Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Model Release - USS Kelvin & Saladin from Star Trek

I'm delighted to bring you the first featured model here at The Informant. I was going hold off on posting any content on this blog until it was at least a day or two old but Tobias Richter's recent work really deserves to be highlighted - Especially since he's so generously decided to publicly release not one, but two models exclusively on

At the time of posting, many Star Trek fans and science fiction fans in general await the release of J.J. Abrams' new Star Trek film with healthy measures of excitement, nervousness and, in some cases, outright distain. Regardless of how the new movie is recieved when it opens in May 2009, the teaser trailers and publicity shots have generated a lot of dicussion on the net. We've seen the re-imagined Enterprise herself, as well as some teasing shots of some of her older cousin, the USS Kelvin.

Although there is currently scant reference material available, long time SFM member Tobias Richter took up the challenge of modeling on of these brand new additions to the Star Trek universe.

I've modelled every single Enterprise ship in the past for my own pleasure[...]I originally wanted to model the [new] Enterprise, but I liked the design of the Kelvin more, probably because it is closer to the TMP Enterprise (which will always be my "first love"). Plus there was more reference material available - Tobias

The USS Saladin
Tobias Richter's USS Kelvin

This model has gained some considerable recognition thus far, with good reason. After being featured on, Tobias has recieved an e-mail from J.J Abrams himself complimenting him on his work and word is that Bob Orci (co-writer and executive producer on the new Star Trek film) is using one of his renders as wallpaper on his own computer.

For a fan and skilled modeler like Tobias, the struggle to reach the ultimate level of accuracy is ongoing...

The main challenge was the sub-par reference material. There were only the trailer and the wallpapers available. After the first week I had the model finished - or so I thought. Then the turntable on the Intel-site became available. Since some of the dimensions I had done were wrong, I had to redo a lot of the secondary hull and the nacelle. But I was lucky that the information came out before texturing, that would have meant even more redoing. Everything that is not visible in the available reference is guesswork and made-up. I hope it will be close to the movie version, but I might have to tweak it here and there later. - Tobias

The USS Saladin
The USS Kelvin, cruising towards a nearby planet

Not content with modeling just one Starfleet vessel, Tobias, at the request of a fellow forum member quickly put together a varient on the Kelvin - The USS Saladin, a re-invented look at a design by Franz Joseph, seen fleetingly in background shots in Star Trek II and Star Trek III.

All in all it took about 3 weeks to build the Kelvin (and half a day for the Saladin). One half for modelling, one half for texturing. And a day or two for rigging the cannons/lights and cleanup. - Tobias

Located in Germany, Tobias runs The Light Works, a computer graphics studio currently employing 7 artists, currently working on gaming projects - illustrations, real-time models and high quality render sequences. The Light Work's past projects include work on LucasArts titles (Rebel Assault 2, the Rogue Squadron series), X3 Reunion and it's sequal Terran Conflict (critically acclaimed for its incredible graphics), Sacred and it's sequal, Sacred 2, just to name a few. They are also producing visual effects for movies and all kinds of visualisations, Including work for the European Space Agency. "

The USS Saladin
The USS Saladin - Little sister to the Kelvin

The Models

Model Format - .mb (Maya 2008)
Polygons - 408,770
Download size - 20.22 MB

Model Format - .mb (Maya 2008)
Polygons - 274,196
Download size - 3.75 MB (Requires texture maps from the USS Kelvin model)

There are currently conversions to both 3DS Max and Lightwave under way by other SFM members. You can follow their progress in Tobias' thread, located here.

The USS Saladin

Detail shot of the USS Kelvin

A parting beauty shot of the USS Kelvin

Tobias has been a contributing member here at SFM for years now. He was the winner of one of SFM's first modeling competitions as well as the Tutorial Writers Award for the great tutorial he wrote on how he created his winning submission.

SFM to me is the best forum regarding SciFi CG stuff. I regularly check threads and I am amazed at the talent around here. - Tobias

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcome to The Informant

Your guide to what's going on in the Scifi-Meshes community

SFM is a huge online community, dedicated to the the creation, discussion and learning of 3d computer generated art with an emphasis on science-fiction. At the time of posting, we have over 31,000 members with more than 300 new threads and 1600 new posts every single week. Even as one of the site's Administrators, I find it almost impossible to keep up with everything that's going on (part of the reason we have a staff of 30 to help Moderate, Administrate and educate...). In fact, a great science fiction author once said

"SFM is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is."

That's where this blog comes in - We'll be highlighting some of the best work created by our members right here. We'll also be posting about major SFM news items when they occur and keeping you up to date with all the latest info on upcoming contests, challenges etc.

SFM is all about art and we'll do our best to bring you the very best the talented members of our community have to offer, as well as linking to forum threads where you can learn more about the images, models and the artists who create them. It's worth remembering though, that certain features of the site, including being able to view image attachments etc require you to register as a member. If you're not yet a member of the Scifi-Meshes community, why not join us?

So welcome to the blog, feel free to sign up to the RSS feed and stay tuned for some impressive art in the very near future.