Question Spacecraft textures, and real-life greebles.

T.Neo

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A greeble is a way to add a sense of scale or visual complexity to an image, physical model or computer model of an object, such as a spacecraft. It has been used extensively in science fiction for these purposes, and 'greebles' can probably be found on impressions of most sci-fi machinery and architecture.

A greeble is best described as a detail that looks good but doesn't really do anything. To this extent, a greeble could be anything really- physical miniatures often incorperated pieces kit-bashed off of model kits, or even the plastic sprues from those kits. Greebles can also take the form of nondescript blocky protrusions or texturing on an object, like this;



Plugins for 3D applications exist that can 'greeble-ify' a mesh.

Recently, I've been working on a modelling project, and I've been wondering about what amount of detailing I should perform- and what sort of detailing I should perform. For my purposes I am not particularly keen on the usual 'blocks covering things' approach, and want a look that is based more on real-world spacecraft. Real-world machines are 'greebled', in the sense that they have visible components and construction that add to their visual complexity (though unlike most greebles in graphics work, these are there for reasons other than to look good). I can already think of some of the small features on spacecraft that increase visual complexity, such as handrails. Since O-F is full of enthusiasts who often look at pictures of space hardware, and also study the technical aspects of such hardware, I figured here would be the best place to ask for help regarding 'real-life greebles' on spacecraft. What sort of features on things like the ISS or space shuttle contribute to visual complexity?

Furthermore, what sort of surface materials and textures are common on spacecraft? Reflective coverings seem to be pretty logical from a thermal control standpoint, but there seems to be a fair amount of variation; from the stereotypical 'tinfoil' MLI, which comes in silvery, gold-y or copper-y colours, to the brushed metal of the USOS module exteriors, to white-painted surfaces and surfaces seemingly covered in white spacesuit-like material. Of course, there are also exceptions, like the black-coloured PMAs...
 

Donamy

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One thing to remember is, "greeble-ing" adds many, many more polys. But it does look good.
 

C3PO

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One thing to remember is, "greeble-ing" adds many, many more polys. But it does look good.

Wouldn't it be possible to make a texture from a "greeble'ed" object in a 3D-application, and then apply it to plain surfaces on the the mesh? You would loose the changing light angle effect, but should still look quite good.
 

Donamy

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That's what I try to do, usually.
 

T.Neo

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One thing to remember is, "greeble-ing" adds many, many more polys. But it does look good.

Indeed, and part of my confusion is what level of detail I should add to my model. My experiences with Orbiter have imbued me with a strong habit of trying to keep models low-poly and thus fairly simplistic, to accomodate those of us with lower-end machines. Since this particular project isn't for Orbiter, I am not faced with many of the same considerations, but my (fairly well-ingrained) impetus to keep poly-count low is starting to seem rather limiting at times.

I am also considering adding physical detail in textures and bump-maps, but I am unsure of whether this will be sufficient for certain details and certain visual outcomes. In any case, my primary reason for starting this thread was due to my wondering about what physical features on real-world spacecraft add visual detail, and if any orbinauts could point out a few that they have noticed or would consider particularly notable, or simply worth mentioning.
 

4throck

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Bump maps + baked textures are the way to go. That's what works on "professional" games/simulation. And that's what serious 3D rendering programs support.

It all depends on the future support of things like multiple light sources defined on the mesh.

If you combine the 2 above (bump maps, dynamic light sources or baked textures) the current meshes look OK. No need for much more detail, just more advanced texturing techniques than what's possible now.

Here's an example:
 
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Capt_hensley

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Rivets, Turnlock fasteners, latches, zip style attach fasteners, soft grabs, d-rings, latching hooks, Identitification plates, decals, labels, orientation and positional indicators, Empty Cannon plugs, liquid quick disconnect points, some times, actual scratches in the painted surfaces from legitiamate wear and tear, add affect and color. to an otherwise dismal and steril looking area.

Check my Gateway Thread for previews of areas that have traveled from steril to eye catchingly functional surface objects.

Most objects are physical additions to the next higher assembly. Screw Heads, labels, leavers and gears, and other things mentioned above.

All the meshes in the gateway set are very large in disk size, and the poly count exceeds 1 million on a routine basis.

I like to make my circular items have at least 36 facets, most have over 100
I have huge vertici counts on certian objects to make the rough edges as smooth as possible, thus the poly count goes way up. I chamfer alot of items for realizm up close, but looking at the station from the exterior, and a distance, the details get lost in the monstrosity of the shear scale of the station. Detail is only good on close-ups.

http://orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=335452&postcount=76

Hope this helps better than the above comments.
 
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