Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Big Spaceships 003 - Covenant CCS Battle Cruiser - part 2

We left part 1 with things looking fairly spiffy, but I warn you, things get far more impressive from here on in. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. It's been a real busy work week, so if you've been waiting for part two (don't forget to hit the subscribe button!) I am pleased you are bearing with me. Also continuing with my usual goofy style, which is probably no more appropriate than Seth MacFarlane hosting The Oscars, but then we do seem to live in a world where Seth MacFarlane can host an Oscar ceremony, so deal with it;)

Long time friend and fan of this galactically infamous blogzone, William Shatner, may also be popping in to help prop up and attempt to lend some credibility to my uncouth act so keep an eye out for that!

So, this is about where we left our spacecraft, somewhere in Golden Gate Park (don't worry, it's cloaked and I'm sure for the duration of the article no one will accidentally walk into it or anything)... I think it looks pretty good so far, but then I would...
Keen eyes will occasionally spot the odd floating greeble in these WIP pics, truth is my projects are often surrounded by a cloud of spare parts, usually all hidden in renders... 
But as this turns out, after some discussion with my client, it was really more detail than needed for the smaller vessel.  Does this mean I had wasted time? No - as the extra detail would be up-scaled to supplement the ludicrously detailed CCS Class Battle-Cruiser. The following pic is the stripped-down model which became the small Covenant Cruiser (new readers will be really confused by this point, so go back and read part one!)
The final version of the small cruiser, as then textured and featured in Halo 4's DLC series: Spartan Ops, the removed detail will be used on the larger CCS Class Battlecruiser, which is also to be used in the cinematics for the same series, clear? Good. 
Uhuruhu, read part one to me, Sulu, images on main viewer - and stop b*tching about me on Howard Stern. I, William T Kirkner, am intensely interested in this article. 
So now we get to the CCS Class Battlecruiser, proper. After scaling the removed detail from the smaller one, I sought to enhance it in an effort to give the ship a tremendous sense of scale that would apply at different distances from the camera. I'm always impressed with the industrial detail of the enormous oil tankers which ply this planet's Sperm Whale infested oceans, with much pipeline and infrastructure visible on the decks, they look massive even from miles away. It's difficult to add such detail to these curvy forms but I thought I'd try and it seemed to be working well in darker recesses to add scale.
The worlds largest Oil Tanker, Knock Nevis, was built in the year of your correspondents birth, though he's managed to outlive it by at least 3 years at this point, the Sinister Men in Black may be closing in as we speak... 
A great way to add scale is to add features that are instantly recognisable as having a certain size, by our everyday experiences. Because we're used to seeing a large building from far away our brains instantly associate a row of windows with a room or a corridor - a space large enough to hold a person.  The idea is to trick our brains based on our own experience of the world around us, this instantly ups the perceived scale. I clumsily call these details 'human scale features' - Such things might include windows, airlocks, hand holds, ladders, exterior lights, vending machines, etc. Anything that relates to the viewers direct real life experience helps sell that sense of scale.

Decks 38-42 are presently uninhabitable after a sewer main backed up on Deck 43. The solution: This fall, everyone's favourite Marine Plumber, Mario Chief will be despatched to unclog it in Super Halo Brothers 5, apparently it plays a bit like Call of Duty Black Ops 6, but with more Sparticans and less mushrooms. 
What the... Incoming communication you say? I was just getting into this Blog, now you ruin it with an interruption? Oh, hey I'm helping host the Oscars, Honestly I was just hanging around on my Bridge in my uniform, like I do every Sunday.
So, a large spacecraft is really more of an environment than a vehicle, thinking city or industrial complex rather than spacecraft helps to get a handle on the scale, this is a little beyond "Greebling" itself, A greeble as some will be familiar with, according to the makers of Star Wars being:"Something that looks cool but doesn't actually do anything."  And lets face it, they probably knew what they were talking about.

The purpose of human scale features by contrast is that they have an obvious and familiar purpose and definate size, thereby giving the viewer something to relate to - because a window can only be so large, whereas a greeble is somewhat fractal in nature. Capiche? 

A little patchy and experimental, but this first tentative area gives me an idea of where I need to go with the rest of it, the model will never look finished, or unified without a similar level of detail over  e v e r y t h i n g. 
It's important to consider how the model will look at different ranges, even pulled back like this the sense scale is still evident, largely because of the windows. Yep, I have changed the lighting again, not sure why I do this, but the project extended over several weeks, its easy to get bored - for consistency I also provided the occasional 'clay' render with a simple single light setup
It's also important to see how it looks close-up, I don't know what shots it will be used in, but I wanted to give the Director the ability to use the model in many ways. 
And so all too soon the gods of the Bloggospheroid have rudely told me through their signs and portents of bugs and errors that this article is getting too large. Though it pains me I must once again leave you dear friends, to try and earn a crust in this harsh cold winter; to get the money that buy the logs, that will feed the burner, that will boil the steam and drive the turbine of power;* that will enable the great machine of truth to send the required binary signals to post part three in the very near future.

If only all I had to worry about were which actresses in the audience had exposed their anatomies on film for money, and sing a song about it for enormous amounts of money.

It's a song, about boobies? the ones belonging to women in the audience? Eh, whatever, I'm sat in a state of the art Federal Reserve warship anyway, lets get it over with and cash this cheque! - Mr Sulu, put that mic down and plot a course for the neutral zone, you know, Switzerland, where we all hide our earnings from the IRS!** 
Did you like this article? Hated it but feel unexpectedly generous anyway? Please share and like this post on social things like Google+ and Facebook, thanks! 

*I apologise for the possible mis-use of a semi-colon.
**I have no idea where he hides his earnings.