Hey there, As an addition to todays post I came across these pics of the 30 inch model that Blue sky built for CG reference. Enjoy!!!
They actually went and built a mock-up prac, as CG ref. Wow. Your great orthos would be more than enough for me, eh.
And that thing is just basic structure.
Thanks dude. 😀
I saw some shots of the physical model on other sites and was a little confused, cause I had always thought the ship was CG in the movie, which it was in the end. Thanks for clearing that up!
Maybe it was helpful for some of the effects involving water? Maybe as reference for how the water lapping against the sides would look? That’s the only explanation I can think of, because as deg says, the orthos and perspective view give you all the info you need to build a CG model, as well as this physical one.
First of all, thank you for shearing your images and stories with us.
Second but more importantly, I wish the best for your daughter and her recovery.
Third, I’ve said some unflattering things about you and the modifications made to the Excelsior model for ST Generations, which you can read at
And I still stand by them, but I realize now that the blame should fall upon the powers that were rather than on the art department. The holoship is another example in which those with a final saying often screw things big time!
I never knew that they built a refrance ship.
This is why I love your and Doug Blogs. You learn something new everyday. 😉
Physical models are often built even when the final product will be CG… in some cases, it’s to show producers and others the item in question in a real world context because sometimes a picture on a screen just doesn’t make an impact like a real life item does…
… and on other occasions, it’s done to give an in-house model crew something to do to justify billing the production company for it… and to maintain its existance.
I’m not saying that was the case here, as I really just don’t know… but when I was on the Chronicles of Riddick, we had an in-house model crew led by the great Greg Jein building models of all the ships that we were designing for 3d… the impact of having them in real life was very inspiring for both the crew, and the studio heads…
I’ve seen a photograph of a physical model of that huge collector somewhere that gets blown up at the end of the movie. And if I’m not mistaken, it was even properly painted.
Interesting comments Mr. Dochterman…I hope that experience on Chronicles of Riddick represents a way the physical modelmaker’s art can continue to have its value acknowledged in Hollywood.
Thought I would chime in. I was the R&D supervisor at VFIX working on the ST9 holoship digital water effects. I do remember a physical mock-up being around the office at one time, but all of our digital work was done with a CG model supplied by another company…not sure though if it was from Blue Sky (which was our sister company at the time) or from Santa Barbara Studios.
I will mention that we internally finaled a far better version of the “invisible” holoship effect than was eventually in the film. Originally we had standing pools of water on the top of the ship reflecting the mountains, rivers streaming off the sides, and a lot more foam and wave interaction. Unfortunately one of the film’s producers felt that the image was “too sophisticated” for Trek audiences. Imagine my shock and dismay. Ultimately, what was asked for was “an inverted ash tray in the water” with little or no interaction. Fortunately the finished imagery wasn’t that simplistic, but it was disappointing compared to our original work.
Sorry, that should have read “VIFX” not “VFIX”.
(At the time of ST9, 20th Century Fox had acquired both VIFX and Blue Sky. We went under the combined name “Blue Sky | VIFX” for about a year, but the companies were never actually integrated together in any meaningful way. Later, Fox sold off VIFX to Rhythm & Hues while opting (rather wisely) to keep Blue Sky and pursue the feature animation market. Please pardon this tangential bit of industry history.)
While almost three years too late, I very much want to thank you for this tidbit of behind-the-scenes info…It is very much appreciated as this kind of info is all too rare…Again, thank you very much!!
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