Building A Babylon 5 Style Crew Transport... Part 3
By: Alexander Shareef
With the modeling phase of the project finished, it's now time to turn our attention to the final two components: texturing and setup in layout. Though this part will be significantly smaller than the previous two, it is nevertheless an integral aspect of creating models and making them believable.
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Open up layout, and load up "Shuttle_Assembly_3.lwo", which you should have saved at the end of the last lesson.
Position the camera so that it's in a good vantage point over the model, and light the scene any way you want. Lighting isn't very important at the moment, although I placed a Key Light (100% intensity) behind the camera, and a back light (50% intensity) to bring out the details in the model.
|Our untextured model|
The bulk of the ship's texturing will be handled with the "GenericPanels" image. This is what was used on the show, and so since we're making a Babylon 5 style craft, it's a necessity. In fact, the "GenericPanels" image was a big part of the look and feel of Babylon 5, one of the things which made it more realistic.
Before using painted maps, however, let's dirty down the ship with Lightwave's built-in fractal noise. As you'll soon see, this is an indispensable tool for adding dirt and grime in random places over the mesh. We'll start with the "Hull_Body" surface first.
Open up the surfaces panel, and select "Hull_Body". Click the texture button next to the diffuse settings. Add a fractal noise texture. A good rule of thumb when adding detail is to take the length of the ship, and divide by ten - this should give you the size of the fractal noise to use. So, if the ship is 10m long, use 0.1m and so on.
|fractal noise settings|
I used a smaller size for the fractal noise than the formula I gave before, because I want to really dirt this thing down. The Z axis was given 3m so that the noise will streak in that direction - thus giving the illusion of either being oil marks, or scratches on the surface. The texture value controls how dirty you want it - the lower the setting, the more dirty it is. Do another test render:
|dirt added with fractal noise|
As you can see, it dramatically changes the complexion of the model. Let's use exactly the same fractal noise settings on a few other surfaces. The easiest way of doing this is to go into the diffuse channel, then while there press ctrl-c. All of your fractal settings will have been copied, and if you go into another surface's diffuse channel, you can press ctrl-v to paste it in.
We'll give the following surfaces the fractal dirt pattern:
|more dirt added|
As you can see, in just a few steps, our ship is looking completely different to what it started as.
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Right, let's give it that pannelled look so familiar on B5 ships. Click on the images panel, and then load "GenericPanels.tga" from your (Newtek\Images\Space) directory.
You'll also need this image - it's a specular map for GenericPanels: GenericPanels-SPEC.iff
Switch back to the surfaces panel, and go to the Hull_Body surface. Click the color channel texture button. Now, select cubic image map as the texture type, and scroll down to "GenericPanels" for the texture image. Give it the following size settings:
|cubic image map|
Before clicking use texture, press ctrl-c to copy these texture settings. Use the texture, and return back to the surfaces panel. Now go into the specular channel and press ctrl-v. This is because we want to have exactly the same size image map applied here. The only thing to change is the image itself - scroll down and select GenericPanels-SPEC from the list.
Click on the render button at the side of the surfaces panel. Now, we want to give the following surfaces exactly the same settings, so do the following: select the surface, then click on the rendered ball to transfer the settings over. Do this for the following surfaces:
For the "Hull_COLORBand" surface, we want to use the same settings, but we can't put the texture map in the color channel, as this will remove the green color. Instead, click on the diffuse channel, and press "Add New Texture". This will add a second layer, and you can place the same cubic map settings for GenericPanels here.
With that done, the ship should now be looking pretty nifty:
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There are still a few obvious places that are untextured, so lets do them now.
It's basically the same kind of thing as before - the only factors which we'll change are the size settings in the cubic image maps for specular and color/diffuse texture maps. Here's a rundown of every surface's cubic settings - remember to apply the same to the specular channel also!
|surface settings - for cubic image maps|
By all means, experiment with the settings, and do your own thing - what's presented here are merely the rock bottom basics.
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With most of the ship taken care of, the only thing left are the windows and engines - the glowing elements.
There are three important parts to these surfaces - a high luminosity (100%), a low diffuse level (25%), and the glow tab turned on. Turning on the glow tab can be achieved by going into the advanced settings for the surface, and simply clicking on the glow button. Leave the glow effect at 50%.
In order for the glow to work, however, you have to turn it on in the effects panel. Do this now, and leave the default glow intensity at 50% and a radius of 8.
If you do a test render, you'll see that the windows are now glowing - although it looks a bit too pure a glow. To break it up, go into the luminosity channel and add a fractal noise with sizes of 2m on all axis. This should give a faint impressions of people inside.
Do the same for the Engines_Glow surface, although you want to remove the fractal noise from this one.
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Those pipes on top look a little unrealistic - when have you ever seen a sparkling clean pipe? - so lets dirty them down a bit. Again, our old friend fractal noise comes to the rescue. The principals are pretty much the same for adding dirt to the main hull. In fact, I used exactly the same settings as before:
|fractal noise settings|
|pipes dirtied down|
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And there we have it!
A fully textured Babylon 5 EA Shuttle.
Save it as: "B5Shuttle_Final.lwo"
|the final shuttle|
|© 2000 Alexander Shareef and Alternate Perspective 3D Ltd.|