Archive for the 'Stargate' Category

Puddle Jumper

The Puddle Jumper model includes an Ancient drone and an extremely low-detail interior. And copy of my unfinished high-detail interior is included for anyone who would like to have a go at modeling and texturing it.


Puddle Jumper Showcase


“Puddle Jumper” for Lightwave 9, Released December 31, 2007

• December 31, 2007 • Comments Off on Puddle Jumper

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.

• August 2, 2007 • Comments Off on Saturn, Saturn, and More Saturn!

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.

• July 9, 2007 • Comments Off on Well, it’s a “ship” that goes through the “gate,” so we’ll call it…

Stargate Reference Information

If you’re making you’re own Stargate and are using mine as reference, here are some larger, detailed renders, as well as information on certain details of note that aren’t entirely visible in the showcase renders.

• January 19, 2007 • Comments Off on Stargate Reference Information

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.


• July 3, 2006 • Comments Off on Stargate Yard Redux

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.

• January 29, 2006 • Comments Off on The 2006 Gates Are Here

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

• January 29, 2006 • Comments Off on Stargate 2.5

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



Download Page


• January 29, 2006 • Comments Off on Stargate 2 Model Showcase

Stargate Gallery

• September 5, 2004 • Comments Off on Stargate Gallery

You don’t even want to know what the installation cost was for this thing

While I have done a few experiments with compositing, this is probably my most ambitious effor. In case you’re wondering, that is my back yard (currently, and delightfully, hurricane free), with my new Stargate model placed in it. Perhaps SG-1 could come through that ‘gate some time. A nice, (if slightly overdeveloped) piece of the subtropics would certainly relieve the monotony of all those pine-tree planets.

Now all I need is a real one to put back there, to see how close I was to reality.

I did the compositing in Lightwave. I set it up to do that thing where it makes an alpha map for the ground stand-in based on the amount of shadows, just in case. I only have Photoshop Elements (which happens to be missing the Element of alpha channels), but I was able to use a copy on one of the computers at school to make a transparent image of the ring and its shadow, so all that remains is to reintegrate it into my original background and tweak it up a bit.

Another thing I noticed was that on the school PC’s monitor, the blue cast (caused by the light I used to simulate the glow of the sky) on the ground object (and the devision between it and the real background) was a lot more noticeable, and the shadow of the ring was a lot lighter. So while I’m most concerned with getting it to look right on my Mac, I may have to see if I can steal some more time at school to find a happy medium.

I rerendered the scene with a slightly modified ‘gate model (fixing a spot of missing detail on the back and adding a more accurate bit of detail to the inside surface, where the event horizon sits), and a slightly modified lighting scheme (I tried throwing a little more specular on it from the sun, but found the only way to get even a little to show was to have the light point straight down, which wouldn’t have fit in with the shadows all that well). I then recomposited the ‘gate in Photoshop, getting rid of the blue cast on my front-projection polygon. Only problem that remains is that the bump mapping in the chevron wells is having some kind of difficulty, causing the background to shine through as if it were partially transparent there. I’ve no idea how or why, and it doesn’t show up on the alpha map of the image.

In summery, I think it would’ve been far easier to go to Canada, steal the prop, and instal it in my driveway, then say it was a comp-job when I posted the pictures of it. It would also be endless fun at parties.



• September 1, 2004 • Comments Off on You don’t even want to know what the installation cost was for this thing