View Full Version : Ferion Phaser Cannon Type-I

11 November 2003, 10:00 AM
Hi All,

Working on my next project for Ferion. They needed an image of the 'Phaser Cannon Type-I'.

Here's the concept drawing I did:

And here's a couple of construction shots of the beast:

So far I've done a couple of interesting things in Lightwave to make this project happen. For one thing, I'm using Jetto Fillet quite a bit for the rounded corners. Man that plugin's a time saver. Also, I used a demo of Neat Image ( to remove the noise caused by radiosity. (The levels adjustment I did brought it back a little.) This app is very cool, I'm gearing up to buy it. Just wish it worked faster, takes 20-30 seconds a frame to process.

Oh, there's one other cool thing I did. I did the concept drawing based on a real quick mock-up I did of this model. From that mockup, I built the individual pieces of the model in seperate LWO files. I then used a Layout scene to re-load the latest update of the element. Why? There's a lot of symmetry to this model. Since I was working on each piece individually, I wanted it to be centered. So each piece is centered, but Layout puts it back where it belongs. The particle emitters cloned arouond the edges of each ring are a single object cloned in Layout a number of times. You can imagine I got sick of doing that after a couple of times, so I wrote a little LScript to do the job for. Wish I had thought of that ages ago on another highly repetitive project I did. Now I can update that one element without having to re-clone everything. Slick. Plus I'm not bogging down Modeler too hard. ;)

Got any questions? Fire away!

11 November 2003, 10:14 AM
Can't wait to see it firing:drool:

11 November 2003, 10:15 AM
WOW! looks great. what about a view where we can see the whole thing :-)


11 November 2003, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by grundgedanke
WOW! looks great. what about a view where we can see the whole thing :-)


I intentionally avoided that because there's a mockup piece in place, and it's a little startling to see. Don't worry, though, it's next on my list.

@Para: I'm aiming to make that cool. :)

11 November 2003, 10:24 AM
Nice modeling NanoGator. Very Cool!

How long did that take you to model? Can we see some wires?

11 November 2003, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by carbon8
Nice modeling NanoGator. Very Cool!

How long did that take you to model? Can we see some wires?

I started working on it about a week ago. Probably.. oh... 3-4 evenings @ 2-5 hours a pop. 20 hours maybe? It's a little hard to say. Some of that time was spent doing a little research (i.e. writing the LScript to auto-build the mesh) and experimenting with a couple of different ways to render it. Actual construction time is probably close to half that.

As for the wires, ask and ye shall recieve.

Facial Deluxe
11 November 2003, 11:04 AM
We should call you "Mr Details" :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 11:34 AM
Very nice clean mesh NanoGator. You're Lscripts sound interesting. What exactly did you create with the scripts?
Can't wait to see it textured and lit up.:bounce:

11 November 2003, 11:44 AM
@Facial Deluxe: I'll drink to that. :beer: Somebody from the MAX world in another forum asked me how I selected the edges to chamfer them. I have no idea how to tell him that I built up the geometry like that. heh.

@carbon8: I used LScript to modularize the model. I made a Lightwave scene file that was just one ring with 16 cloned pieces that rotated around the Z axis. I saved that as a scene file, then I loaded up the assembly scene with all the pieces minus the rings. I then placed NULLS to define exactly where each of the 6 rings goes. The LScript called Lightwaves 'Load from Scene' feature from the ring scene file and then parented it to the appropriate Null. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons.

1.) I plan on making the ring scene file a little more complex on the next revision of the model.

2.) It gives me the opportunity to animate/rig just one ring, and automatically do the right 'cloning' job to assemble them into the final mesh.

In my fatigued state, I'm not sure how much sense I'm making here. I did this so I can focus on one little element of the scene and merge it in with the big project. It's sort of a poor-man's scene linking.

As for being textured and lit up, I can't wait to see it either. I've done experiments with both, and I'm really excited to reach those stages.

11 November 2003, 11:54 AM
Just out of curiosity, would it surprise any of you to know that I'm using a smoothing threshold of 179, as opposed to the typical <89.5?

11 November 2003, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by NanoGator
Just out of curiosity, would it surprise any of you to know that I'm using a smoothing threshold of 179, as opposed to the typical <89.5?

I've been playing with diffuse sharpness and setting it below zero like -100.0 %. It produces some interesting results. Smoothing threshold only affects edges on connect polygons as far as I know. Nice modelling, looks like a really good engine design.

11 November 2003, 04:28 PM
Nice nurnies nanogator!

Say that five times real fast:)

11 November 2003, 04:38 PM
How do you get wires over a rendered shaded mesh ?

Nice nice work i love what im seeing

11 November 2003, 05:30 PM

That's beautiful man!



11 November 2003, 10:58 PM
looks great!
what is your lighting setup?

12 December 2003, 04:34 AM
@projectcoil: Hmm I tried setting diffuse sharpness to -100% it got darker, but I'm not sure exactly what the interesting result was. Can ya clarify?

Yes, smoothing threshold is just for connected polygons. When I made this model, I set the threshold to 179 and did the appropriate slicing so the flat parts were, more or less, flat. I was just curious if anybody else does that too.

@chikega: Heh thank ya. I attribute that to having the drawing to work from. I found myself a couple of times trying to come up with details that weren't in the drawing, but the results just didn't work. Fortunately I had my trusty whiteboard near by to do quick sketches. I'd recommend that to ANYBODY. Spend $5 at Walmart and get a small whiteboard. Saved my rear.

@robin: Post-processing. I took the last image and rendered it again with the 'Other Edges' feature on to draw the wireframe. Then I composited on top of the original render using 'screen' transparency.

@Andrew: Glad ya like it. :)

@HowardM: It's a very simple lighting setup. I used backdrop radiosity and a single distant light.

12 December 2003, 12:22 PM
The nose is done.

Yaaaaaaaaawn. It's 4am. Going to bed. :)

12 December 2003, 12:42 PM
Now that's what I call a cannon! :thumbsup:

Steve Warner
12 December 2003, 03:24 PM
Way to go, Nanogator!! :beer: The attention to detail is outstanding. And I'm loving those wireframe shots. Very clean. Keep up the great work!


12 December 2003, 04:27 PM
I think lowering diffuse sharpness makes the transition from light area to dark area less sharp. If there is a bright spot on a surface, setting it to negative can yield a smoother surface.

edit: I also found setting diffuse sharpness to a negative value takes away much of the cg look to a render. It also makes using many lights to illuminate a scene more friendly.

12 December 2003, 04:42 PM
WOW, now I know what the nano in NanoGator is for, the tiny details.

VERY clean nice work!

Keep it coming!!!

12 December 2003, 04:49 PM
Very Nice! I look forward to seeing it animated.


12 December 2003, 06:03 PM
Originally posted by angus1965
Very Nice! I look forward to seeing it animated.


Workin on it.


12 December 2003, 06:08 PM
@Steve Warner: Thanks. :) Would it bug ya to know it's about 1.2 million polys? I think I overdid it a bit. (Good thing I broke it up into smaller pieces, eh? :) )

@wordwarepub: Well, I've had people say the 'Nano' in my name refered to tiny details, but not in the complimentary context you said it in! :D Glad ya like it.

@projectcoil: I'm going to look into that, thank you!

Thanks for the feedback everybody. :)

12 December 2003, 09:07 AM
Sorry about the lack of updates the last few days. I had a nice little combination of getting sick and running into a design challenge. Curious about the challenge? Okay, have a look here:

I did some research on particle accelerators etc, and picked up on the color scheme. It's not bad, but by the time I got to the claws, it stopped looking like a particle accelerator and more like a blue model car. So I took a couple of more evenings to refine the design a bit. And I think I came up with a better scheme. I need to mention that the hazard decals are not UV mapped yet, so yes they are distorted in places. Enjoy. :) (
(Click the image to enlarge... (

Niklas Collin
12 December 2003, 09:54 AM
Just incredible. Reminds me somehow of X-COM 3 : Apocalypse (the best parts of it's graphics, mostly they sucked).

I would REALLY like to see that firing. Man... *KABOOM!!* :bounce:

12 December 2003, 09:59 AM
Now this is a post-production trick, but I thought ya'all might wanna see the lights dimmed a bit so you can see the particle emitters glow. (
(Click the image to enlarge... (

Wanna see the rear? (
(Click the image to enlarge... (

Hope you all likes. C&C welcome. :)

12 December 2003, 11:16 AM
Kickin' Ass NanoMan!!!!
Love the textures. Fire that puppy up.

12 December 2003, 12:49 PM
The model looks great :thumbsup:

Can't wait to see it in action :D

12 December 2003, 03:51 PM
Just awesome!!!! Sweet work!!

03 March 2004, 10:39 AM

Stay tuned.

03 March 2004, 11:20 AM
hack approves. though, when i saw the first image in this series, i could have sworn it looked more like an engine than a cannon.

of course, that could just be me.

03 March 2004, 12:35 PM
:buttrock: Glad you got back to doin' this. Didn't subscribe before, just "checked in on it", but now...:eek: great stuff. Gotta see more. Did you use glow for the lights or lens flares without the flares? Nice effect. Just wish there was one more light source to pull out the details a bit more (based off of your original-untextured pics and lighting). Look forward to your progress.


03 March 2004, 12:44 PM
I've liked your deigns for the refinery and this, but I really like the way you handle the surfacing.

Have you considered doing surfacing tutorials too?

03 March 2004, 10:30 PM

Alrighty, I got more of the roof done. The interior is pretty close to being geometry complete. Just got a little more to do on the roof, and maybe a little more detail in the walls. Then I start lighting it for real and texturing it.

@HackWorthless: Hehe yeah it does look a bit enginesque. Some of my reference material came from CERN and other particle accelerator images I could find. I tried to tone that down a bit with the big claw that regulates the beam out in front.

@apex: Those are just lens flares that are orange with the 'red outer glow' turned on. I haven't built the geometry for the lights down there yet so they look a little disembodied. I'm taking some of Randy's advice here by planting some lights with low falloff to indicate the scale of the beast.

@Anachronaut: Time permitting, that'd be nice. In the mean time, I'm happy to answer any particula questions you have.

03 March 2004, 12:30 AM
Hi Nano,

Good work there fella, would you mind running through your technique used to create the "claw" shapes, are they a rail extruded or beveled, sub patched or stright polys.

Cheers Rich

03 March 2004, 02:13 AM
good work nano

:) and uring worry about getting a job with this kind of talent??

hmmm don't think you should have bin


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