Friday, 23 September 2011

Creating Star Wars opening scene in Cinema 4D part 1

A few months ago I decided to create the opening scene of Star Wars in Cinema 4D. It was one of those random ideas that just popped in my head so I'm surprised I saw it through to the end. Anyway, I thought  would explain how I made the film from the modelling process through to the editing stage for anyone who might be a little but curious. Each week I will look at a different stage of the creation process. I will also mention the tutorials that helped me along the way. 

  • Week 1: Modelling the ships
  • Week 2: Texturing the ships
  • Week 3: Arranging the models, cameras and light in the scene
  • Week 4: Editing the footage and adding the sound and music
Right then, here we go. I've got to start somewhere so I suppose I'll just have to start at the beginning. I built the models from scratch using Cinema 4D's extensive range of modelling tools. I took a slightly different approach to each ship as by the time I constructed the last model I was just that little bit more experienced when it came to low poly modelling. Right then, first up I will talk about the creation of the Star Destroyer model.

Star Destroyer modelling process

I won't tell a lie, I have never been comfortable modelling anything space ship related particularly when I try to design my own. I tend to fair a bit better when modelling something that exists from TV or film. With that in mind I decided to make sure that I had enough pictures of the ship so that I had something to draw from. I also had reference images to help me get the proportions right. The following is a breakdown of the techniques I used;

  • I set up my ref images in the side, front and top views.
If you click on the link below you'll find a decent tutorial on setting up reference images. 
  • I decided to create my model from a cube primitive. I started to using points however I couldn't get to grips with this method of modelling. I'm used to modelling from a primitive, particularly when it comes to characters. 
  • I made the cube editable by pressing c on the keyboard. (windows users) 
  • After stretching the cube to make it fit the refs I used the knife tool to make a series of cuts. After I was happy with the cuts that had been made I set about deleting parts of the cube to get the basic shape of the Star Destroyer.
  • The next step involved moving points to match the ref images.
  • Once I had the shape of the model sorted out I used the mirror tool to create a duplicate of it just below. I had a lot of trouble getting the mirrored object in the right place. It inloved plenty of trial and error. I've never really been comfortable using the mirror tool but I'm trying to get to grips with it as it is quite useful when it comes to character rigging.
  • The next stage involved connecting the two parts of the model together. I used edge extrude to pull down one half of the model to meet the other. This didn't go quite to plan as the extruded area didn't meet the bottom of the model in a desirable way. Basically I didn't know how to connect it and I didn't even know if this was even possible. After much research I was none the wiser. I aligned the extruded part as best as I could and carried on regardless. 
  • Next it was a case of adding the details. This meant using a variety of tools and techniques. I used the knife tool, bool and a series of extrusions. I also used cube primitives (edited) to add some finer detail to the ship. 
The links below will take you to some tutorials that show you how to model from a cube primitive. 

This one gives you an idea of how you could model a ship.

This one looks at modelling a water faucet. Not quite a spaceship I hear you say but it will give you an idea of how you could model one using the same basic principles. 

So, that's week 1 out of the way. Next week I'll look at how I textured the models. See you then.

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