Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!

Have a nice new year everyone!

I'm currently working on a new project, it's movie related but not Star Trek or Star Wars. I'm afraid that's all I can say, it also means that there will be very little to show up to April because of the NDA.

Meanwhile is considering the idea of IXS Enterprise posters, a fun idea if you ask me. But: nothing is certain yet. :)

In other news, I'm in the process of converting the Vesta class to mesh, improving some tiny design glitches at the same time. Mesh conversion is tricky, with different output in viewport and renderer... Also I have to redo the textures, this is basically a good thing as the current version relies too much on ancient procedural shaders, they need to go. Still once converted to mesh, the usability is going to be so much better. New renders will look better and hopefully a bit more realistic. :)

Oh also, the new novel Takedown by John Jackson Miller is using the Aventine on the cover. I made the artwork around June 2014. It is a bit different from previous covers, but so far it has been received quite positive. Can't wait to read the book!

In case you are not doing so already,  visit me on Facebook ( or on Twitter, as I update these a lot "quicker" than my blog.

Thanks for the ongoing support!

- Mark

Monday, June 16, 2014

What just happened?

"We made a theory conforming concept to motivate people to pursue a STEM career." I'm not sure how that translates in "NASA's new warship". It seems the universal press translator is either broken or only translates what it thinks we want to hear.
FUN: I think we have established that we still want to go to the stars. The sooner the better even.
SAD: To see real scientists acting all weird and skeptical over an artistic concept.

I'm confused if my images worked in a positive or negative way this week.

The next starship from this yard is going to cost an exorbitant amount of money. (If you have to ask for the price...that kind of money.) I will deny that I made it and I will never upload a single image of it myself. Really have no desire to go through this again. That probably means I'm going to have a very relaxed year. :-)

Ah well, I always wanted to try knitting.

- Mark

p.s. let me answer these questions before I go:

Ian Bruce: I'm using 3DS 2014 with Powernurbs plug-in and Arion as a renderer
Plee587: IXS: International eXperimental Starship
John Leo: Animation is difficult on this machine, it takes about 24 hours to render 1 full hd frame. :)
Mat Ollig: Blurred out is a made up logo that (in my own eyes) looked too much like an existing one, to avoid trouble I blurred it out, this was all done before the images went viral. If I had known beforehand I would not have done it this sloppy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

U.S.S. Amsterdam

Forgot to post this earlier on.
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IXS Enterprise

Many months have passed since I last posted an update. While my intention was to share anything the project I was working on was too important/too demanding to write an article during the "construction".

The IXS Enterprise, a very early concept of the first real warpship. When I got invited by Dr. Harold "Sonny" White and Mike Okuda, I was absolutely stunned. Did that just really happen? A person from NASA contacted me to do artwork for them? Yes it did! After seeing my rendition of Matt Jefferies "Ring Ship", Dr. White thought that this would be a good starting point for a near future "Ring Ship". At least from a STEM perspective. Because that is the main goal: to get a warpship concept out there that would inspire young people to choose a career in STEM.  

However the XCV-330 needed some adaptions to fit to the latest warp theory. After making some adjustments, we quickly realized it would be better to start from scratch. I started to draw some logical (in my mind) shapes, Mike Okuda joined in to give some extremely helpful technical advice. He also concepted a 2D version that made excellent use of the space within the 2 rings. I tried to put as much of it into the IXS without loosing the motivational perspective. This perspective is also the reason why I made some (in reality) rather unpractical design choices. For example the windows in the cockpit, (a small homage to the spaceshuttle) the ship would be fully flown by wire/computer, but to have an outlook into space and to give the ship a face was very important to me. This was the main priority on my wishlist.

For a few weeks we kept tweaking and modifying the rough layouts, and when we finally concluded what direction to go, I secluded myself and started to work out the shapes and think over the details. Meanwhile Doug Drexler joined in to get this ship on the SOTL 2014 calendar. That was even better, I never walked the line between science and SCI-FI this close. (Or reality/fantasy.)

Time passed and I kept on modeling. Because the ship is even smaller than the XCV-330 I wanted to give it a very physical appeance. Very little textures and a lot of real surface detail. This did not really speed up the modeling, but in the end did work out quite well. The smallest edge blend on this ship is 2mm, the paneling and even the slots to keep the paneling in place are all modeled. If a tube flows into something, there is a slot where this tube will go into. No "hull stucking" so to speak. Hardly visible, but in my mind very satisfying. 

Deadline for SOTL approached and I had to move on to make this happen. Because of the rather fat rings and the short/stubby length, it was very difficult to get a wide shot that would show it all. After a lot of consideration with Doug we finally got a decent angle. When I finished the SOTL entry (this March) I decided to take a quick brake. After a week I got back into it, and started to convert the entire ship to mesh and to name all the parts. (Over 2000 of them) Also I added more details to the underside of the ship, that was not visible on the calendar shot. I'm currently working on the last phase: texturing the nomenclature/signs/arrows/labels. This will take some time to complete. The result will be the best model I have done so far, the most manageable despite it's 80 million+ polygons and most importaly one that might inspire the next generation to choose for space and science. Lets face it, there is an entire endless Universe waiting out there to be explored. Why are we still here?

- Mark

p.s. Please excuse any spellings mistakes. I decided to avoid a spell check, English is not my first language and checking will result in rebuilding the text, taking up a lot of time, and most of the time I wont post anything afterwards its this or nothing. :)

Early adaption of the XCV-330 layout.

The XCV-330 that started this adventure:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tiny preview

With SOTL 2014 NOT canceled, I'm working quite franticly to get my entry done on time. :) This is also why the blog has not received it's new layout yet. Sorry! :D

Anyway here is a small preview of one of the communication devices on the primary forward pylon.
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