Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

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Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:34 pm

Starting today, my drydock hosts the Earhart project.
It is a variation of Nova class.
Could we name it as Earhart class? Hehehehe ...

It will be a nostalgic vessel, with more smoothed design. Something like the Refit Enterprise: modern lines but at the same time classic.

To be honest, I do not have a clear image of what will be.
And I'm not sure if I want to go line up to the history of film.

But anyway, I intend to complete this work within two months.

It would be nice if the contractor create an account in this forum...

Earhart WIP 001
Earhart WIP 002
Earhart WIP 003
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:33 pm

Hello, I'm Glenn and I am the creator of Fem Trekz.

The first thing I want people to know about this fan animation project is that it's open. That's why I contacted Raul, since he enjoys making models to be shared. Everything I've done is meant to be freely shared--not just this ship. This sets it apart from most other fan films, who feel the need to guard their proprietary assets. If anyone out there wants to make their own animated show using these assets, they should contact PM me here or on Youtube.

---

Background:

I have a BFA in film production from Emerson College in Boston but I wound up as a web-developer during the dot com boom and stayed in it for 13 years. I have been animating using Xtranormal technology for over three years now. I made some money in stock options while working for Intermix Media when they sold MySpace to Fox. Last year I decided to quit my dot com job and attempt to make a career out of animation, using Fem Trekz as portfolio material, while living off that nestegg. I have run into enough snags that I no longer want to rely on Fem Trekz exclusively, and I will probably go back to IT again to avoid burning through too much more of my nestegg, but I'm resolved to complete this project as a hobby. It's just going to take a lot longer than I originally thought. I just want to do this right or not at all. I've been a Trek fan from the start, and I have the convention autographs to prove it, and it will still be satisfying to do Fem Trekz: The Motion Picture even if it doesn't factor into furthering my career. I have a desire to prove that software most people think can only be used for sarcastic rants and fart jokes can actually make full-length movies with real drama.

I love working within this machinima toolset, as it allows me to do things as a one-man-band. It's the kind of environment tailor made for my sort of creativity. Assuming I have all the assets I need, I can drag characters onto the set and go, all without a prewritten script. I call this "Emergent Animation". What this feels like is not animation per se, but something akin to puppeteering a live improvised story. Unfortunately Xtranormal never fully exploited its engine and has since discontinued the software I've enhanced in favor of an inferior successor (XD Beta). Xtranormal seems to be winding down as a company as it hasn't issued new assets since last February and hasn't offered an update to XD since June. So while I've carved this little quirky niche for myself, I don't know how many others are still interested, either as viewers or animators.

Again, if any of you are familiar with Xtranormal you may question whether it's up to the task of doing a show like this--but I don't just use the stock program. I use a series of extensions I coded called "State Plus". The Fem Trekz concept originated when Xtranormal accidentally distributed its "Suitz" showpack with Jpeg texture files floating around. I squinted at the girls in jerseys and V-neck shirts and saw how they might work as Star Trek uniforms. The men had suits and ties and were not seen as part of the mod, hence I came up with the concept of an all-female crew. From there it was easy to postulate that the reason they're segregated is because of rampant "fraternization" and that instead of solving the problem, this only makes them more frustrated and more likely to break the prime-directive. Pretty soon it was possible to retexture any character, and one of the first things I did was fill out the rest of the crew with "Companion Bots" that come from another showpack. These bots are meant to be the officially sanctioned method in which the girls are to be kept in line, but of course it won't work.

As of now, I have a lot of characters and uniform variations. There are male federation uniforms available (in a different character style) and Klingons (of a sort) and even some Romulans on the way. I also started working on sets in partnership with the person doing his Klingon show, and started commissioning custom sets to be imported. So far I only have one custom set completed, which is the transporter room. It also has a stretch of corridor. Aside from the ship, the sets are the weakest link, and is why I'm holding back on doing my feature-length story.

---

A little more history on the ship...

Originally I thought this might be part of the Galaxy Quest universe, but there just aren't enough Galaxy Quest assets floating around compared to Star Trek. I play Star Trek Online and at a certain threshold I was allowed to get a science ship. I chose a Nova class. By then I was already starting Fem Trekz, so I decided to make this their ship. I liked the idea of going small rather than large, and the Nova is about as small as the Federation can go and still present a ship in the iconic saucer and two nacelles profile. Star Trek Online has some stylistic variations you can choose from. I decided on one that had these aileron-like things hanging off the warp pylons. Over time I built a concept about the crew exploring an area of space with sub-space rifts ala the episode Force of Nature, and that these "mud-flaps" would help shield the ship from this.

Initially I hired someone else to try building the Earhart. I became interested in him because he is one of the many people on Youtube who have done ST:TMP dry dock scene recreations. I'll spare you the details, but it didn't work out, and a lot of money and time was wasted. He ultimately took the model and renamed it the Tycho and made this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7gGtMJFvT8

Out of desperation, I revisited Star Trek Online, but it's just not that suitable for Machinima, as I can not create any scenario I like. This is an unlisted clip I haven't let many people see that gives you an idea where I'd like to go with the dry dock. I kept the camera a fair distance from the ship because I wince when I see the low polygons and the over-aggressive bump-mapping. It's just not going to work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzrJquGBzY

I also contacted Tobias (The Light Works). You all may know him as he does the FX for Phase II and is now also working on Star Trek Axanar. Hhe told me it wouldn't be worth it to pay him to do it, and suggested I contact Raul. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier! I guess I thought he wouldn't like my project, but I was thrilled when he agreed to do it. I dusted off the commission video I made with Admiral Hall and sent it to him. Here it is, with a bit of this back-story delivered "in-character":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp1H9Xhqy2U

This is a different sort of project for him. As he's said, the design is not completely locked-down. I am encouraging him to come up with ideas himself. I'm glad to offer sketches, but I'm rather rusty with the mechanical pencil.

The finished model is planned to be a "hero" model that can do everything. So it needs a functional shuttlebay and a detachable waverider shuttle. Neither of these details were shown on Voyager and there are no fan-built Nova models with these details. So it would be a first, and hopefully Trek fans will enjoy seeing it.

Because I have been doing pre-production on Fem Trekz concurrently with R&D on State Plus, the show has always seemed like it would never take off, and it's been difficult just getting an audience. But a while back I decided to take what I currently have for assets and make a stab at long-form storytelling. So I created a playlist that starts off with a lot of glorified demos and then coalesces into an improvised storyline around here. This is a dry-run for how I would do Fem Trekz: The Motion Picture. So if you watch these clips, pay most attention to the character animation. It's been hard to get them to emote because of the TTS voices, but I think I do the best possible with it. This is where I've focused all my energies these last three years, although once I have the ship I will try to add more action and visual interest.

I have two people who may or may not help me some more later with 3DS Max and the music, but if anyone else wants to volunteer, I could use all the help I could get. Long-term I see myself setting up shop within Valve's Source Filmmaker. I work best animating within a machinima toolset with preexisting assets. I'm out of my element making custom assets or using fullblown 3D apps.

I'd be happy to answer any questions people may have about this here if it's not deemed too off-topic. Also, if anyone has suggestions on how the ship should look, I have an open mind.

Thanks.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Chainsaw_NL » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:34 pm

Great, i'm looking into Source FilmMaker myself. not to make a movie but to convert models for use in SFM. And i'm just curious how fast you can render or how many poly's it can handle.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:06 am

Not to hijack the thread away from the Earhart, but Source Filmmaker has its pros and cons vs. what I'm using now. However, Xtranormal is dying and SFM is picking up steam, and I really want to future-proof this stuff and not be permanently limited by the upper-bounds of what the State Plus hacks provide.

Right now I only have one of these characters (third from the right, the communication's officer) in FBX format. If you or anyone else would like to attempt to bring this character over into SFM, please let me know. The other characters would need more work re-inserting bones as I'd have to snapshot them using a DirectX ripper while they are in as much of a T-pose as I can get them into. I've been unable to get the technical specs on their proprietary APE format. I only know how to import geometry for sets and props, not characters.

If it were possible to salvage all these assets and set up shop within SFM I think it would be a more compelling solution for those who want to do Star Trek animations. It's been a hard sell to get people enthused about using State Plus since it is a hack, although I'd gladly train them.

I have the educational editions of the Autodesk stuff. The tool-chain requires stuff like 3DSMax or Maya or Motionbuilder. However, the conversion is still a huge pain. (Text files, command-lines, version incompatibilities, etc...) If I were to team up with someone who knew the Source engine better than I did, I'd be glad to write some C# middleware to streamline the conversion process.

I think what Fem Trekz has been missing all this time is enough volunteers with different areas of expertise. For instance, assuming nobody steps forward to fly the Earhart for me when it's done, I will just have to learn how to do space shots in 3DS Max myself. It's a fun thing to contemplate, but I can't do that at the same time I'm animating characters and editing. I've just had to wear too many hats. Since I won't be able to keep working on this fulltime much longer, it will just push the feature-length story that much farther into the future.

I am hoping people become fans of this show because they like and care for the characters. It's very much an ensemble, and fleshing them out is where I want to put all of my time. But there's definitely a need for a few collaborators to deal with the other aspects of production.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Chainsaw_NL » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:56 pm

I would love to see if i could transfer a character to SFM. What format are they now. Can you send a link?
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:32 pm

I have all the characters in OBJ format with no bones or facial morphs and two characters available in FBX format with bones and morphs. All anyone need do is personal-message me.

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If nobody steps forward I will look into rigging these myself, although I don't know how long it will take.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Chainsaw_NL » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:01 am

Unfortunaly i'm very busy at the moment with another project. If you start with it yourself check outhttp://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnKw1txyYzRlxh1-BT4CifPXC5TBg2vUd
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:10 am

Image

After several months of recess, this case is reopened and my plan is to finish this project this year.

There has been some progress, very small and nothing conclusive.
The impression is that the more I advance, I'm more bewildered.
Let's look at what this is going.

Below, links to some images:

Rejected:
Image Image Image
Image Image Image
Image Image Image
Image Image Image

A slight progress:
Image Image Image
Image Image Image
Image Image

Now, the speed of this work will depend on two factors:
My skill in modeling and the complexity of the requirement of the contractor.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:24 am

I'm so happy to know you're back on this, Raul!!! The girls would have been heartbroken if you gave up.

BTW, Xtranormal is now functionally out of business. Their website just shows a "pause" button and their Xtranormal Desktop software doesn't work anymore, but I made certain State Plus users would not be shut down :twisted: Anyone who would like to use this toolset for Trek animation should come over here.

State Plus forums

More details if you join.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:57 am

Hi, Glenn and friends!

I created some schematic drawings.
I'll work on those lines.
If you want to give some suggestion of design, I thank you in advance.

Download and print.
Image

Image

See you soon!
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:12 am

I brought my idea about the outside of the waverider.
The appearance has many features - simple and clean but functional - equal to a shuttle of our era.
(Galilee(name) is just a suggestion.)
Image
Please, open the link in a new window

To add a Star Trek canonical basis for the appearance, I added a logo dedicated to this mission.

This visual of Amelia Earhart is a fusion of the two periods (photos above).
The general set of traces is from the first photo (left), but the look(eyes) is from the photo on the right.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:21 am

Looks great with the space shuttle colors and accents!

I would omit the lettering on the bottom section because it might not look correct when it's docked.

Just so people reading here have some more background, I made Raul's life miserable working on this last year. I encouraged him to approach the Waverider like a real aerospace engineer, to make it really look scientifically plausible. I also wanted this design to blend in various influences, the lifting-body experiments of the late 60s leading up to the shuttle, supercars, and motorhomes. This is in addition to some of the retro TOS stylings that he just added in the textures.

He spent a long time on the interior as well. We had debates about how to best use the space without eliminating room for machinery. It was very very difficult, which is why time ran out. In retrospect I should not have pushed him so hard, as I needed the entire ship and the shuttlebay interior. I am hoping this time around he'll be able and willing to not only finish this but those items also.

There's never been a serious attempt to visualize the waverider. This wasn't intended to be a canonical waverider outside of the bottom section which matches what was shown on the Equinox pretty closely. But it is the Fem Trekz idea of the waverider.

I did come up with a name for this, but I'm not sure whether it should be the final one.

Chawla was the first Indian woman in space, but died in an accident the same way Earhart did.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:43 pm

I also hope that the way we have ahead will be more smooth...

mos6507 wrote:Looks great with the space shuttle colors and accents!

I would omit the lettering on the bottom section because it might not look correct when it's docked.



So, after removing the lettering on the bottom, outside modeling of Waverider can be initiated?

*************************************************************

Well, this time I bring the portrait of Astronaut Chawla.
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And I made this initial composition:
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Options given!
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby mos6507 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:49 am

Raul Mamoru wrote:So, after removing the lettering on the bottom, outside modeling of Waverider can be initiated?


Yes. I'm very happy with where you are taking the design. I can see in this the long evolution that led to this, with all of its influences brought together. Seeing the texturing applied, it's everything I had hoped it would be. It is the 'remix' or 'mashup' idea of Fem Trekz come to life.

As for the Chawla illustration, you can work with that if you like. I am open-minded about it. I do like the Earhart patch, though. I want to see if I can make that into a real cloth patch :)

The Galileo had this designation:

NCC-1701⁄7

I don't know how captain's yachts are supposed to be designated, but if you want something TOS-like, you could call the Chawla the NCC-91937/1 or NCC-91937/Y. I don't think they typically have a U.S.S. prefix.
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Re: Fem Trekz's U.S.S. EARHART

Postby Raul Mamoru » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:42 am

Okay, Glenn, I'm starting work on the Waverider.

*************************************************************

Well, I depend on google translator, there are things I can not understand at first.
Please see if I understand:

When you refer to the astronaut Chawla, you want her name on the hull of the Waverider.
mos6507 wrote:
I did come up with a name for this, but I'm not sure whether it should be the final one.

Chawla was the first Indian woman in space, but died in an accident the same way Earhart did.


U.S.S. Earhart = Nova Class.
Chawla = Waverider.

This is it?
:lol:
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