes each at 2000x1600 resolution.

I’ll work on making some nice wires for everybody, the standard plugin doesn’t seem to like my model much and just freezes.

(Click for high-res)

Hopefully I’ll be able to update sooner this time :slight_smile:

<3 F-zero, this is a good-looking render and should do justice to the mighty blue falcon.

My advice for the thrusters is to use particles and then composite them in from BI. In cycles I am not sure that there is a suitable shader, or at least, I am not sure how to make one.

I said it once ill say it again…very nice
Not sure how practical the robot arm for the screen is, but if that is how the original was then, ya cant do anything about it.

Thanks :slight_smile:
Yeah unless the particle system is integrated into cycles by the time I finish everything that sounds like the best solution. Alternatively I might be able to add some lamps and then use after effects to render in the thrusters themselves. I guess I’ll figure that one out when I get there.

The arm is just a personal choice, I’ve never been fond of adding holograms etc as they just don’t seem concrete enough most of the time. The idea is that the arm can move the HUD screen around freely so as not to impede movement. I guess I’m probably making this version of the blue falcon far less technologically advanced than it would be in the series, in a way. I like the more visceral feel of clunky, heavy machinery, even if it makes less sense :stuck_out_tongue: If I have the time I’ll do a series of vehicles all with the same feel.

EDIT: Here are some wire shots, best I could do sorry. Lots of thanks to Edddy for making the wire plugin!

Didn’t really feel like modelling so I decided to tackle a couple of the texturing elements from within the cockpit. Ideally I want to try and make it as realistic as possible, and this is also where I hit a slight snag. As I’m still pretty inexperienced with Cycles, extracting that last 10% from the renderer to bridge the gap between “looks decent” and “thought it was a photo” is going to be a real challenge.

I first started having a go at texturing the seat and adding a makeshift HUD to the pane (not final design but same principle):

I’m still tweaking the leather shader so things may change a fair bit in the future, also I’m working on the HUD atm. I’m not entirely sold on the window pane feel currently, I’ll post any changes I make. I’m working on the dashboard shader too, I’ve decided that it will be carbon fibre (fits with the theme pretty well and looks nice to boot) which should be a real challenge. I’ll be adding the stitching seams to the seat later, they should help it feel less like it’s made of plastic than it does now.

EDIT: Hmm, you can’t even see the leather bump material in that render unless you zoom right in. Is there a way to change how much the displacement option is affected in cycles atm, aside from going and upping the contrast of the original image I assume?

EDIT Again:
Made some more changes, although not enough to warrant a new post. Changed the way the HUD works, along with the associated material. Now the texture will actually glow properly, I’ve also removed most of the glass pane, this method feels more futuristic and should be the best of both worlds IMO.

Why cut the glass, just make it glow on the glass. But then without the comparison this might be better

Looking very impressive; one thing struck me in particular, the cut-outs in the head-rest show angles so may need more geometry or subsurf to make circular.

(BTW: have a first-gen i7 and looking to upgrade soon - 6 core cpu don’t seem to offer any benefits over quad, and can even be slower from comparrisons I’ve seen due to software generally not supporting more than 4 cores atm. How are you finding them?)

Agree removing some of the glass makes it look better.

Not sure why but the nodes just plain refused to do what I wanted and made the whole pane glow. I’ll be adding more detail to it later, the new design should allow a few better ideas.

There was supposed to be room for the harness originally through those so they were going to have a sheath of sorts. You’re right in that as a result they seem a little low poly, I’ll see to that when I do the stitching, thanks for bringing it up :slight_smile:

The benefits are a little hit and miss. In a lot of applications the performance is the same or a tiny bit lower than say a 2700k (most probably slower than the new Ivybridge i7’s coming out soon). The real advantage comes for well threaded applications as having 12 threads is a good advantage compared to the 8 of the others (including Ivy). Another really big plus is quad channel memory support, with the 8 RAM slots offered by many motherboards, instead of 4 on the others, you can get up to 32GB of RAM using 4GB sticks. The extra RAM is really really useful for many applications that require it, such as After Effects and the like. Whether the extra RAM and threads are worth the extra cash is up to you. Personally, I feel I made the right choice, especially given we probably won’t see Ivybridge-e processors until late in the year

Right, started work on making a track, although nothing worth posting yet. I’ve also been texturing and adding to the cockpit, I’ve settled with a carbon/titanium theme using purple notes to tie in with Captain Falcon’s colours.

Here’s the current progress:

Sorry about the fireflies, I’ll iron them out later. Also upon rendering I’ve decided that the right hand console desperately needs to change. I’ll work on bringing that up to scratch. Fixed the low poly headrest holes too :slight_smile: Still there’s a lot of work to be done even on just the inside, let alone the outside.

Some awesome detail going on in there.

Very nice! I love the detail and setup on the armature and display!


I like the cup holders. The titanium material is pretty sweet as well.