Thursday, 30 August 2012

Big Spaceships 001 - Irrealis "ISS Mjollnir" Part 3 (of 3)

If you missed it, heres a link to post one in this series detailing a highly detailed sci-fi spaceship model.

So where were we, oh yes so not long after finishing the model I upgraded my machine and software to 64 bit, a little later than most folks - this was due to the financial crisis, repeatedly moving accomodation and because the work I was generally doing didn't demand more than one gigabyte of memory but it was years after that, when I finally put the peices together and made some pics, one of which I'll relay here.

View of both wreckage sections, the centrifuge and bow, friends reunited after at least two years. 
But those pics aren't terribly pretty.  So here are some brand new ones made just for this posting, these are full standard HD 1920 x 1080 in a high quality PNG format so please click to see them at full size.

Hopefully one day we'll see the ISS Mjollnir in action in it's production, Irrealis, until then these will have to do!

I hope you enjoyed this series, if you have please tell people about this blog and leave a comment on the comment zone below. As the title implies, more to come as I have many projects to document, if you're interested in commissioning a model please feel free to contact me, my details are on my contact page. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Big Spaceships 001 - Irrealis "ISS Mjollnir" Part 2 (of 3)

Because this is the internet and I'm sure I'm not the only person who reads things in reverse order,  lets recap...  The ship was built in 2008 for a short movie then called 'Rocket Man' now called 'Irrealis' to my knowledge it's never been released on the internet.   There's more detail in post one of course if you want more or feel the need to follow things sequentially in the correct order.

One of the important FX shots in the show is an integration of 3D/CGI graphics and live action, a composited tracking shot showing a slow pull away from a live action set which is embedded in the wreckage of the ring section.

The over-exposed booth in the middle of frame matches the on on screen set, the diagonal bars passing in front of the booth are infact matched to a part of the cockpit set that was in the live shot, and became part of the overall effects shot, here integrating with 3D modelled damage.
Once finished with the damaged section I decided it would be a good idea to jump to another section of the ship, the bow module.  This is often the most important section of a spaceship, but this time the bow is not shown in close-up, even so I still added a decent amount of detail for the time and resources I had available and tried to breakup some of the flowing lines into more interesting forms.  The textures and geometry hold up at close range.

It sorta looks like a head of some oddly proportioned robot, the round mouth opening is most likely a docking port - like a huge version of ILIDS (International Low Impact Docking System) as used presently in human space flight. The teeth would be part of the system that interlocks with another opposing dock, bringing and holding the structures together.  See if you can spot the bit of Apollo lander which was in there from the proxy model and eventually plastered over with other bits and pieces.
Once complete I designed some truss sections - perhaps more artistic that realistic, but that's the theme of the entire ship, we're not NASA - to tie the fore and aft modules to the centrifuge.  Beginning to feel the pressure of time constraints and the hardware limitations I had at that time meant these parts were made in a totally separate file, to be combined later for rendering on a powerful render farm.

The engine was probably a fusion reactor, perhaps something like a Polywell (hence the round shape) the bits sticking out from the engine module, perhaps some kind of radiation shielding for the centrifuge or to enhance cooling, or if neither of those will do then they do *something*;)  - I find if you can't back up things with numbers then its easy to avoid nerdy arguments with certain obsessive personality types by letting them work it out for themselves.
(much as I enjoy a nerdy argument, it generally makes all parties look like dorks and cuts into the modelling time immensely)

So at this point I had problems, running out of time, running out of memory, Joseph perhaps running out of patience but always a gent.  I now left the fore and aft modules, though the engine in particular could have done with some more poly-lovin it was never meant to be seen closely.   I returned to the centrifuge and completed some parts of it, but found I couldn't even render the parts without changing renderers, lighting and materials, and had no time for any of it. I sent what I had off, as a complete package but a large 'make it up as you go along' ship like this is never truly finished, only abandoned - I'm usually never happy but look back years later more objectively and think, hmm, that actually looked OK. 

In fact for numerous reasons I didn't see a complete render of this ship at all (and properly assess my work) or even load all parts into the same scene until earlier this year, a gap of three-and-a-half years.  So I will frustratingly leave you now without seeing the entire thing - until part 3. 


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Big Spaceships 001 - Irrealis "ISS Mjollnir" Part 1

Its three, years ago and I'm looking for a new place to live; the charm of the lovely water features that would be produced from the ceiling of my inner city attic flat every time it clouds over wearing thin.  After cancelling a tenancy agreement I have about two weeks to sort other accommodation out and pack up and move.

Perfect timing for a big project with a tight schedule then.

Cue Joseph Ksander: "Steve, I'm making a movie and need a big spaceship."

Me: "Sweet!"

The fool even offered me money, anyway... Joe is really nice guy with a great vision and now rightfully a very successful person in Hollywood, this spaceship was for his low budget short then called "Rocketman," now called "Irrealis."  The design had already been worked out and painted mockups filmed during principle photography so it had to closely resemble those images, here's one of them:

I began with the central centrifuge section based around a proxy model used for working out FX sequences, Mjollnir is a big ship and the centrifuge contains four decks.
 A finished Centrifuge section erm, section. 
The ISS Mjolnir is in trouble having been struck by an Asteroid, so as well as building the ship I also had to partly destroy it, as this was the last ship I built on a 32 bit system (with the 1gb memory limit for applications) I had to work in several different files.
Working out some of the damage on the outside, considering the path of the asteroid through the ship, and that the centrifuge is still spinning I gave everything a downward/out sag, as if holding on by only a thread.
Adding more layers to represent outer and inner panels and so on, and lots of junk, pipework, wiring, big storage tanks, cargo pods and machinery.
This is about where I had to move house and to illustrate my own frustration at having to break off and deal with other things i have decided to split this into two parts and make you all wait, hah! 

If you forgive and bear with me, more to come including the rest of the ship in part 2!