Love this design. It took me about five hours altogether– a lot of experimentation and mesh fixing. I tried to send it in to Shapeways for 3D printing, but there were unspecified errors with the mesh, so I’m going to have to work on it some more. It’ll be great to hold one of my ships in my hand, though. On the plus side, this model allowed me to get comfortable with some of the more advanced aspects of Blender modeling, such as creating manifold shapes, vertex fixing, subsurface division, UV mapping, material editing and some new lighting techniques. Lots of fun.
This was surprisingly painless to set up and render, while simultaneously being fairly educational. The scene consists of linked instances (with the exception of the station, which was the basis for the original project). Lots of keyframing, path animation, time stretching and indirect lighting. I really wish Blender had a true radiosity function, but of course, that would mean this project would most likely still be rendering right now. All in all, it took about 18 hours to render at 720p, although that would probably be slashed in half if I’d skipped all the compositing (bokeh and haze effects were used). I heeded the advice I found on an online forum, and rather than go with compressed or raw video when exporting, I used still .PNG files, which turned out quite nicely. By the time I ran the still sequence through After Effects for color correction and additional effects, the lack of compression artifacts really paid off– it looks really great in its uncompressed form. I exported to .mov, because I found the h.264 that AE uses too lossy, but it’s still not quite to my liking. Gonna have to tweak it a bit. Still, I have a good pipeline going between Blender and CS4, so I’m looking forward to moving on to the next experiment. One thing I want to experiment with is concurrently exporting a depth map so that I would have more control over the effects in AE. If I can figure that one out, I can simply export clean frames from Blender and do all the effects work in CS4, which would yield much better results.