BUILDING A BETTER FIGHTER
As soon as I settled on the finished design for the F300 Space Superiority
fighter that is sort of a cornerstone in Grease Monkey, I dreamed
of one day lifting it off the printed page and holding it in my
hands as a solid object. You know, the kind an action figure could
fit into. That day hasn’t come yet, but I did have an opportunity
a few years ago to get about halfway there.
In the first half of this decade, some of the TV cartoons I worked
on were moving into the complex world of computer-generated (CG)
animation. The technology had finally dipped into the reach of
TV budgets and swept me into such projects as Heavy Gear, Max
and MTV’s Spider-Man. Drawing storyboards for CG has very
different demands than the traditional hand-drawn (or “2-D”)
technique, so I took the opportunity to sign up for a class in
using Maya, which was and still is the software of choice for many
Reasoning that such a class would teach me some valuable things
about storyboarding for CG, I dug in and learned what I could.
gave us a number of small-scale assignments that culminated in
a big one: to model anything of our choosing using the techniques
taught us. As soon as those words entered my head I knew what I
was going to build: the F300.
The gallery below shows the results.
In fact, this website has
displayed one of the results from day one in the fighter blueprint
behind the text you’re reading now. Mapping it out on paper
was the first step toward mapping it out in the virtual world.
Naturally, some minor modifications had to be made (as is always
the case when
you add or subtract a dimension) but it was still quite a charge
to see how closely the “real thing” matched what I
had been drawing for so long.
My television work since then has
stayed almost entirely in the 2-D realm, and as a result I don’t
remember much about Maya except that it’s one of the steepest
learning curves I’ve ever
been on and I hope it gets easier before I’m called back
to it. Meanwhile, I have many fond memories of watching this baby
|Tim Eldred’s work can also be found at www.starblazers.com.
Grease Monkey® is a registered trademark of Tim Eldred.
images can only be reproduced for review purposes.
Tor® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.