This tutorial is designed to go through all the steps from deciding to model a ship all the way to importing it in-game. This first part is specifically devoted to the modelling of ships in Softimage Mod Tool 7.5. It is the program I have used for all my ships, and I find it incredibly versatile and easy to use, and hopefully this tutorial will convince you of the same!

If you are planning on modelling a ship that has already been created before, i.e. from your favourite show or movie, I highly suggest gathering resources for the modelling process. For this tutorial, I decided to model Galaxy Class Starship the from ST:TNG. I searched the internet and my favourite databases and found several good blueprints/schematics as well as reference photos.

The techniques I am about to show you are in no way the only techniques to use, and many people would recommend others in place of these. The best way to model is to develop your own technique by using someone else's as a base, and customizing it with your own tricks and techniques you develop as you gain more experience.

Gather some good profile shots of your subject to rotoscope them into your separate views.

To do this, right click on the box directly to the left of the minimize/maximize button and go down to the Rotoscope option.


To add a picture, go to the NEW button, and select New from file. then find the path to your image and it should now be added to the image resources of your scene.

That will bring up a menu like this. XSI-Tutorial-3

You can now adjust the scale and posistion of the image to fit your needs. Make sure the Image Placement setting is set to Fixed, otherwise, the rotoscope will be of no benefit to you. You can also select Show in All Views to make your image appear in the 3d viewscreen. I find this very helpful, especially at the begining, but others may not find it as helpful. You can then repeat this process for the other two viewscreens and with a little adjusting of size and position of each object, should get something like this.

Once you have this you can move the images out of the way so they do not interfere with your view of the 3d workspace or you can leave them as they are, that is your own personal preference.

Creation of the Polymesh Edit

Now that you have pictures rotoscoped, you can now move on to the creation of the polymesh. You will want to mentally divide your model into somewhat symmetrical or inclusive parts to begin modeling. I chose to divide the Galaxy into the Saucer, Engineering Hull, and Warp Nacelles.

Once you have selected an area to model, create a primitive that seems most appropriate for the section at hand. Because it was pretty obvious, and because of the technique I most employ, I chose a cylinder for the saucer section.


Once you have created a primitive, a menu should appear allowing you to adjust the various geometric aspects of your newly created object. This menu can be accessed at any time by selecting the primitive you want to modify and pressing Enter. The important things to adjust now are under geometry, and define how complex your final object will be. The proportions of your primitive (Radius and Hight in this case) are not as important as we will be changing them quite a bit in the near future. XSI-Tutorial-6.1


You will also notice that I have positioned the cylinder over the saucer and have used the x and z scaling to match the cylinder to the saucer section of the Galaxy. Not visible in the above shot is that I have also reduced the size of the cylinder in the y axis so it is no more than a thin slice.

Here's where the real work begins. First I select all the polygons on top and then using Ctrl + D, I duplicate them, thereby making exact replicas of the original polygons on top and connected to the originals. I then use Translate and Scale to reposition this layer and effectively make a new "Slice" of the saucer.


HTML clipboardRepeat this process until there is a smooth almond shape following the contours shown in each of the rotoscopes.

HTML clipboardRepeat the process for the bottom, but don't translate the first layer down, this will achieve the sudden drop that appears on the underside of the saucer.


The next section is the engineering hull. Start by making a cube.XSI-Tutorial-7


Again use this cube to form a thin slice of the engineering hull.