Archive for BC Holmes

Thought for the Day

Never make a promise or plan
Take a little love where you can
Nobody’s on nobody’s side
Never stay too long in your bed
Never lose your heart, use your head!
Nobody’s on nobody’s side

Never take a stranger’s advice
Never let a friend fool you twice
Nobody’s on nobody’s side
Never be the first to believe
Never be the last to deceive
Nobody’s on nobody’s side

— “Nobody’s on Nobody’s Side”, from Chess.

Prism

Moving on to Complex Items

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about modelling the brig from Voyager. We see a fair bit of the brig in the episode “Thirty Days” where Tom Paris is confined to the brig as the result of disobeying the Captain’s orders.

This image appeared in an official Trek fan publication:

(Paramount authorized an official Trek magazine in the nineties — it often included these kinds isometric-style set interiors and folks have copied, reused and remixed them ever since).

There’s a bunch of stuff I don’t like about the Voyager brig set. First, there seems like a lot of wasted space dedicated to an area that probably isn’t commonly used. Despite how much space it takes, it always struck me as odd that there was only one cell. And, lastly, I find the idea that Trek ships have stations (like the brig guard station) where people are expected to stand all day long a bit unfriendly. People need to sit down.

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The Texture is a Lie

My first foray into normal maps. Trek frequently uses this particular texture — often on pillars or support structures. It’s simple enough, but the extra detail would add a lot of geometry to a model.

Thus normal maps. Normal maps say, “pretend that this flat surface has extra detail on it, and use that pretend detail when you calculate light interaction.” It’s all pretend, but it’s a special form of pretend that can be hardware-accelerated.

Basically, to make this work I have to create a model of complex geometry and use a Blender tool to create (“bake”) a normal map by projecting onto a much simpler shape. The end result is a very blue-coloured image that I can use in other models.

Net result: the surface is flat. It just doesn’t look flat. And if you look at the bounce light from the floor, that bounce light is emphasizing the texture shape.

Like I say: first foray. I barely know what I’m doing.

And more 3D

Yet another Star Trek item that I’ve modelled.

In Star Trek: Nemesis, they created a new prop for the tricorder. The “flip phone” style of tricorder was replaced with one that more resembles a smart phone (albeit with a small part that flips open at the top).

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Dreamwidth Restored?

I think I’ve managed to restore cross-posting to Dreamwidth functionality. Dreamwidth recently changed the way it handles authentication, and my WordPress plugin broke. (Dreamwidth’s post includes the words “breaking changes to older clients” and, hey, it broke my older client. (Are there any newer clients, though?)

3D Practice

I’ve been trying to grow my skill with Blender, and a big part of my approach has been to re-model some stuff that I’d previously modelled in SketchUp.

And, yes, there’s more Star Trek stuff, ’cause that’s what I was mostly toying with when I was playing with SketchUp.

An early re-model was this wire-framed chair that shows up in some of the later TNG movies.

Blender has some different approaches to particular modelling tasks. In this case, I was using curves to get the frame of the chair. Basically, I draw out the lines that the frame follows, and then give those lines some substance, making it seem like it’s made of metal tubing.

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Half Lives, and Stones Unturned

Siobhan handed me a stack of disorganized family photos, letters, and random notes about birth- and death-dates of various relations. They’re from her mother’s family history files. Siobhan’s mother was interested in genealogy, but never really got to wrangle it in any organized way.

I told Sio that I’d take a stab at organizing the information, but it’s pretty chaotic. One of the first juicy bits I pulled out relates to a family of McFaddens. Someone had sent Sio’s mother a list of birth-dates, marriages and death-date hand-written on both sides of a sheet of lined paper.

Sadly, the dates appear to be fairly inconsistent with various documents that I’ve been able to look up. And there are other oddities, too.

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That’s a Real Thing?

Image of Alison Pill as Dr. Agnes Juroti from Star Trek: Picard looking surprised and asking 'That's a real thing?'

It me.

Blender 2.82 Released