Creating the Absolute Zero

Hey everyone, sorry this blog is so late! My work timeline was interrupted by a stupid thing called “moving”. Anyhow, I am now in my new house, and the final home of Giggle Horse Games. 🙂

So in this blog I will go over what I did to create the “Absolute Zero” space station itself. It is pretty simple, but at the time, it took me some thought. Keep in mind that I only had 3ds 2011, with no support for substances, and only Mental Ray for a renderer.

Basic Ship Geometry (front)
Basic Ship Geometry (rear)

You can see above, the basic geometry of the ship’s hull with solid chunks. I then took the hull and cloned it, and shrunk it inside of the first hull. Then I did that again with the second inner hull. Making the ship basically have three hull layers like an onion. If you are asking yourself, “WTF did you do all that for?”. I’ll get to that in a second.

UV Mapped Geometry (front)
UV Mapped Geometry (rear)

After making the onion geometry, I unwrapped it all and made sure it had the proper UVW coordinates. Here you can see I applied a UVW map checker material. This allowed me to see that everything was UVW unwrapped correctly.

Now, let me get back to my onion hull, and explain that. I took the inner most hull, and used 3DS Max’s “viewport canvas” tool to draw all sorts of patterns where I wanted the hull to be cut out. I applied a white texture and drew on it with black. However, the viewport canvas isn’t very precise, so the pattern initially looked like shit. So I took that texture map, flattened it, imported it into InkScape, and rebuilt it with precise lines.

Then I took that black and white pattern and used it for the opacity of the hull’s texture. So the black parts become transparent, and the white parts are solid. I also used the same texture map for displacement to give the hull some thickness. So when you look at the cut out areas, they have edges. I did this for the other two hulls as well making a Swiss cheese of metal…eh from an onion 😀 The inner most hull also has similar black and white opacity map for the ship’s lights.

Final rendering in Toxik

Finally I used Autodesk Composite / Toxik to get the look and the feel I wanted for the ship. Things like contrast, lighting, color tone. So that is a mile high overview of how the “Absolute Zero” Space Station was created! I might redo it with substances at some point, like when Absolute Zero 2 comes out 😀 Hope you enjoyed this blog. Make sure to share it, and ask me any questions you might have.

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