The enterprise-e and the aztec paint job

Howdy all, this is a continuation to a piece from way back on December 10, 2010.  Below is a link to part one of the redesigning of the Enterprise-E for Star trek “Nemesis”


Pictured below are two versions of the “E” with an Aztec paint job that was designed to tie the Sovereign class starship to its predecessors, the  Enterprise “A” through the “D”.  Way back in 2001 when we were working on all the concepts for the film, the “E” was going to be rendered in 3D by Jay Barton at Digital Domain.  “Nemesis” offered us the chance to tweak the ship a little, and it was a great time working with Jay on all the new and extra details.  At the time I could barely turn on a computer so everything I did was done on paper with pen, pencil, ink and paint.  I would send over roughs to Jay and he would add on the new weaponry as the script would call for.  We also were allowed to mess with the lines and dimensions of various sections of the ship and in doing so were able to make some subtle changes to areas that I wanted to fix from the original concept drawings.

In the beginning months of production, “Nemesis” was going to be #10 in the film series and the 4th with the TNG crew.  There was no mention that this was going to be the end of the TNG crew or the “E” so we were all working on not only the current film but what would possibly be the next film.  The Enterprise-E gets hammered majorly throughout Nemesis ending with some final shots of the ship being repaired in space-dock.  When my boss, Herman, and I were working on the dock and the repair views of the ship, we thought it would be cool to have the Aztec paint job be a part of the finished ship.  I did one rough sketch of the aztec patterns, as well as all the new plans for the exteriors of the retro’d “E”.  These renderings were shelved and were waiting for the next production meeting to get approval or notes on any changes needed….  The next big meeting came a few weeks later, and Herman took all the new drawings with him.  When he came back he said that he didn’t think they would be needed because the rumors were that “Nemesis” was most likely going to be the last Trek film.

It all was starting to gel at this point because we were already seeing used sets getting thrown away instead of being sent back to storage.  It seemed odd, but the sets were beat and had been used many times before so we all thought that there would just be new things to build come the next show.  Sadly, this would never happen…so with all that said, and with a bit more computer knowledge in my head, here are some renders based on the sketches from “Nemesis”.  The 3/4 view is of Jays 3D model with the pattern simply photoshopped on while the plans depict a rough top and bottom of the saucer with the patterns applied.  Lots of fun to put these together so hope you enjoy what was at one time going to be.

the Aztec paint scheme

Jay’s “E” with aztec applied

27 Responses to “The enterprise-e and the aztec paint job”

  1. July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Gorgeous as always. I love the lighting on the model; it looks so vibrant and alive, something I often struggle with in my own work. It’s such a shame Nemesis was the last TNG movie; it’d have been nice if the events in the Trek XI countdown comic had been filmed and added to the movie in some way, with the E making an appearance there.

    • 2 johneaves
      July 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Yeah that Jay is one talented guy!!!! I to wish I knew how to 3d model,, it would have been a heck of lot easier to put that pattern on in 3d rather by hand in photoshop, HAAA! I was very sad to see Nemesis as the last TNG film!!!

      • July 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        Well hey, 3D is my thing so if you ever need any help or work done with it just give me a shout and I’ll be happy to lend a hand! Still, you did an amazing job doing it with photoshop, I really do love how it turned out. It was sad to see Nemesis as the last TNG film, but it seems we’ve gone to a new era now as all things do.

        Speaking of which; I’ve heard rumors there’s a new Trek series in the works; are you going to be working on that one if/when it comes along? It’d be great to see your work again on a new series!

      • 4 johneaves
        July 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm

        I’ve heard rumors but that’s all so far!!! I love working on TV shows and if a Trek is coming I surly will apply!

  2. July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    They had the original filming model out on the stage for awhile. It was beautiful. I was seriously hoping we’d get a chance to light her up and film her. I felt the CG model was equally beautiful. Sad that there weren’t more Trek movies in the prime universe.

    • 6 johneaves
      July 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I saw it lite up on stage at ILM and man was it gorgeous!!! those little slides of the D sets looked so cool in the windows as well as the modeled conference room with the taped outline of the dead crewman’s silhouette on the floor, HAAA!

  3. July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I’m not really sure if the aztecing works on this ship. Maybe because I’m used to it the other way. Anyway it’s always nice to see this ship.

    • 8 johneaves
      July 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      It’s a bit of a departure especially 11 years after the fact!!! I was so waiting to see how this was going to turn out and if it would have gone into the pearl finishes!!!!

    • 9 StClair
      August 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      I confess, I’m similarly undecided. Partly because it tends to look more subtle on other ships I’ve seen than it does here, and also because (IMO) the charm of the original, back in TMP, was that it looked like the ship’s outer skin was actually made up of hundreds of plates with subtly differing hues. This looks a lot more like what it is – a perfectly regular and repeating texture applied to the hull, as if painted on after the fact. There’s no reason (again, IMO) for it to be there.

  4. July 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    John, I have a feeling that with your skills and skill level, you would make an excellent modeler in short time. If only more modelers out there had the basic drawing/visualizing skills you possess! Maya is certainly all the rage, but I found Lightwave 3d to be the ticket for me. There are scores of online tutorials I wish I had when I was first starting out. Here is a pretty deep one:


    • 11 johneaves
      July 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      did you ever see that movie called scanners??? remember the guy who’s head exploded??? well that was me in the Maya class,,, HAAAA! I haven’t tried lightwave yet but I here it is awesome,, DEG swears by MOTO and my friend Scott swears by Rhino,, so I have a lot of choosing to do.

      and here ya go just for the heck of it

  5. 12 evil_genius_180
    July 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    The effect is a bit strong in the rendering. However, properly applied as a specular map and included in the render with the lighting hitting it properly, I think it would have looked better. (though, don’t get me wrong, it looks great) I think it’s a good look for the ship. 🙂

    Personally, I think it’s a shame we only got to see your ship in 3 films. I’ve always liked the design a lot and I definitely didn’t get enough of it. Of course, it’s been used in games and whatnot, but it never looks as good as it does in the films. Plus, I think we were cheated out of more great adventures with the TNG crew. I love that series, it’s the one that was on TV when I was a kid, and I really like the 4 films they did. But, alas, Paramount screwed us over there.

    • 13 johneaves
      July 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      IT is strong,,, I upped the pattern exposure only so you could see it for the details,, if it were done as a paint job it would have to be very subtle… and I was sad it was only in a few films as well and I so wanted more TNG!!!

  6. 14 JNG
    July 20, 2012 at 12:31 am

    I feel that the lineage to the Enterprise-D comes across much more strongly with this pattern in place—I’d even go so far as to say that is likely to be its primary effect on a viewer.

    While I came to very much appreciate the shapes and colors that set the Enterprise-E apart, I must say it is also always nice to see the Trek lineage stressed in the details.

    As for the comments about wanting more TNG, I understand them. But what with the Blu-ray releases, heavy Netflix viewing and continuing convention interest, it’s about as “happening” as a show from 25 years ago can be. I feel like we will soon be seeing it as we were always meant to, and that a new generation will be watching too.

    • 15 johneaves
      July 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      I haven’t gotten any of the blue rays yet but I hear all the extra work that has been done is phenomenal!!!!
      The ILM model shop was fighting a shooting deadline as I recall and I’ll double check with john Goodson to confirm but I think that because of that time crunch the Aztec was scraped for something more easier to get down to meet their deadlines.

  7. 16 Richard Knapp
    July 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Hi John:
    Still my all time favorite “version” of the Enterprise. She looks particularly beautiful with that aztec pattern applied.

    Thank you for posting these! Hope all is well with you, the family, and the new home.

    Best regards,

    • 17 johneaves
      July 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      All is good here,, the state is suffering from a heat wave,, low 100’s,,, everyone is crying but me… HAAAAA! I love the heat and so miss the days of 118 in good ol Phoenix Arizona! I do like the aztec too and hopefully can do a better piece with it on it.

  8. 18 Matt Boardman
    July 21, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Ooo…now that would be nice to see someone work up a 3D model of the “E” with the aztecing in it….hmmm…

    John, with that printer of a brain of yours, I think you’ve got a lot of us beat hands down with your pencil, pens, and whatever else you decide to use! Love me some Eaves drawings!!

    118! You nut! We took the family to go visit my sister and her husband in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place that hot before. Average temp was 115! I forgot my daughter’s crayons out in the car after unloading everything and the next day, found them a nice puddle of wax sitting in the box. My wife and I both agree – too hot for us! 😀

    • 19 johneaves
      July 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      They call Phoenix the valley of the sun,, should be called the surface of the sun, HAAA! Try this,,, leave a penny on the seat of your car for about a half hour at noon, then sit on it with your bare leg.. It will burn itself to you and when you finally get it off you will have a welded on Lincoln tattoo on your hamstring just like that Nazi had the headpiece burnt into his hand from raiders of the lost ark

    • 20 DeanneM
      August 18, 2012 at 7:47 am

      Yes Matt…we are INSANE! Couldn’t rent a VHS Tape (dating myself) without getting the big warning on it to never leave in the car..HA!! John, I’ve got your 110 plus heat, just come on over! 🙂

  9. 21 Raj
    July 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hey john, as usual a master piece here. Jay did a great job of your ship. Just a question I noticed that a line was supposed to be going across from where the rear torpedo tube, tractor beam emitter is under the engineering section, did you talk to jay and said not to add that in or something? Also could you ask if they could add the on star trek online? please 😀 Would love to have my sovereign look like this. thanks.

  10. 22 Scott D
    July 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I like it! Still my favorite ship (aside from the Consitution Refit). 😉

    But to me I feel you go with a lighter grey so the darker panels don’t overwhelm it as much. And you ever thought about a Sovereign Varient or Refit just for the heck of it is there ever happened to be one more TNG Movie?

  11. July 26, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I have always loved this ship. I like the new pattern.
    It such as shame we will never see here agian unless something form the prime ‘vrse affect J.J new one or visa versa.

    As for the new TV show, I heard it more likely to be an animated serise in the J.J ‘vrse. For a live action I would perfer it in the prime ‘vrse but that is unlikely to happen while the J.J movies are being made.

    • 24 Z3R0B4NG
      July 26, 2012 at 8:42 am

      If they made “Rikers in Space”

      in a Family Guy / Amarican Dad / Simpsons / South Park kinda way
      art style and not so dead serious.

      Hell Yeah i would be down for that!

      But a JJ-Verse, probably cheap 3D-ish thing?
      That will only look like a Clone Wars rip off,
      Star Wars is doing it (and makes money with it),
      now Trek gotta copy that.

      Sounds like a really really bad idea to me.

      Please Star Trek do your own thing!

  12. 25 Robert Minnes
    July 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

    The “Aztec paneling” paint job….Well, who, oh who was responsible for that one, no one knows for certain. Historical research found here:


    Yeah, I know shameless self plugging (as this is my article)

  13. August 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Still not done with the Prime ‘verse myself just yet, as much fun as I’ve also been having with the new versions. So thanks much for sharing this. Maybe we’ll see it put to regular usage somewhere.

  14. 27 DeanneM
    August 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

    I like the sleek look on my FAV ship that I”m used to; however, you mentioned not getting to the pearl finish yet. I think that would be a vast improvement and was thinking that as I went over the pics in detail first.

    “E” is for Ever…no JJ Enterprise here pleeeeez

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July 2012

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