If you’ve seen my WP, you might have noticed that I haven’t done any Fed or Star Trek vessels since I very first started learning CG. Gave it another try a couple weeks ago, and while I didn’t spend nearly enough time on it or truly try to adapt the design elements to a specific era, I think it took shape quite quickly and nicely. I decided on the name U.S.S. Columbia, but using Blender’s ShapeKeys feature, I derived a number of variants, all of which are adjustable between the various pylon geometries, pylon shapes, etc. via sliders. The texture is lifted from an Ambassador class blueprint.
Slapped together a new logo for the site… Bear with me, as I’ve never taken any typography classes, but I think it works.
This fellow is another addition to my “Creatures” series… Snapped a few pics of some crabs and lobsters for sale at 99 Ranch, whipped up a mesh on the ol’ iPad and the rest is history. Oh, btw, if you’re looking for 360 degree panoramas to use as backgrounds in your visualizations, search Flickr for “equirectangular” for some awesome and very usable results.
Here are a few of the creatures I created in Autocad 123D Creature for iOS. All the character modeling and texturing was done in-app, then I was able to export an .obj file for use in Blender3D. For the lizard guy I took the background from a zoo photo and modeled the crystal and rock in Blender. For the forest canopy shadows on the character, I took the same background, desaturated it, converted the white into an alpha channel and mapped it to a couple of planes which I aligned to a sun lamp as a gobo. Project took about an hour and a half. My only complaint about the 123D app is that it doesn’t allow you to overlay a reference image for modeling. Other than that, it’s a great tool to create nearly complete concept creatures very quickly. For the wolf-sloth guy, I took this opportunity to experiment with rigging in Blender, which resulted in a fully articulated model (with the exception of the teeth, which I added in Blender, and just won’t seem to move with the rest of the model). Didn’t do much with him yet, but maybe I’ll do some animation with him in the near future.
Please do yourself a favor and try this program. It is literally LIMITLESS. It has a close-to-complete catalog of known celestial phenomena, from comets to exoplanets, procedurally generates planet, whole planet surfaces, asteroid fields, volumetric nebulae and whole galaxies.
You can also export textures for use as game and 3DCG assets, and import your own models. There are a variety of pilotable spaceships included as well. I can’t stress this enough… THIS IS WHAT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
It’s still in alpha at the moment, and is pretty buggy, but a few minutes browsing the forums got me up and running pretty reliably. It is extremely system-heavy, so don’t expect any miracles if you’re stuck with a dinosaur of a computer, but this will provide you with a literally endless universe to explore. I was dumbfounded when I stumbled across it, because I’ve been looking for an alternative to Celestia (abandonware?) for quite some time now. This was precisely the resource I needed.
I believe it’s Windows-only at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Linux support was somewhere on the horizon. Try it. You just have no idea how cool this is.
Seriously, try it.