Space Intruder Detector (SID)

Reference Material

Hmm... let's start with a bit of deep modelling philosophy --- "You can't model it if you don't know what it looks like". Good huh!

The hardest part of modelling is deciding what the object should look like. In the case of copying from film and TV it's especially true. If you get the proportions wrong loads of people will EMail you pointing out your mistake. My preference is to work from the object itself... of course this often means a model. If that's not available then plans of the object are a good substitute. For SID I used a Japanese book called (in English) "Thunderbird's Modelling Century" which has plans of many of the craft from Gerry Anderson's series. It's then largely a case of sitting there with a ruler measuring the thing.

If none of the above is available then, there's always the technique of watching the Film or TV show over and over again to work out the details. It really helps if your VCR has a good pause facility. Even so this method is really boring and a complete hassle.

Basic Shape

Ok, enough about collecting material now on to the modelling. I always begin by roughing out the basic structure of the object. I use Kinetix 3D Studio Max for modelling these days. It's simply that I'm more familiar with it. So modelling is quicker for me. It's really important to find a modeller that you're comfortable with.
SID Day 1

Basic Detailling

Right, the main parts of SID are finished. Now it's a case of adding on the main details. In the case of SID this means the solar panels and arials. I use a lot of boolean operations when modelling. For each of SID's "eyes" I boolean added a cylinder in the correct place for the raised edge. Then I boolean subtracted another cylinder to create the inset eye itself. The basic panelling detail was dreated in the same way.
SID Day 2

Super Detail

Lots more boolean operations to complete SID. All of the surface panels are cubes boolean added to the basic structure. The dish antenna were created by taking a sphere, cutting it in half and then removing the front face. The panel lines were also Booleaned onto the mesh as it seemed easier for this mesh then trying to figure out a texture map for each face.
SID Day 3


In the case of SID, almost everything has been done as part of the mesh itself. Really all it needed was the application of an overall dirt map to give a bit of depth to the mesh.


Because this is a space image, I used a single bright light source to illuminate SID. The light was set up to cast shadows to give more definition to the mesh. The background for this image is a photograph of the Earth from the NASA public domain archive. After all, why bother tring to model the Earh when you can download really good pictures of it already?
SID Final

Copyright (c) 1998 Mateen Greenway