I love Star Wars. Return of the Jedi is the first movie I remember watching, Star Wars novels got me reading science fiction, and Star Wars model kits were the first ones I built. I still remember the hours it took me to put together my AT-ST walker and how daunting the Millenium Falcon was! Not only did you have to spend hours to put the model together, you also had to spend hours painting it if you wanted it to look anything like the real ship! On top of that there wasn’t really any painting reference available. Those were some fun times and I thought I would try and relive a little of that digitally.
Please consider this a complete newbie tutorial as I’m fumbling my way through modeling myself. Today is all about setting up the modeling environment.
Software: Silo 1.4 + Firefox + GIMP. I’m using Silo 1.4 to start the tutorial because I had to use my laptop to start the modeling process and Silo 2.0 doesn’t really run on my laptop (selection issues).
Plan (rough outline, subject to change)
Star Destroyer Part I – Geometry reference and setup
Star Destroyer Part II – Geometry block in
Star Destroyer Part III – Details and UV unwrapping
Star Destroyer Part IV – Texturing
Although I’m not an artist myself I read lots of tutorials and work with lots of artists. The first step is ALWAYS finding reference images. The better your reference images or concepts, the better your chance at succeeding. Take as much time as you need for this part of the process. Google images makes this incredibly easy! Simply type in Stardestroyer and you get lots of examples to draw on. I found a top/side/front/rear gif and chopped it up into a unique image per view using GIMP.
These kinds orthographic drawings are the perfect images to start your modeling. Time to fire up Silo.
Although I’m working on a small laptop, I still switched to a four pane view to setup the reference images. The top left pane is the top view. I added the top down view of the star destroyer (using the Display->Set viewport Image menu item) and had to rotate it 90 degrees and move it to the origin to align correctly. I then used the same rough process to put the front (top right) and side (bottom right) views, making sure to center the images equivalently.
After dropping in a rough cube and pulling its shape to match I noticed the front view was way off.
Adding in some geometry helped me notice the misalignment and fix it at this early stage. Now I’ve got this:
With this setup I thought this would be like a paint by numbers from this point for modeling! Then I tried pulling the view around with the trackpad on my laptop…YIKES! Looks like I will need to bring a mouse along for the next part of the modeling. I also noticed that the take screenshot code looks like it has a bug in that the view of the viewport image in the top right doesn’t align when the screenshot is taken. Odd…