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Old 6th January 2012, 02:26 PM   #1
thierry_st_malo
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Default HMS Centaur

This is my rendering of the light cruiser HMS "Centaur", launched in 1916 and broken up in 1934. With her sister-ship "Concord", they were the forerunners of the numerous and very successful "C" and "D" classes which appeared until the end of the war.
Also, "Centaur" was Commodore (later Admiral) Tyrwhitt's flagship, who led her with the Harwich Flotilla to numerous and fierce engagements with German destroyers out of Ostende and Zeebrugge. "Centaur" was mined in June 1918 (her bow was torn off) but rebuilt.
Finally, the ship has a very strong sentimental value for me. Ever since I bought H.M. Le Fleming's "Warships of World War 1" back in 1966 (it figures!) I have found her lines very attractive and wanted to model her. This is my third attempt at it. Only AC3D enabled me to do it (perhaps, also a slight improvement in 3D modelling and Internet research :-))!
But I have still not finished with this model.
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Old 6th January 2012, 02:54 PM   #2
Stiglr
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Default Re: HMS Centaur

Nice work there.

Can you post a wireframe of it, or show surface edges, so we can have an idea of the detail level.

Also, can you post a few particulars, like poly count, areas with/without detail, any special techniques, etc.?

It always helps to have a sense of the goals and processes for a model.
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Old 7th January 2012, 06:40 AM   #3
thierry_st_malo
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Default Re: HMS Centaur

Here you are, Stiglr, as you are interested.
This is a simplified model, yet the .ac file weighs just 3 Mb. There are 174 objects, 30921 surfaces and 26491 vertices. Impossible to do with less! There are many objects that are so small as to appear negligible, but in fact their presence or their absence is very clearly felt!

Two remarks:

Ships tend to be large objects. Therefore my AC3D units are one-third of a meter. This to avoid losing details because of the limitations of my renderer's (I use POV-Ray) z-buffer.

I have written a Visual Basic Express app that I enhance as required and which I find very helpful.
First, given three numbers it creates an AC3D object representing a ladder, which has just to be imported and glued in place.
Second, it helps with the railings by creating the stanchions and placing them at even intervals along any 3D curve (polyline). That used to be a nightmare!
Third it can "glue" any object on any other one. For instance, for every porthole (there are about 70 of them in this ship) it does the necessary computations (one translation and two rotations) and "glues" it on the hull. That used to be worse than a nightmare!

That's about all, I think. Oh, sorry, I forgot: thanks for the compliment!

Thierry
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Old 7th January 2012, 03:15 PM   #4
Stiglr
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Default Re: HMS Centaur

Thanks so much for that explanation.

I think it helps everyone to detail all these things (especially things like having to alter your scale to accommodate your renderer). The more you know about the processes and the details the more appreciation you get for what the final result is.

If you ever have a few minutes, surf on over to Military Meshes.com... there you will see the work of some true masters of high poly modeling. Their output, often for books, displayable prints and posters, and films is nothing short of breathtaking. Still, it's amazing how a low poly model, with the right blend of 2D texturing tricks and smart modeling, can, at times, rival the visual impact of some of the high-poly work. All depends on what the "finished product" is supposed to be!
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Old 8th January 2012, 01:02 PM   #5
thierry_st_malo
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Default Re: HMS Centaur

Well, Stiglr, in my case the "finished product" is to be as simple as possible, yet visually satisfying; I don't want to spend 25 years of my beautiful youth ( I'm retired ! ) working on a single vessel and get divorced in the process. This has happened more than once in the past, if I recall my days as an author for professional add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator... I want to build up a whole collection AND keep my wife. She and only she knows in detail my cooking tastes, so fundamental for a Frenchman. Loose a good cook? Never! Besides, we love each other. Side-by-side's are my thing for the moment.
Also, one day or another I will make my models downloadable, because I think that people won't get seriously interested in virtual 3D models as long as they themselves can't do anything with them. Just looking at a nice picture is fine, but for how long? 30 seconds, at the most? Again my experience with MSFS !

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Old 8th January 2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: HMS Centaur

Hehehe, I hear you, Thierry! Sometimes, when I look at others' work, I often marvel at the (sometimes) OVERKILL of detail, when you compare it to what the goal of the project is.

And, if one has the luxury of "millions of polys" (for a CGI movie or a printed graphic) one can "easily" detail anything, given enough time and attention to details. It's getting a believable result from LOW POLY modeling that is a skill unto itself! IMO of course!

And, if the end goal is a flight sim model, you have a pretty strict budget for polys, otherwise you can't ever fly the plane, because it reduces the game to a crawl.
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