the Spacedock from ST Nemesis

Morning all and Happy Monday!!!  I wasn’t home much over the weekend, but I did manage to grab an arm full of files on the way out the door.  First up on top of the pile was the Space dock stuff from Nemesis.  A fun piece to work on, and, as with the stories of Alex Jeager and I drawing the same things from ILM  Paramount Pics, the same was true between Darryl Anka over at Digital Domain and myself over at Paramount.  Darryl and I worked at Apogee (John Dykstra’s motion control company) together in the ’80s, and he is one awesome illustrator… he would create a lot of the images we would build as miniatures, and he was always thrilled to see what would come out of his scribblings.  During the Nemesis years, he was on staff at Digital Domain and a part of the Star Trek crew.  Ron Gress was one of the VFX supervisors on the show, and, if you recall his name, he was the one that did the beautiful pearlescent paint job on the Motion Picture “E”.  Ron had the shot list created that would pertain to anything that would involve a visual that DD was to produce.  Daryl was given the same list, and both art departments would try to get all the visual designs done as quickly as possible, so as to get the digital and practical models going.  Over at Paramount, we had come up with some Space Dock designs, and they were not too much of a high point with importance visually, so they went through the approval process with only one cosmetic change.  The top of the dock had a considerably large living complex,  and the producers opted for a minimal area, as to keep the frame work more open.  Sketch two did this, and the final part of the dock was the docking coupler, which is suspended from the top and forward third of the dock.  The Enterprise “E” saucer based shuttle bay is where the docking arm connects.  This was to be a broader design as to accommodate more that just the “E”, but there was little concern for these details based on the secret fact that this was to be the last TNG film.  As these were being turned over to Digital Domain, we received the fax of Darryl’s drawing, which was a cool design that mixed a little bit of the original and the dock created for the NX-01.  Seeing the name on the bottom is how I found out that Darryl was on the show too!  Sadly, his idea was presented too late to get in the run, but together we had both done new worker bee concepts for the next meeting.  Darryl’s ship made the cut, and talk about a very excited guy!!!  He was so giddy and thrilled to get his crafty drawing conceived and built and then put into the final film!!  We were all very excited for Darryl and his first big addition into the world of Star Trek!  Here today are all the sketches and some images from the final shots produced by the awesome crew over at Digital Domain!!

sketch one with the heavy top section

sketch one with the heavy top section

the final sketch with much more open areas

the final sketch with much more open areas


the dock coupling system

the dock coupling system

Darryl's awesome retro'ed design

Darryl's awesome retro'd design


a variety of worker bee's in homage to Andy Probert's little sailer from the Motion picture

a variety of worker bees in homage to Andy Probert's little sailer from the Motion Picture


and the faxed drawing that darryl made, very cool lines and love all those robotics!!! Congrats again Mr. Anka!!!

and the faxed drawing that Darryl made, very cool lines and love all those robotics!!! Congrats again Mr. Anka!!!


beautiful view of the dock and ship

beautiful view of the dock and ship

rolling to the right

rolling to the right

distant 3/4

distant 3/4


Fraaa geee lay, that must be italian!!!

Fraaa geee lay, that must be Italian!!!


this shot comes from the all powerful Jorg!

this shot comes from the all powerful Jorg!


thanks Jorg!!!

thanks Jorg!!!


46 Responses to “the Spacedock from ST Nemesis”

  1. 1 Suricata
    June 29, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Great little story, nice to see a decent image of the workbee from Nemisis as well, that’ll make it alot easier to make a 3d model!

    I really did love teh Dock from Nemisis, although I prefer the more top heavy version, since it seems more workable. I’d of loved to see an inspection pod do a fly around the Enterprise-E in that dock like the scene from TMP 🙂

  2. 2 the bluesman
    June 29, 2009 at 7:39 am

    it must be space dock month! Dougs got the enterprise dock and Andrews got his Romulan dock on the SOTL calendar, and we ahve the Nemesis dock here.

    I mentioned this at Doug’s blog, while think the design is cool, I miss that rust red international orange color of the TMP dock. With the grey the Enterpise gets blended in there.
    With the oranged of the dock and the white of the entrprise it would have really popped out against the Earth backgorund.

    But I ever got to work on the movie, and they never asked me so that’s the way it goes.

    Cool design though and the updated work bees are itneresting.

  3. June 29, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Great story. The design melds well with the lines of the Sovereign class – they just go together. I like the ‘retro’ design looks more universal to accommodate many different ships. The one used for the movie seems suited to be used on a specific ship type.

  4. June 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Very interesting. But I think the most interesting part of this article was the revelation that you guys knew that this was the last TNG movie while the film was still in production… I don’t think I heard that before.

  5. 7 Starship freak
    June 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Loved the workbees! there´s been some discussion on a BBS which I frequent if the workbees were the same model or if there were differences in design. Are you saying it´s only one design then? Any chance of cgi-shots of the bees?

  6. 8 Freak
    June 29, 2009 at 8:23 am

    This is a sweet looking dock and I like the version with the living quaters on it.
    Thats a nice little nod to Andy with the Workbees. I have always loved his desgin.

    You know this was going to be the last TNG film. Knowning that must have been a major downer for everyone. But I guess at the time you also had a hope of a Ent Movie, or possiably Voyager. (though the set are gone for DS9 I know there are still a lot of fans out there hoping that one day we will get to see a DS9 film.)

  7. 9 DeanneM
    June 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

    There is just something about an Enterprise in space dock…I just love ’em! Though I agree with Suricata that there should be a fly around, always. 🙂 Mr. Anka’s work bee is awesome.

    I like the lighter feel. When you look at how big the overall dock structure is compared to a starship, there really is quite a bit of internal space in the dock already.

    I always appreciate a reference from A Christmas Story! 🙂 I didn’t notice it was over Italy until I saw that caption.

  8. 11 James_M
    June 29, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I always thought this design was a great evoulution of the space dock. I like some of the details on Darryl’s design to, those sensor looking spires that hang down are real nice. His work pods are really great to especially the loader. Wish there was close up screen cap of it.

  9. June 29, 2009 at 9:14 am

    John, was there any talk about how the Enterprise got back to earth?

  10. 17 the bluesman
    June 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

    You know you’re gonna have to draw that, John.

    ha ha

  11. June 29, 2009 at 9:32 am

    John, re the foreknowledge that this was the last TNG movie: “we could tell because sets were being ordered destroyed instead of going back to storage.”

    Sounds like they knew from the dailys that this was going to stink and sink. You don’t plan on doing no more movies if you think you might have a hit on your hands.

    But at least your designs and the effects were good!

  12. 19 Kevin H. Martin
    June 29, 2009 at 9:37 am

    From what I know, Ron Gress, while he painted PART of the refit for TMP, was not the principal guy. I have talked to Paul Olsen a couple time, though not recently, and there is a good bit of info here:


    about his experience on TMP.

    • 20 johneaves
      June 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

      that’s great I never heard that before!!! I know Ron was a part of it at least because when we were all introduced to hem at Boss films he was always called the guy who painted the E, perhaps the title got broader as time went on and he didn’t know we refereed to him as such otherwise he would have corrected us with all involved! Thanks

  13. June 29, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Oh man, that’s some über-way-cool stuff, dude. 🙂

    But, Ron Gress, while he painted the engineering section of TMP-E, was not the sole painter.

    There were a few guys involved. Here’s the whole story, eh, and a great read.



  14. June 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Oh, seems Kevin H. Martin already posted the same info, eh. Way to go Kevin. 😉

    Beg pardon for the info redundancy, eh.


  15. 24 Adam
    June 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Wow I was watching Nemesis today ! I wish there were more shots of that dock and some closep-ups on the workbees. You always put tons of effort into the sketches John, and yet we get 60-90 frames to see models which are composed of 20×40 pixels on the screen …

  16. June 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    The shots of the E in drydock with all the innards exposed were a real treat. I wish they’d been able to take her out one last time.

  17. 28 Chris McKinney
    June 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Mr Eaves, thank you so much. I’ve watched Nemesis dozens of times but never cottoned on to the fact that the Enterprise was connected to the drydock! Via the main shuttlebay no less!

    Great work and thanks once again.

  18. June 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm


    Would you ever consider parting with one of your gold plated ships???? or any other ST props you may have?

    NIce work on the hips though, amazing it looked too on the movie!


  19. June 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    John, for the colored drawings, is that all colored marker or various mixed media, or does it just depend on the illustration subject matter? Are liquid dyes ever used?
    Just curious . . .

    (Incidentally, I’m the one that crashed that large motion controled model E nose section into the Scimitar . . .) .

    • 32 Gep Malakai
      June 29, 2009 at 10:30 pm

      “(Incidentally, I’m the one that crashed that large motion controled model E nose section into the Scimitar . . .) .”

      Well then you are now my hero. 😀

    • 33 DeanneM
      June 29, 2009 at 10:37 pm

      Chris, I’d love to hear more about that headlong dive into the Scimitar. How exactly was that done, if you don’t mind my asking?

  20. 34 Freak
    June 30, 2009 at 4:24 am

    (Incidentally, I’m the one that crashed that large motion controled model E nose section into the Scimitar . . .) .

    I always though that was CGI. I read somewhere that there was no modles used on this film. Goes to show that while CGI is great Phyical models are always better. 😉

  21. 35 Freak
    June 30, 2009 at 4:25 am

    (Incidentally, I’m the one that crashed that large motion controled model E nose section into the Scimitar . . .) .

    I always though that was CGI. I read somewhere that there was no modles used on this film. I always though that was to good to be CGI.

    Goes to show that while CGI is great Phyical models are always better. 😉

    • 36 ST-One
      June 30, 2009 at 9:14 am

      Only the very front of the saucer (the part that actually crashed) was a miniature; the rest of the ship was the CG-model. Also, the miniature was enhanced with CG-details.

      • June 30, 2009 at 9:54 am

        The front end of both ships were constructed in large scale and we had the Ent E race along a track to impact with the Scimitar. The Scimitar is banking. It was all veery fast and we had to get the Ent as fast as we could. All shot at highspeed to help with the look of the damage when both hit. Then the back end of the ship was added with a CG model and alot of debris was added with CG, however, alot that was captured on film was pretty good.

        We were able to do the sequence three times with replacement/repaired models.

        All the time, the original Ent E model sat in it’s box nearby on the stage. It was used for all texture reference. All other ships were done CG, but we did shoot some practical fire and burning ember elements to be added to various phaser and torpedo damage.

        All of us on the stage were pining for the days of glorious miniature shooting. We had several veterans of Star Trek miniatures crews.

  22. June 30, 2009 at 7:05 am

    I wouldn’t say that physical models are always better. Use the right tool for the right job.

    • June 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Agreed, but there is a quality to a real model properly photographed. There are so many natural things happening with physical lighting that aren’t always duplicated in CG, depending on the skill of the artist. Various reflections and bounces and caustics that take a level of attention on the CG artists behalf hopefully alotted by the production schedule.
      And there are times where I have quickly animated a ship flying intricate paths that would have taken highly complex and timeconsuming rigging of a model on stage.

  23. 40 Freak
    June 30, 2009 at 8:32 am

    well the are some thing that Phyical models just can’t do, this is where CGI excell.
    But if you got a shoot a Phyical Models can do, it normal looks better than CGI.

    To the lame man they can’t tell the difference between the two these days. But those of us that use Modelling programs notice these things. But I will admit for me it getting a lot harder to tell the difference.

  24. 41 Mirren Audax
    June 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I remember being quite dissapointed with ‘Nemesis’ for many reasons, but the drydock ending was one aspect I loved.

    It’s a shame that you never got to see the ‘Titan’ at the end of the fim, especially as it’s Riker’s coomand – imagine the drydock housing ‘Enterprise’ in formation with this new vessel, it would’ve been a pretty good passing of the torch (especially as a scene was filmed with the new Number One ‘getting aquainted’ with his new captain.)

    With so many dedicated to doing a fantastic job, it’s quite rubbish of Paramount to have let those who aren’t as enthusiastic or as focussed to boldly steer Star Trek into a creative dumpster; so whilst I’m very pleased that the new movie has done such a good job of the ‘reboot’ (i’ve seen it four times already), I think it would be a great shame indeed if folks like Messers Eaves and Drexler to name but two weren’t able to jump into this new paraverse to continue the work we’ve admired in books and celluloid, and that’s not to say that there’s no room for gents like Ryan Church, whose work is stunning – where’s the ‘Art of Star Trek’ for the new movie?

    End of rant, thanking you.

  25. 43 Matt Boardman
    June 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    This was an awesome scene at the end of Nemesis! It has always been one of those that takes my breath away!

    I liked the movie, but there were aspects of it that were disappointing. I wish that this gallant crew that had really charged ahead in popularity for so long had gone out on a more popular note.

    Still, watching it again after all the hype and anticipation of its release in the theater, you can appreciate some of the better story points and realize that it really didn’t deserve the thrashing that it took from some fans.

    • 44 DeanneM
      June 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm

      I’m with you on that…lots of great elements in this movie. I think it could have been a bit better story, but I loved a lot about Nemesis. Great designs and artwork, including this dock and work bee!

  26. 45 Tallguy
    July 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    That “retro” drydock is a wonderous thing. Someone should build it! 😉

  27. 46 FSL
    July 5, 2009 at 1:42 am

    This is very nice. I think I would have loved the idea of living quarters / office at the top. Too bad we really didn’t see this for more than 2 seconds.

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June 2009

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