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   Discovery Zone: Advanced Shield Tutorial (Voyager Style)

Advanced Shield Tutorial (Voyager Style)
By Mike Wright

Trek shields have greatly improved since TNG (the first time we really saw them). DS9 hardly had them at all, and viewer reaction was particularly poor... I imagine its probably easier on Voyager because its just one ship. Either way, I really like their new direction, and after some tweaking, I finally figured out how they did it. (well, a Max Equivalent anyway, you got me on the Lightwave version... Probably the same... )

Shields up!

Step 1: Choose your scene

I've chosen my Federation Attack Ship for the sakes of a quick render. The first thing you want to do is make the phaser... (Make sure it has a glow)

Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 2

Step 2: Create a Sphere

Create a sphere that will completely surround the ship. Add UVW Mapping and set it to Spherical. Then click on Edit and Properties. Turn off Cast Shadows and Recieve Shadows. This way the ship inside won't render as totally black.

Step 3: Textures

Open the Material editor and start a new standard material. Set shading to Phong, and turn on 2-sided. Use the following material settings:

Shininess: 25
Shin. Strength: 15
Self Ilumination: 50
Opacity: 100

For Diffuse, use a Gradient map set to Radial. Switch the black and white colors. For Map 3, use this map. Its just a head on render of a lenz flare, a similar method was developed by the Wolfpak. Before going back to the gradient, click on Show in Desktop, this way you will know where to rotate the shield. For the Color #2 Map, use a noise texture. Set it to fractal, and change the white to a light blue. Go back to the main area and set the opacity to another gradient map, remember to change it to radial and switch the white and black. Then set color 3 to the flare map again, this will make the noise more subtle. Go back and set the texture's Material Effects channel to a number not used by your mesh. Apply this texture to the sphere.

figure 3
Figure 2
Figure 4
Figure 2

Step 4: Rotate the Shield Harmonics :)

In the viewport, set it to Smooth and Highlights so you can see the focal point of the flare. Rotate the shield until the center matches the hitpoint of the phaser.

Step 5: Shape the Sphere

Use the Non-Uniform Scale tool to change the shape of the sphere to fit the ship better. You may have to rotate the mapping after this to reposition the flare, thats ok, whatever works for you. :)

Figure 5
Figure 2
Part Two: Photoshop

Figure 7
Figure 2

Step 6: Add Glow

Add a glow and set the effects channel to the one you used for the material. Set the size to 1, intensity to 5. Leave the color to Pixel.

Step 7: Fire away!

Render her up, you now got a kick-ass Voyager style shield flare. :)

Figure 2

        Additional Ideas
I haven't tried animating it yet but it ought to be easy if you know your animation. Be sure to animate the phase levels for all the noise maps, that will make the shield more active. For a phaser moving across the shield, just animate the UVW gizmo (I've learned that the Sphere setting used on an actual Sphere will auto-fit itself, its very cool, and makes this technique a lot more easy and practical to animate than others I've seen). Torpedoes technically aren't refracted by shielding, but if you must, I would animate the shield flaring VERY briefly as it crossed the shield line. For multiple disruptor shots or pulse phasers, take out the flare map entirely and just use that noise setting, all though perhaps set it to regular and a larger size.

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