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Topic: STAR TREK: NEW VISIONS - Origins and Updates Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 15 March 2015 at 9:50pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I like the radiosity render!  One thing I really like about any sort of global illumination system is the effect of the lights near the lights.

I hear you on the render times though.  Hitting it with the HQ Bouncy Lights is always the last step for me.  I have had some success with hybridizing it, though.  Sometimes a complicated set will have so much geometry (like foliage) that a radiosity or a global illumination model will just choke on it.  So I discovered that if nearer, simpler objects are rendered GI but with a transparent backround, and the complicated background was just raytraced with a hint of ambient light, you can composite the two for a very plausible effect.  Some scenes can even be done in multiple sections that way.  I.e., in many scenes the light on distant objects aren't going to affect near or middle-ground ones anyway, so...

BTW, I love the "wow, that's flat" Star Trek cave floors.  I found them conspicuously odd even when I was a kid.  Perfectly flat, but with the occasional random outcropping.  Stray rocks but no dirt!
"Devil in the Dark" being the main culprit, of course:
Hm.  Some orange and teal going on here.  Did someone color grade the "remastered" DVDs?

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 5:19am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

As I have noted many times before, fan consternation over those "flat floors" in "The Devil in the Dark" is one of the Eternal Mysteries of the Universe. Something upon which some people seem to have fixated and simply refuse to view logically -- like the red shirts or Kirk's "womanizing."

Setting aside the practical, real world reasons for those flat floors -- we're on a soundstage in Hollywood, not an alien planet, and we want the actors, crew and cameras to be able to move easily thru the set -- the story is about futuristic mining. Given the tools used to dig those tunnels -- most likely phasers on a large scale -- the question should be why the walls are rough, not why the floors are smooth!

But even setting that aside, the episode presents us with a perfectly logical, internally consistent explanation of how those tunnels got flat floors. McCoy uses a semi-liquid building material to patch up the Horta. How difficult is it to imagine the miners pouring this same goop as they tunnel and the goop, being liquid, seeking its own level and producing flat surfaces? That would even explain (if we must!) why there are occasional random outcroppings sticking up thru the floor.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 5:48am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Here's a little test with the ceiling tubes being the actual light sources (tho not a radiosity render, just lightbulbs). Produces some very TOS style shadows. Also a few details added.

Once again working with my "unlimited budget," since this "set" will play a relatively minor part in the story I have in mind. Certainly it could not have been this elaborate, back in 1966. Not for something that would have only a few minutes of screen time.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 8:40am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

A long tunnel, with a human conveyor system. (Realizing we saw very few such things on TOS. Mostly the crew walked everywhere!)

Now I must stop, before I range into Spoilers!

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 10:48am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

It's a real tribute to the cast and crew of Star Trek that they are able to get anyone's mind to search for an in-story explanation for the floors, rather than pass it off as merely a budget restriction in production.  The fact they told "Devil in the Dark" so well that the set reads as "a mine" with intriguing floors rather than reading as "a set" underscores this.

We are horribly spoiled with modern FX today, to the point that even crummy, forgettable movies can have masterful production values.   I think we sometimes forget how far good story-telling can take you by itself.  I remember when the FX and sets of Trek didn't look low-budget to me.  And if I watch an episode now, once I'm into the story, they still don't.
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Scott Andrews
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 11:15am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Well, since I didn't get a response to my question about the second trade paperback, I looked around online.

Amazon.com shows June 30 as the release date for the second "New Visions" trade paperback.  Hopefully that's correct.  And it looks like it will have issues 3-5 in it!

Awesome.  Looking forward to it.  Since I buy the stand-alone issues digitally -- I live too far away from any comic shops -- the trades are the only time I see the stories in actual print.  :-)
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 12:53pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

When I saw "The Devil in the Dark" in first broadcast, when I was 16, the flat floors did not, ah, phase me for an instant. "Futuristic!" is the most I thought.
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 2:18pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I noticed the floors but figured the miners had some high tech Zamboni  that made them flat, probably for efficiency in bringing heavy equipment in and out. The silicon nodules were what fascinated me and I wanted one badly, especially in light of the dynamite plot twist at the end.  I don't know if they were just spray painted rubber balls or what, but man were they cool!  Some recent images from JB have me pining / hoping for a sequel!
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 16 March 2015 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

[today] even crummy, forgettable movies can have masterful production values.   I think we sometimes forget how far good story-telling can take you by itself.
*****
So true.  Sometimes cleverness and originality is heightened by having limitations in what you can do or show.  Today the mantra often seems that when in doubt, throw more and more on the screen rather than seeking other solutions more elegant or subtle.  Devil in the Dark's creature effects were not perfect but that episode still remains one of the scariest from my childhood precisely because they concealed the creature for a long time and my imagination in the first 2/3rds of the hour in those shadowy darkened tunnels scared me to DEATH.

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 17 March 2015 at 8:41am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

There were some photos last night on Reddit of a mine that is being converted into warehouse space. The floors are all nice and smooth; I assume they pour a concrete floor after the initial boring to make it easier to move vehicles around, and safer for pedestrians.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 March 2015 at 11:54am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Tinkering some more with the Transporter Room model -- finally found a way to make those lights on the back of the control console both transparent AND illuminated! -- and I indulged myself in a little something I'm sure Paramount/CBS would never go for, even if I am operating in the "fourth season."

What I'd really like, of course, is to get permission to show other, much larger transporters. Cargo units and the like. Ah, well!!

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 18 March 2015 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

JB>>and I indulged myself in a little something I'm sure Paramount/CBS would never go for, even if I am operating in the "fourth season."<<

Three extra pads?
How much "looking over your shoulder" are they doing that they wouldn't go for a cargo transporter?  I wonder if they had that kind of oversight on the Technical Manual?
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