To start, we had to reschedule PurgatorialFlame because of scheduling conflicts. That doesn’t mean I’m leaving everyone in the lurch! In its place, The Relay took the opportunity to track down an early MVP’er. This week, we’re going to have an MVP The Relayterview with M3neillos!
Meneillos (M3neillos on the forums) created the amazing Glass Ships. If you’re interested in having an interview and you previously won the MVP on either Around the ‘Verse or Wingman’s Hanger, please send us a message. Shoot a message to someone at The Relay, or myself (Psylence on SC Forums, Psylencedkan on Reddit), and we’ll arrange it. As time permits, we will try and reach out to people as we continue this segment. But enough of that, it’s time to take a look at some of these amazing works of art!
If you haven’t looked at them before, please do. Each of them are pretty incredible and offer a rather unique look at some of the ships in the game. Meneillos – as listed by his Citizen profile – is from Spain, Comunidad de Madrid and speaks Spanish, English, and French. Now onto The Relayterrogation (slew of answers to our questions) he was kind enough to give us.
Q: How long have you been following Star Citizen?
A: Since it was Kickstarted, but I didn’t back until early 2014. I’m very cautious about Kickstarter/Early Access projects.
Q: What about the game drew you to it?
A: Mainly Squadron 42. It has been a while since I played a good quality, space-opera, game and Chris Roberts is offering that with a good background in games (like the Wing Commander series).
Over time I’ve become more and more excited about the PU [Persistent Universe] because many friend have backed the project too.
Q: Do you have a background in art?
A: Just as a hobby, I’ve made a lot of things on CAD programs like Solidworks, but only published a couple.
Q: How long have you been working with CAD?
A: That’s a hard question. I learned CAD really early on in life. My dad taught me how to use AutoCAD 12 in MSDOS when I was 5, and I never really stopped doing that kind of thing. To be more specific, I would say like 10 years ago was when I did my first “cool” thing.
Q: What are the specifications of the computer you’re using for the modeling?
CPU: I7 3820
GPU: GTX TITAN
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 Pro
RAM: 16Gb Gskill @2400 CL10
SSD: Samsung Pro 500Gb
HDD: Seagate Caviar black 1Tb
CPU and GPU are custom watercooled
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Glass Starships?
A: Actually at work. I’m an engineer, but sometimes I have to do some renders for the marketing department. I found that using a clear/glass exterior material looks cool, so I tried it at home with some Star Citizen ships and the result exceeded my expectation.
Q: What programs do you use for the modeling?
A: Depends on the type of thing I’m working with, but Solidworks, 3D Studio Max, or Rhinoceros. For rendering I always use Keyshot, that program is amazing, really easy to use, and powerful.
Q: So how do you create these glass ships?
A: First, I obviously download the ship model. I prefer to use in-file models rather than holoviewer ones. Holoviewer ships are one single model, but the in-file ships are broken into parts, and I think this gives a lot more freedom to be creative. On this topic, I have to call out CIG a little because they locked the files and it’s actually impossible to get the in-file models.
After that, the next step is to convert to a Keyshot friendly file, usually a .obj. Then I import it to Keyshot, give the glass properties to the surfaces, and set up all the lighting in the background. Then there’s the important part, setting up the cameras to make the animations and rendering them.
Once I have the renders, sometimes I have to use Photoshop to “fix” some things, but usually I go to my video-render program and make the Glass Ship video.
Q: How long, on average, would you say it takes to create each?
A: This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most when it comes to my videos, many times it is because people are complaining about the quality.
Keyshot uses CPU rendering, and this program can give a photorealistic quality, but with a huge performance impact. How about an example. On my last video, I used a good quality image to promote it ( http://i.imgur.com/ZZStFie.jpg ), but that image took 5 hours of rendering on my computer.
Now let’s do some math. I usually make a 30-second video and they run at 30 FPS, that’s 900 images to render per clip. I usually do 5-6 clips on average. For just one that would take around 187 days to render at higher quality. During that time, I can’t make anything on my computer because the CPU will be maxed. So I lower the quality to have the video take 10-hours max. I do love Star Citizen ships, but I love to play with them more, or doing other stuff on my computer.
To answer your original question, it takes about 60 hours or work for each video.
Q: While working on your glass ships, did it alter the way you looked at them?
A: Absolutely! I thought that these ships were high quality models, but after a closer look they are simply insane. I’ve seen lower quality models for production at my work.
One of the ships you can see this as clear as water is on the Vanduul Void Bomber. You can even see the pipes of the ship. I have a lot of respect for the guys that are making these ships, their work is astonishing.
Q: Did it change which ship you preferred?
A: Not exactly. Some of the ships I thought were ugly at first until I undressed them. The Vanguard, without a doubt, was one of those ships.
Q: While making these glass ships, did you make any interesting discoveries?
A: The details. As I said before, I discovered that each ship has these tiny pipes and a bunch of “invisible” details, it blew my mind.
Q: So what is your favorite ship?
A: Banu Merchantman (Yes, I want it to be live).
Q: Do you have any plans to make more of your glass ships?
A: I don’t want to set it in stone, but I do want to make more glass models.
Q: How did you feel when you were announced as the MVP?
A: I was really happy with CIG. It’s always a good feeling when someone recognizes your work, and even more because it came from CIG itself. People cheering me for my MVP was really cool too, I had a lot of PMs greeting me.
Q: If you had one thing you wanted to say to the community, what would it be?
A: First, a big thank you for all the support on the Glass Ship Project.
And second, a friendly shout out to CIG, that glass models are something people want in their hangers! There’s a poll on the forums with over 400 votes on it.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Thank you The Relay for the interview.
Well, Meneillos, we here at The Relay would like to thank you as well for participating in one of our newer segments. I, personally, stumbled across your glass star ships before the idea of the MVP The Relayterviews and I was blown away by them. I love to see the content that everyone makes for this game, though I admit that I sometimes don’t have the time to dig into each and every one of them. Thank you again for the interview, and thank you for your creative work.
Next week we should be returning to our regular schedule and release the MVP The Relayterrogation of PurgatorialFlame.