Modelling

New Spaceship Texture PSD Templates

More clearing and cleaning out space on my hard drive… Here are two Photoshop templates I use for creating spaceship hull textures (that can be tiled) for my C4D materials. I have cleaned them up a little for public consumption. This means the layers are grouped and coloured to make sense of the template, and the detail layers are gone, because they were a bit crap, really!

The new spaceship texture templates and can be found in my DeviantArt Resources Gallery
here:
panels_and plates_2-rusty


Size: 1024 x 1024 px
For those of you working in 3D apps, I have included the Normal and Specular layers.

hull panels-merged

So, what you get are the following grouped layers:
Dirt - choice of 7 dirt layers
Scratches - choice of 6 scratches
Grunge - 2 grunge layers
Hull Lines - 3 layers that include the lines that create the hull panels. This includes one rasterised layer and the original, unaltered lines so that you can modify it as necessary
Rust Texture Overlays - 2 rust overlays for creating the classic ‘battered freighter’ look
smile
Panels - 4 layers containing various shapes to create paneling effects
Base Hull Textures - 3 choices of base hull texture/colour
Normal & Specular Layers - 1 each Normal and Specular layer for those creating materials in 3d applications

Besides these groups and layers, I have included a few ‘demo’ samples to show what can be done with the template.

Use : other than claiming that these textures are your work, knock yourself out with them - I hope you find the textures useful and It would be great to see how you use them in your art.

Multicolour Scifi Warning Signs - Multiple Shapes, PSD's

It seems ages since I have worked on one of my own projects - and anything scifi or 3d. All of the projects I’m involved in at the moment a bit on the dull side - but at least they pay! I’m clearing lots of stuff from my hard drive as one of the projects I’m working on involves creating lots of content including video. Thankfully, I’m able to push stuff out to cloud storage (thanks, Microsoft for 100GB of free OneDrive!)

Sifting through I found a coloured version of my Warning Signs template - no idea what I did it for and have no recollection of ever using it… It looked pretty cool though, so I spent an hour or two applying the styles to the other Warning Sign templates.  I suspect these will be more popular than the original, as these colours blend into more environments than my originals, which have a very strong identity of their own.

The new colourful templates - 6 in total - as well as the originals, can be found in my DeviantArt Resources Gallery
here:

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 12.38.39

Colours
Base colours always
Orange: d48639/R212-G134-B57
Green: 727e62/R114-G126-B98
Blue: 3e4e98/R62-G78-B152


Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 14.35.50


Groups & Layers
I have updated all of the layers and colour-coded them. To minimise the file sizes, wherever possible I have removed most of the rasterised layers and left the original PS Shape layer - this also allows you to easily change the colours. However, occasionally you will find the original shape layer missing - this is where I forgot to duplicate the Shape layer before rasterising or merging the layer.

The available Layers are:
Warning Sign  - pill
Warning Oval Sign Base Shapes
Warning
Medical
ID Holders Only
Radiation,
No Access
Science
Security
Biohazard,
Scratches Dirt
Masks (alpha masks for clean and damaged)

A word about fonts
I have adjusted these templates so that the text layers use Arial Black, as both Windows and Mac machines should have this font as standard. The signs look more effective with any of the following fonts available from
dafont

Fonts
Capture_it
Coalition
Defused
Jacinto Sans
Bitsumishi
Dodger
SF Automaton

The PS Brushes used to create the Dirt and Scratches layers include, but are not limited to:
Scratches by Katrina Rempel
Grunge_Brushed_by_misstaraleexo
Grunge Notion by Blazter
GrungeBrushes3 by KeReN-R

For the Biohazard sign I used Hazard Brushes 1 by AscendedArts

Use
Personal Use
Have a ball - do whatever you want with it!

Commercial Use
No restrictions beyond checking those of the font you use.


Whatever you do with the template, I would love to see it - I had loads of fun making images with it and I hope you do to!

Inerviewed By Your Cavern Art Blog

I was interviewed recently by Guillaume from Your Cavern, a really great Digital Art blog. If you don’t already know it, Your Cavern is a really great site for discovering digital artists of all genres and styles - well worth a visit!

You can read my interview here

The 2nd Drachir Novel - Evolution of the cover: Texturing The Space Dock

Hey all,
in this fourth blog entry on the development of the second Drachir book cover for Daric Books I’m going to talk about the texturing.

So, with the modelling essentially done, the tasks left were lighting and texturing. With regard to texturing, again I took my cues from the cranes in the picture of the dock - yellow.
nouveau_dock

A quick internet search located some good yellow-painted metal textures with general wear and rust. I also stumbled across some futuristic textures that included some with yellow panelling by philipk. Additional textures I made, some I took from Total Texture V7 Sci-Fi pack. To flesh-out the textures, where I didn’t have Normal, Diffuse or Specular maps, I use nDo and Crazy Bump. I personally prefer the normals created by nDo, but Crazy Bump is great for producing some of the other layers.

The textures were then built up within Cinema 4D in the same way, with Colour, Diffuse, Reflection, Bump and/or Normal, Specular, Specular Colour and Illumination layers. Sampling for all texture images was set to Circle. For the metals, the settings were essentially the same - the principle differences being Specular and Illumination. being set to either Phong (bare metals) or Oren Nayar (Painted metals)

Diffuse layers were added in at just 3%, but set to affect Specular and Reflection.
Voila_Capture82

Reflection was set as shown
Voila_Capture83

For bare metals, Specular was set
Voila_Capture85

For painted metals, Specular was set like this
Voila_Capture86

Specular colour was always ‘Add’ed to the metal texture
Voila_Capture87

The illumination layer was set to either Phong (bare metals) or Oren Nayar (Painted metals)

And the finished result:
Asteroid Basev4-for howto-cutaway

The control room you can see through the window is a modified picture of NASA’s mission control. You can see the finished cover at Daric’s Online Book Store.


The 2nd Drachir Novel - Evolution of the cover: Adding Detail

The next stage was to flesh out the detailing. Having started this process with the entrance lights, I continued on with the ceiling lights. I first I was going to go for a small number of large lights, a bit like the Station V lighting... Then looking at the hangers, they all seemed to have multiple lights. I also figured that a small number of large lights might give me a scale issue too... So, in the end a Star Wars dock style lighting look won the day. I just used simple polygon strips, which I could texture appropriately later on.

Having finished the dock itself, it was then time to flesh out the interior with ‘fixtures and fittings’! The first elements were pipes along the side walls; I was originally going o make this sagging cable ducting - but then decided that I wanted to fix other elements to it and also that the effect would be lost at the book cover size anyway.

For the pipe clamps, I was extremely lazy and just edited the Capsule primitive. Insert Capsule > Make Editable > Delete half > Close Polygon Hole > Delete other half > Extrude > Fill Polygon Hole.
Voila_Capture77

From the pipes, I wanted to hang information screens - again these were a collection of primitives pushed-and-pulled into shape. Similarly, crates that were to be littered around the dock were just cubes. I also wanted some sort of computer terminals for ground staff to use... Luckily, I found a low poly ‘industrial console’ model that was perfect with a tiny bit of hacking.

The key piece was to be some sort of crane - remember the picture that I found of the modern dock:
nouveau_dock

I wanted something that suggested that big yellow cranes... However, I also didn’t want to model the crane - again, as the detail would be lost at the book cover size. So, reducing it to the key elements seemed to be about the uprights and horizontal girders....

The uprights were super easy: cube primitive, made editable and pulled into a an upright rectangle. At the same height as the cut in the dock wall, I made a cut through the cube. I then pulled the top of the cube to get an angled shape to follow the dock wall shape. This was Immediately followed by a ‘Doh!’ moment, when I realised the wall pipes would be there - so increase the angle!. When I was satisfied with the angle, I duplicated the cube object and the put the original plus copies in a group. The group itself I places under a symmetry object and viola! The uprights done...

Voila_Capture78

On to the girders... I started with a cube primitive which I shaped into a rectangle and made editable. I then applied a bevel to the long edges. This I then duplicated twice, resulting in three objects which I then arranged into a triangle. Next, I introduced a cylinder primitive which a shaped long and thin. Positioning this first cylinder, I then duplicated it, changing the rotation ‘P’ and ‘B’ values until the four cylinders were arranged as necessary. When all were in position, I placed these objects in a group and duplicated the group to form the crane girder system.

Voila_Capture80

I was going to fashion a crude hook and pulley system (I know... but we know what it is!) but I found one on the interwebs which was just fine.

That’s it... Next, onto the texturing and soon, the big reveal!

Best...

The 2nd Drachir Novel - Evolution of the cover: Dock Basic Layout

Hey all,
this is the second in my series on the book cover development for the upcoming follow-up Drachir novel, from publisher Daric Books. In this entry I’m going to talk about creating the basic Dock structure. As ever, I’m modelling in Cinema 4D.

In terms of modelling, the hanger was largely extremely simple; I started with a cube, shaped it to be more rectangular and put a cut about a quarter of a way up the height of object. I then narrowed the top to give me a more interesting profile. Once I had the overall shape, I then got rid of one end.

Voila_Capture72


I then did some extruding around the front lip; I hadn’t yet decided on my strategy for showing more of the Space Station and so wanted to hedge my bets. A proud lip/edge around the dock entrance would allow me to easily blend the port into any other structure I needed to build. Using Loop Select in Edge mode, I selected the front edge. Then switching to Extrude with the edge angle set to 90 degrees, I extruded as shown.
Voila_Capture73

Taking my cue from the 2001’s Station V and the Death Star docks, I gave myself some “power bulges” to the back and one side - I would use these to hint at other rooms/decks.
Voila_Capture75

Voila_Capture74

I also decided that some sort quay would be visually interesting; something that visually identified the particular dock you were arriving at, guiding lights like a runway and so on. So, I pulled out a section of the lip I had built around the entrance and extended it. To make it look solid and robust, I used Inner Extrude and Extrude to create some crude panelling. That was the basic dock shape done. Taking another look at 2001’s station V and Star Wars Death Star docks, both used lights strips if various kinds to indicate the position of the dock entrance. So, I cut myself an area just inside the hanger entrance and also used Inner Extrude to provide a channel within the lip I had created around the entrance.
Voila_Capture76

At each point I also gave defined selections of polygons a Texture Tag, which saves loads of time come the texturing process.

More soon - the next entry will talk about adding detail.

N.

The 2nd Drachir Novel - Evolution of the cover: Concept

Hey all,
I have been working on the cover for the second Drachir novel from Daric Books and - with the release not far away now - I thought I would take you through how I got to the final image, as I did for the first novel. The idea for the cover for the second Drachir novel in fact came from the first cover. For that the author, RW Finlan, had requested the scene include a space station, and a space station - Mad Jacks - appears in the stories.

The scene I had in mind had The Nevis - Drachir’s ship - leaving Mad Jack’s space station... I already had a partly built ‘space hanger’, so I began to look around at images of space stations, aircraft hangers and so on, to settle on the look, the mood of the image I wanted to create.

Probably the two most famous spaceship docks/hangers in sci-fi are from 2001; A Space Odyssey and Star Wars. Looking at these, I realised that I didn’t want either - though the 2001 Station V dock is great and clearly influenced the Star Wars dock with its visible work areas on other levels.
2001 Station V


Aries Docking

kenobi-vadera in hanger

I then looked at military aircraft hangers
hangar-79

NASA’s Shuttle hanger
discovery-in-hangar

hangar-nasa

Ultimately I decided that I didn’t want to follow any of these particularly either - although it was clear I would have to have elements of each of them. What I wanted, though, was an element of current sea-faring docks; the cranes and so on that indicate a busy port, the loading and unloading of freight, of supplies, fuel, etc.

dock_du_port

In my next entry, I’ll talk about modelling the basic hanger design and starting to flesh out the detail.

Ciao

November Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Flyer Binary Image-merged
I have just uploaded the November wallpaper and calendars (I can’t believe how quickly time goes by!)... This month it’s a composite Cinema 4D render, with Photoshop backdrop. A classic SF image; spacecraft approaching a planet that is partly in darkness. I have named it ‘Binary’, as I have binary suns as well as two ships. As usual, you will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. The iPad wallpaper looks great in Photoshop - I have it looks as good on your iPad/tablet device.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Evolution of Ship Design For Daric Books: Pt 3 - Nurnies and detailing

Hey all,
I mentioned in the post on designing and creating the engines that I spent some time watching 2001 and Alien to get some ideas to work from. Watching 2001, I was struck (once again) by how massively inspirational the design work in that film has been over subsequent decades. I was looking at the detailing on Discovery, in particular the panelling behind the crew section - you can see it here in this still from the Kubrick’s set:

kg_studio_discovery-003
There are so many things that are marvellous about this - not least that it was really the first visualisation of a realistic, buildable futuristic spaceship.

As I wanted the cabin section of the spaceship for the Daric book cover to look like it could separate from the rest of the ship (I decided that the cabin section could act like a lifeboat if the main section was damaged) I wanted a coupling joint. The type of panelling used on Discovery would, I thought, look great around the joint.

To make the panels I first used Inner Extrude to give me a band of the desired width. I then used Loop Select in Edge mode to select the edges of this band. Then, with the Edge Cut tool, I segmented the band into similar sized polys. Once I had the individual polygons I sunk these into the mesh with the Extrude tool, inner extruded slightly, then pulled them back out of the mesh with extrude once again. This gave me a fine space around each of the polygons - I wasn’t going for the exact Discovery look... I was inspired by it, not trying to reproduce it slavishly!

So, this is was I ended up with around the cabin:
Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 13.11.14

I liked it so much, that I repeated the panelling around the engine bay - it has become a motif, in fact. You can see the panelling here, along with the engines described in my last blog entry:
Screen shot 2011-10-21 at 13.47.18

Evolution of Ship Design For Daric Books: Pt 2 - Engines

Hey,
Following on from my post about the design and building of the ship for the covers I’m doing for Daric Books, I’ll talk now about the engines. From the brief given by Daric, I knew the ship to be an ex-military dropship, capable of hyperspace travel. Being ex-military, I wanted the engines to look powerful. I tend toward clusters of engines, preferably different sizes - a hang over, I think, from the works of Chris Foss and Peter Elson.

Anyway, one evening, my wife was meeting-up with friends to celebrate a birthday, so I decided to catch-up with 2001: A Space Odyssey (whilst liking many sci-fi films, my wife hates 2001), as well as Alien. I paid attention to the engine designs of the ships in both and noticed a number of similarities specifically:
• Overall design mixes angular and rounded forms
• Large nozzles that tended to flare outward
• within the main engine, some sort of internal arraignment of smaller nozzles or grills
discovery

Screen shot 2011-09-26 at 16.38.04


The next day I started with a basic cube primitive and didn’t get anywhere... Then, I decided to use C4D’s n-sided spline, which I then extruded. That gave me an interesting shape. Once I had this, it was then simplicity itself to create the nozzle: on one end of the body, I used Inner Extrude tool, Loop select to select the new polygons and the Outer Extrude Tool to extend the bevel polygons, and the Size tool to shrink these in to the nozzle form.

Following the designs seen in 2001 and Alien, I wanted to populate the interior of the main nozzle with lots of smaller ones... I nearly used the same shape as the overall body, but eventually decided to use cylinders. With these, I again used the extrude tools, this time to create an inner circle where I would put my engine glow. As I created the recess in the cylinder I save the new polygons as a texture tag, so that I could just drop the texture in later.

As I already had an idea what the engine bay would look like, I was fairly sure that not too much of the engine beyond the nozzles would be seen. However, I still decided to add fuel and cooling pipes to dress the (very basic) design up a little. To save time, I used some from a greeble and nurnie pack that I downloaded some time ago. I just made some minor changes to them, so that they would disappear into the bulkhead behind the engine.
Screen shot 2011-10-18 at 11.32.24


For the engine glow, I created a material as follows. Obviously the idea is to create a bright, hot looking core with the material

• Colour - bright, around 250%, I used a pale blue 220, 220, 255
• Luminance - a darker blue, around 100, 100, 255
• Glow - I chose a blue in between those for Colour and Luminance, setting the Inner strength around 250%, outer strength around 350%. The Radius will depend very much on object/polygons you’re wrapping it around.
• Random around 19%
• Frequency around 3%

As you can see, that gives a bright whit glow with a blue hue - very Star Wars!

Screen shot 2011-10-18 at 11.31.44

For the ship, I will be duplicating the engine 5 times, in three sizes, to give the sense of power that I want.

Evolution of Ship Design For Daric Books: Pt 1 - Cockpit/Bridge

Hey all,
As I mentioned on Facebook recently, I have accepted a 2-book commission from the guys at Daric Books. If you don’t already know them, they are a specialist science fiction publishers based in Wales. Check out their Amazon ebook range here: http://amzn.to/p5wlrl

The two books feature the same lead character and spaceship. As there would be two books from the get-go I decided to spend quite a lot of time on the ship, especially with the possibility of additional books to the series later on. Further, as regulars here will know, I like to give away wallpapers and thought that Daric might like some wallpaper downloads to go with the books launch.

With permission from the guys at Daric I’m going to talk a bit about the development of the hero’s ship - without giving too much away!! From the author I received the following summary of the hero’s ship:
• Its overall design is wedge-shaped
• It is an ex-military long range drop ship which at one time carried a crew of ten with capability to transport a platoon of soldiers; having dropped a platoon into the combat zone, the ship was capable of supporting them with fighter/bomber capabilities.
• The nose/bridge area is plexi-glass with seating for five; two in the front (bomb aimer and navigator) and three above and to the rear (pilot, captain and first officer.)
• It is labyrinthian, having undergone a slow, random conversion of its rooms, cabins and holds - there are many secret hidey-holes throughout the vessel.
• Its forward thrusters are located at the rear above the main hyper-drive.
• The hold is below that and has an entry ramp.

For the nose and cockpit area, I looked at a number of existing military vehicles - in particular the Apache attack helicopter.
Apache_helicopter-932540

I also looked at the old British V-bombers, especially the Victor as I felt these had the layout and scale that I needed (and frankly I love their design).
victor-kmk2
Finally, I cribbed a bit of Syd Meed!

Bringing influences these together I arrived at the following with a bit of trial and error: Following the authors nots, the cockpit/bridge is spread over two floors, with the larger section above and further back.

Screen shot 2011-09-20 at 13.47.00

...and again, with some basic textures added, so that you can see the design more clearly:

Screen shot 2011-09-20 at 13.48.17
I’m fairly happy with this, with one misgiving: it’s very hard to determine scale from this... I am refining and cleaning the design up, and of course much will depend on how it looks as the rest of the ship falls into place. However, conveying the right scale is obviously important. Definitely something I need to keep an eye on.

September Wallpapers & Calendars Now Available!

Nemean-Sept2011-1680x1050

Little bit late with these; the render took bl**dy ages!! I have just uploaded the September wallpaper and calendars... This month it’s a Cinema 4D render, with Photoshop post work. A classic SF scene, the space hanger!! As usual, you will find English and French versions, the packs for each language contain a choice of widescreen sizes too. No iPad version this time, though, as I just couldn’t get the image to work on that size/ratio screen.

As ever, you’ll find them on the ‘Downloads & Links’ page... Enjoy!

Great Cinema 4D Resources For Sci-Fo Modellers

Cinema 4D modeller and developer Michael Welter has some fantastic plugins available for free at his site. There are a range of plugins available, including a truly fantastic atmosphere creator for modelling light/planet atmosphere interactions.

Visit the site, enjoy the plugins and give Michael some donation love...

Lynda Cinema 4D Training 3: Spline Tool


spline leaf

And learning how to use the Spline Tools by modelling a simple leaf... Care of the Lynda Cinema 4D video tutorials...

Lynda Cinema 4D Training 2: Bridge Tool


maze

Screen grab from the Lynda Cinema 4D TRaining; building a “maze” using the bridge tool...

Lynda Cinema 4D Training


Spoon

I have been working my way through the Lynda Cinema 4D course... I prefer the video format versus book, but I’m not a great fan of Larry Mitchell’s style - and with this sort of thing, the presenters style is ‘make or brake’, really...

Screen shot is an exercise modelling a simple spoon; you are introduced to HyperNURBs, Soft Selection, etc...

Cinema 4D: Sci-Fi Tower

Sci-Fi Tower
I discovered another tutorial by Adam Benton over at ImagineFX. This time, the tutorial sets out to produce an image in the style of Chris Moore. The tutorial doesn’t go into the modelling of the the tower in detail - but it was enough to set me off!

You can find the tutorial “
http://www.imaginefx.com/02287754332467706460/create-classic- sci-fi-art.html” here

Cinema 4D: Lamp Tutorial

Lamp Tut

I’m still working my way through the Anson Call book... Having a lot of fun so far and love C4D - easily one of the best pieces of software I have ever used. The latest tutorial - modelling the lamp, above - was really very nice, well laid-out and very satisfying to complete.

Cinema 4D - Castle Tutorial


Castle Tut
My brother bought me the Anson Call book Cinema 4D R10 Handbook for my birthday, back in July. I have only now found the time to sit down and dig into it... Plus points are shorter exercises - I can complete them in an evening! Also, the text is easier to read than the Arndt von Koenigsmarck book. Negatives - the images are all black and white, which makes some of them a little difficult to see clearly.

The image above shows a quick test render during the simple Castle tutorial.

Cinema 4D: Mac Pro


MacPro-start
I have invested in Arndt von Koenigsmarck’s CInema 4D 10 Workshop and, suitably for an Apple employee, one of the first exercises is building a Mac Pro.

Above you can see me part-way through.The book is extremely comprehensive, taking the reader through simple modelling exercises (such as the Mac Pro) to complex modelling exercises (a car). However, even the easy exercises are long, with many, many steps. In fact, it’s impossible to complete an exercise in an evening, and for those of use whose day job is not 3d modelling, it’s nice to finish an exercise in one go and get a sense of achievement. Also, the translation from the original German is very stodgy, making the ebook hard to understand at times and ponderous at best.

Cinema 4D: Chris Foss-style Spaceship


Foss retro Spaceship Tut
I recently discovered some great C4D modelling tutorials at ImagineFX. One in particular by Adam Benton caught my eye - how to model Chris Foss style spaceships!!! As you can imagine, I was in heaven! Above is one of my first efforts - if you’re interested in the tutorial, you can find it “http://www.imaginefx.com/02287754333349729529/retro-spacecraft .html” here