[Fan Art] The Big Cockpit...the journey begins

The_Big_G 02-23-2007 08:49 PM
Thanks a lot for all the support you guys. I appreciate the enthusiasm, especially when I've screwed up something and have to go back and start it over again.

As a little reward for this milestone, here's some "glory" shots of the track, with el-cheapo-but-quick chrome texture and some colored lights on it. This isn't my final texture, but I wondered how good it would look with a little reflectivity to the surface.

Jixie 02-23-2007 10:51 PM
heh heh heh, cockpit, heh heh...

... I mean. AWESOME. I love the track and the joysticks in the series, they're just interesting and novel, and you've done a great job. Looking forward to more.

Chitter-Box-Kat 02-24-2007 07:27 AM
JIXIE!! Where have you been? I haven't seen you around alot.

And seriously Big G, you could make video games or something. This work is incredible! Tongue
The_Big_G 02-24-2007 12:23 PM
Again, my thanks for the compliments. I actually am a professional animator and modeler. I've been working in fx and gaming since 1994. I just moved to Seattle from San Francisco, so I'm only working on a few smaller part time contracts to keep my cashflow going.
Since I have a lot of spare time, I decided to get going on this project because we all want something happening with the Big O. Who knows? Maybe someone from CN will drop by and see that the show still has extremely dedicated fans, despite the thoroughly unsatisfying ending they tacked on to the series.

Despite dreams of future episodes, this project is a good study in deconstructing an existing 2D design and creating a 3D model from it. I know there's a lot of people on this forum that are interested in 3D, so I'm trying to show how each object is broken into subcomponents and how the complete whole evolves throughout the process.
I know I'm not saying much about my actual techniques for how I build specific objects, but for now, I want to focus on making progress and finishing the entire model. I don't want to get side-tracked and spend a lot of time posting explanations. After it's all done, I can go into specifics if anyone has any questions.

That said, on to the Day 4 morning update: Subassembly 2: The chair.

The recessed areas in the back that acommodate the cylinders that the stick track mounts to. These recessions were a bit tricky to figure out.

In some drawings, the chair has some slight curvatures to it, and in others, it's totally flat. I opted to go with a flatter chair, because for one, it was easier, and for two, it will cut down on surface intersections when a pilot model is seated in it. It's also easy to modify if I need to.
R. Daniel Olk 01 02-24-2007 12:26 PM
I am DROOLING. Please continue.

More importantly, get in touch with with Shn275, like paul1290 suggested earlier. Talk to Shn275! He's making a 3d fighting game, and he could most definitely use help from as many 3d modellers as there are! He's at savebigo.com ... PM him... do it.... Big Grin
The_Big_G 02-24-2007 12:39 PM
Yeah, I've checked out Shn275's stuff, and he's doing a GREAT job. I don't even know if he needs my help!
I could definitely supply cinematics and pre-rendered animations with this model, but it's far too polygon heavy to be of any use in gaming. The model is about 7% done, and it already has over 212,000 polygons. Far too fat for most realtime render engines. I'm building this one to the maximum quality possible for HDTV output.

However, when I'm done with this project, I'll probably send him some kudos and words of encouragement. I can do polygon reductions and rebuild stuff from the ground up in much lower resolutions. We'll see where it goes.
R. Daniel Olk 01 02-24-2007 12:42 PM
Coolness. Cool

Ah, now I see.

Eventually, though, you and he should def. collab. If you can tackle this project so fast and with such attention to detail, imagine how quick youo could zip out low-count models!

heheh, and I could handle concept art, lol.

For a while I've been wanting a side-scrolling fighting game. It's hard to find free programmers with the skills to tackle that kind of thing, though.
The_Big_G 02-24-2007 12:56 PM
There's also the issue of development software. The version I have of Softimage is actually weak in modelling certain shapes, and the workarounds I've had to go through in resolving surface tearing and tessellation of polygons wastes a lot of time.
I don't know what modeling software SHN275 is using, but I'm guessing that he's on 3D studio. There might be compatibility issues between model formats, not to mention animation files. It'd take some time to work out data exchange.

Incidentally, doing low-poly count work can be a lot more difficult than the high-res stuff. All the surfaces have to be contiguous and one has to really clean up and delete extra surfaces. Doing the texture mapping is also a delicate operation, and one must be a good illustrator and painter for textures in addition to modeling.
In high-poly modeling, you can slap everything together and if there's extra geometry, nobody's the wiser, cuz they can't see it.
I personally don't give any guff to my low-poly-modeling brethren. Those guys work hard!
R. Daniel Olk 01 02-24-2007 01:06 PM
Mmm. Fascinating. I guess comparing high-res to low-res is like comparing a painter to a cartoonist. It looks like the cartoonist has the easier job, but it takes a skill of its own to reduce a complicated human face into simple, telling elements.

As for Shn 275's software, I'm not sure, BUT I know the program that runs his games is called "Blender."
Jixie 02-24-2007 10:07 PM
Originally posted by Chitter-Box-Kat
JIXIE!! Where have you been?

...where have I...? What? Ahhggg! What year is this!?

~J <- will scan reference pics from the artbook <-- when she gets back... from the future!
R.Smith 02-25-2007 12:29 AM
Originally posted by The_Big_G
Incidentally, if anyone has the Big O Art book, and there are any drawings of the cockpit, control chair, or Big O's interior at all, please PM me, or post them! I need reference materials!

I'll grab my artbook and scan all there is.

Should have it posted before the week is out. Smile

Great work btw! Big Grin
Jim Starluck 02-25-2007 12:47 AM
As one who dabbles in 3D modeling as a hobby, I have to say I am most impressed, and certainly looking forward to how this progresses.

One thing that would be interesting...once you've got the cockpit finished, a scale comparison to the entire Megadeus could settle the 90 ft vs 200 ft question once and for all. Big Grin
Dangerous 02-25-2007 10:23 AM

It is just great ! BRAVO.


You are the only one in the forum who moves the manga. Thank you.
The_Big_G 02-25-2007 11:37 AM
Day 5 morning update

Since I decided to take off last night and go to the movies (saw "Breach", btw...I give it a B-), I didn't get to post yesterday's evening update.

Big pile o' pics. Yesterday I focused on building the leg supports and pedals from the bottom of the chair.
This is the sketch I'm going from, which I found here on Paradigm

Then I added the mounts for the leg supports to the bottom of the chair. In the sketch I found, I noticed that the leg support plate only attaches to the chair in the back, so it rotates from the back of the chair, not the front, as I had originally surmised.

Added the pedals in.

Please note the slight recessions in the holes cut into the pedals...not just a straight tube from top to bottom.

The seat is pretty much finished! I need to develop the piston that the seat mounts to on the bottom, but I can't proceed with that set of objects until I figure out exactly where the floor is.

Next step: Subassembly 3: the interior of the cockpit - control panels, tubes, and the big gears that control the stick track.
Asirt 02-25-2007 11:44 AM
This is really shaping up to be a great project, The_Big_G. Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing the final product.
Chitter-Box-Kat 02-25-2007 12:17 PM
Ay dios, this is incredible! Ces't bon! I really like looking at these pictures and seeing everything come together.

One, two. three four!
Who is keeping the polygon score?
Five, six, seven, eight!
Work this good is really great!
The_Big_G 02-25-2007 08:08 PM
Although I'm trying to watch the Oscars, I can't really focus my mind on the TV...the next shape on my list keeps calling to me, and I'm drifting off in my mind on how to build it.

Who needs to watch the oscars anyway? I'd much rather eat a huge plate of famous nachos.

Day 5 evening update:
Added in the set of four cylinders which mount the sticktrack to the back wall, as well as the large gear-like bases, and I'm testing some scales for the back wall itself.

Revan 02-26-2007 06:19 AM
Very professionally done! Surely this is ranked among some of the best Big O fan content/art ever! Big Grin

How long do you think it will take to complete the whole thing?
Capt. Quekolis 02-26-2007 10:56 AM
Dude this thing looks crazy awesome
The_Big_G 02-26-2007 11:00 AM
I can't thank you guys enough for all the kind comments, it's really encouraging. It keeps me focused on finishing the job, as opposed to getting distracted halfway through and wandering off to work on other things...which is always the most difficult thing to overcome. When things don't go right, it's really easy to get frustrated and not deal with the problem.

I'd like to have the entire model complete by the end of this week, or by next monday at the latest. I'm almost on the home stretch now with the interior walls of the cockpit.

If everything goes well, I'll be wrapping up the control panels today. Fortunately, most of the control panels are symmetrical on both sides of the cockpit, so I only really have to build one side, then duplicate a symmetrical copy on the opposite side.

I've also skipped adding materials and textures to a lot of objects, which won't take too long when I'm done. Maybe an extra day for that.

Of course, the whole thing could take longer depending on how convoluted the piping is on the bottom and interior walls. I don't have very good references yet, but I'm eagerly awaiting the scans from the art book. I might have to revise some existing geometry, but that's not the end of the world. There's also the issue of the glass dome that tops the entire assembly. It's supposed to retract. Its existence is always hinted at by the reflection of lights on its interior, but Roger and Dorothy seem to always just jump right into the cockpit without it in the way. If it's a half dome, and rotates into place, then it would surely intersect with the interior geometry. Another situation where 2D animation sidesteps reality. Another situation is where the joystick slider track opens up for the Thunder joystick transformation. There's no hole in the joystick track, and no indication of how the entire joystick assembly would sink down into it, rotate and become the Thunder joystick. That's a fakeout, so integrating that functionality into this model will require a similar fakeout.

Another thing is that there was an episode in which Roger drives the Gryphon into Big O's foot, and is carried up through the floor of the cockpit. I don't have any visual materials from that episode! I've been getting the DVDs on Netflix and taking screen grabs, but I'm not sure which episode to order. If anyone can get me screen grabs from that episode, that would help immensely.

Okay, enough of my babbling, work to do.
Day 6 morning update:
Started putting the walls in and adding in the control panels.