Warp Point Nine

After reading “Return to Tomorrow,” including a description of how the jump-to-warp effect was achieved in TMP (multiple long exposures, with the main trail coming from shooting a long exposure with blue fill lighting), I decided that I’d have to give it a shot myself, sooner or later.

Not long after, I tracked down an old render of the Enterprise-E I quite liked, “Apocalyptic Amenity,” since I kept being reminded it of it by the title of the Trek novel “Armageddon’s Arrow.” I even had it as my phone wallpaper for a while, and then felt awkward that I didn’t have any work of my own I could use on a phone, since I never do anything in portrait. I decided that I’d have to give it a shot myself, sooner or later.

So I set up a scene a week or so back. I looked up some iOS wallpaper templates (because it’s not just the screen, there’s also a margin for the parallax effect), and decided to render out a large square version that I could crop down for an iPhone, or leave as-is for an iPad, or crop to who knows what. I aligned it to leave a gap for the date and time, and so the lines of perspective would make a nice dynamic composition. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the Big iPad would become a real thing today, so it’s not quite large enough for that.

I did some test renders, and found I couldn’t get a long-exposure effect in a single render (at least, not by setting the motion blur distance to greater that 100%, attempting to have it encompass multiple frames of action). What I ended up doing was setting up an animation, setting the motion blur distance to 100% so each frame would touch to the next, and then rendering an image sequence for the length of the streak I wanted. After that, I brought them all into Photoshop as layers in a single document with additive blending, creating nice, smooth light trails.

The way I did the rainbow streaks was excessively painstaking. I took out the final warp-jump in the film, and set it as my background in Lightwave Layout. I modeled a single streak, and then painstaking rotated every one into place to match the pattern of the original after lining up my camera to the original shot. I don’t know if the streaks were in the same pattern for the other three warp shots in the film, and I don’t care. I’ll be happier not checking.

TMP Warp iPad

TMP Warp iPhone 5

Refit-Enterprise by Dennis Bailey