Movie-poster style Stargate image

A while ago, I came up with the idea to try to recreate the image of the stargate used in the original movie poster in 1994. I finally got around to it after matching the angle last night for an AO render in the “New Headers” thread. To get that extra-shiny look, I rendered it in seven passes; three lights, each with a separate diffuse and specularity pass, plus one for the red chevron lights. I saved them all as HDRIs, and put them together in Photoshop, adjusting the gamma and exposure of each layer, with blending mode set to “Linear Dodge (Add).” Once I had it the way I liked it, I merged them together into a single HDR layer, and used that to make the bloom effect. I think it’s a little strong, but that’s why we’ve got layers. I can fiddle with it more if I want to use it in the future.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever end up using the image for anything, but it ended up being a pretty fun exercise.


The reference image


The final product


Breakdown of the component passes

Ambient Occlusion Renders of the Jumper and Stargate

I made these Ambient Occlusion renders for the Foundation3D rotating site headers. Two were put into the rotation.

Puddle Jumper Showcase

Renders of the Puddle Jumper and Drone models.


– Deployment and retraction of the Jumper’s drone bays and engine pods




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Saturn, Saturn, and More Saturn!

I recently realized that I’d been putting off making a scene of Saturn, even though I knew what I had to do to make it work. Seizing the opportunity to do some work in Layout again, I made a scale reproduction of Saturn, it’s rings, and five or six moons (the ones I found good maps for). I’ve already made similar set-ups for Jupiter and Earth. While I was working on it, I came up with ideas for three pictures using it, so here they are.

“Gossamer” is just a beauty shot of the planet.


“Take Us Out” is a Star Trek picture that’s something of a riff on the end of the computer game “Starfleet Academy,” where the Enterprise-A is seen in drydock around Saturn.


“Ouroboros” is a Stargate SG-1 picture, based off the first season cliffhanger. I felt like the the picture needed a quote, but I couldn’t think of anything specific, so I searched Google for quotes relating to the word “serpent” until I found something that was apropos to the situation.

Well, it’s a “ship” that goes through the “gate,” so we’ll call it…

…a puddle jumper!

Front view

Rear view

Now that the modeling of the exterior is finished, I believe I have enough invested in it to start up the WIP thread. I’ve started on texturing, and I believe I have a good base for the hull texture above. I’m painting alpha maps for it so the mottling isn’t so uniform. I already finished animating the unfolding of the engines, though I’ll need to work out a new way to clip the objects so they don’t show up inside the cabin of the ship when they’re retracted. The method I’m using now only works when the ship is pointed along the Z-axis.

Also, I’ve finished texturing on the drone weapons, complete with a low-detail version for those scenes when you have thousands of the things flying every which way.

Drone Showcase

Active Drone

Added July 22, 2007

I’ve finished texturing and the light set-up on the exterior. I’m going to try to figure out how to get this clip-mapping fixed, though. Being able to only point the ship in one direction is a bit limiting for cinematography. After I’ve gotten that done (or given up in hopes of figuring it out later), I’ll get back to modeling the interior.

Also, I’ve rigged the engines so I can throttle their brightness with one slider. In fact, with the complicated retractions this ship does, I have to say, sliders and Master Channels are an absolute Godsend.




Added July 23, 2007

As for the engines on the Jumper, those are a magical wonderland of cheating. The engine bays on the original are about twice as deep as mine (the reason the bays on my model are shallower is so the rear compartment fits in at something close to its actual proportions), so the actual engines fit in with a bit less of a problem. However, it seems clear that the pivot they rest upon jumps off of its track while it’s retracting, so the engines can point straight up. Also, the wings themselves just pull into the body, without any sort of fake compartment or rationalization as to how they could possibly fit into the ship. Part of the fun of making this model was realizing exactly what compromises were made in its design, right after I made the same ones and thus knew what to look for.

The best look at how the engines retract (and how the VFX artists hide the fact that its physically impossible for them to move the way they do) come in the opening shot of the episode “Trinity,” and in a number of shots in “38 Minutes” (thought the best angles from those episodes aren’t included in those caps).

Seriously, after reverse-engineering this whole thing, I’m thinking about doing a writeup on the Jumper, mostly a taxonomy of the 3+ distinct 3D models of done on the show.

Here’s a movie of the cycles for the drone and engine bays. I’ve already decided I’ll take a page from the Atlantis VFX teams and only show the engines unfolding while the ship is distant, in motion, in shadow, or all three.

The same movie as above, but with the main body of the ship hidden so you can see precisely how the engines have to be clipped out so they don’t show up inside the cabin.

Stargate Yard Redux

Since I have a new, better Stargate model, I decided to do a new, better version of the only real picture I made with my first Stargate model, namely the ‘gate in my backyard. I also added a little something to allow the inner ring to spin freely. I’m not 100% happy with where the rendered concrete meets the real concrete, and something seems off about the scale and/or perspective of it, but I don’t know how to deal with that.


The 2006 Gates Are Here

…and it’s about danged time, too!

Well, I’ve been lazy about putting everything together, and I didn’t want to advertise the model until it was ready to go out, but now it is. Anyway, I’ve remodeled my Stargate from scratch, and I do believe it is far superior now in accuracy, detail, and general prettiness.

First, to refresh your memory check out the old version.

Now, get a load of the new version, in all its glory.

This uses the lighting setup and cove object from the LWG, by Jason T and Lightwave7871. And, after using it, it’s the only way to show off your models. Well, if you’re me, at least. Gad, it just brings everything right out on the modeled details and textures.

There are three versions of the main model, a low, medium, and high-detail version.


Now, some of these next images were made while the model was still being fined tuned, so there may be minor details that are different.

Top of the Atlantis gate
Back of the SG-1 gate
Front of the SG-1 gate
Front of the Atlantis gate
Earth Origin Symbol
Abydos Origin Symbol
Antarctica Origin Symbol
P7J-989 Origin Symbol

And, don’t forget it’s animatable. You’ll need an up-to-date version of Quicktime to view these.

Chevron 1 Locks using a movie-style animation setup
The beginning of the Atlantis Stargate’s outgoing dialing sequence
The Atlantis Stargate’s incoming dialing sequence
The puddle effect (with lighting!)


Go here to download it.

Stargate 2.5

The second version of my model of the Stargate features both the SG-1 and Atlantis versions of the ‘gate, the Tollan Stargate seen in the episode “Pretense,” a base for the Stargate, numerous pre-set dialing sequences, and an in-camera animated “Event Horizon” effect.

Stargate Model Showcase

SG-1 and Atlantis Stargate 2.5” for Lightwave 9, Updated November 22, 2011  – 27.2 MB

SG-1 and Atlantis Stargate 2.3” in OBJ format, Updated October 25, 2007 – 25.4 MB

Stargate 2 Model Showcase

An assortment of renders of my second Stargate model.

Information on reference material.



An offworld activation on an Atlantis-style gate

The beginning of the dialing sequence on an Atlantis-style gate

Chevron One locks into place on an SG-1 gate

An example of the dynamic lighting included with the puddle effect



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