Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For those who asked...

People kept asking if they could see a photo of the Atlantis model made back in 2001 out of resin.

So, here it is.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Evolution of the Atlantis DSV...

The other day I was scrounging through old CDs and DVDs, when I stumbled across an innocuous disk labelled "Atlantis '05".

intrigued, I put the disk in the tray and found myself looking through a bunch of early 2005 photos, renders and works to do with Atlantis. Everything my first drawings through to the earliest website graphics were, in part, on this disk.

Comparing the designs of the Atlantis over the years is somewhat eye opening, and as many of you might know, 2007 saw one of the most significant design changes the Atlantis has ever been through as the ship was rebuilt from the ground-up in a new 3D mesh which replaced a stop-gap solution produced in around 2005.

Many people don't realise just how radically the ship has changed over the years, so I thought I'd post some of what I found here, and explain just how it's evolved, and where it's headed.

Aquarius ASV

Atlantis ASV

Way back in 1999, the Atlantis was drawn on the back page of an English class work book during my 8th grade of school. At the time, the ship was called the "Aquarius". A couple of years later, this concept developed in to the Atlantis ASV, and was published on a now-long-forgotten Geocities website.

Atlantis ASV in 2003...

Atlantis ASV in 2003...

The original design tried to draw from those of seaQuest herself - a long, 'modular' hull which tapered to an arrow-head prow sporting two large wings with forward-set canards that ran in to the bow. The core of this concept hasn't really changed in the years that have followed, although the evolution of the design has steadily streamlined the ship in to what it is now.

Evolution of the Design

The two most recent revisions of the Atlantis could be said to be the closest to what was intended for the design - being the first entirely CG versions of the ship, and while radically different from their predecessors, sought only to refine what had already been done.

Indeed, one of the more curious design features of the Atlantis happened by sheer fluke of misfortune, or luck, depending on how one views it;

Why the hooked nose?

When I made the first model of the Atlantis way back in 2001, it was in the form of a 9-inch-long Resin sculpt, and was built in segments working front to back. The result of this was that when the core of the bow was integrated in to the primary superstructure of the central hull, the resin took a while to set - and the entire front section of the ship warped in a downward sag that essentially gave the prow a sloping 'beak' which extended from the missile tubes as far forward as the prow.

What was an annoying fault in construction at the time has stayed with the design ever since - even when the opportunity presented itself to once again straighten the bow with the first CG model some years later. This pattern of "happy accidents" continued throughout many of the revisions, as the initial resin model was limited by my own ability to physically sculpt it in to something which resembled my intended design. The 'flaws' of those techniques developed over time to be almost fully incorporated in the design.

2005 vs 2007

Despite the changes in the design over the years, the aspect of the ship which I have consistently been happy with, and not inclined to change has been the side profile; the 'stepped' construction of the ships decks originated as much from my own attempt to build the ship in sections before integrating everything in to one hull as it did from design. While most ships and submarines have a very visible, easy to define 'center-line' which runs for the length of the ship, Atlantis has no such feature - her hull's 'waterline' defined by the changing position of her decks

2005 vs 2007

...The dorsal hull however, has been something which has just as often changed. In the above comparison of the 2005 and 2007 models of the Atlantis, some of these most recent changes to the design are highlighted, but this pattern extends as far back as the first drawing in 1999; the only features which have remained consistent are the layout of the wings and their 'shoulders', the canards, missiles and primary sensor dome. Everything else, almost without exception, has been the subject of change, from the bridge through to the engines. The 2007 model brings the Atlantis closer to something which is as 'refined' as it can be without totally changing the design.

2005 vs 2007

Atlantis DSV...

...The most important thing to note of course is that the one thing which has changed most in the last nine years is simply my ability to better present my work. The old days of taking photos of tiny minatures and adding a few filters in photoshop are well and truly gone, probably never to return. This said, I consider the ability to physically construct a model about as important as knowing how to draw - unless you have a basic understanding of 3D geometry, perspective and how things go together, then 3D will always be a challenge which one will have difficulty getting their head around.

The original model of Atlantis still sits on my desk to this day.

Where the Atlantis DSV will go next in design is anyone's guess, but it's a safe bet that the one we have right now isn't leaving any time soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The End of Free Copyright?

The world has gone mad.

Courtesy of the Animation World Network (mandatory for anyone who is remotely interested in the field of CGI), I've been made aware of something which has me slightly concerned.

The US Congress, in their wisdom, wish to pass an act which essentially tells me that unless I dole out 1000 bucks every time I wish to register a copyrighted name, concept or work (read: everything) then I will have zero control over who uses it, because apparently it "isn't worth anything" and is therefore considered "Orphaned" by its owner.


it's sad that if this bill goes to pass, Atlantis as we all know it may very well come to an end - because there is no way in hell that I am going to leave the work up for people to read with this hanging over my head.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

About the April updates...

Hey kids,

Hope you all enjoyed the April 1st gag earlier this week. For those of you who missed it, I'm putting together a site mirror so you can relive the madness of that particular day. In the mean time, here's a glimpse at what you missed...

Credit where credit is due; This particular April Fools stunt would not have happened if it weren't for the efforts of the folks over at New Cape Quest (link at right) and in particular, Daniel G. Williams who built the following, rather excellent 3D model...

"Yeah, right... Unsink the ship. Real original, Jackass! I'll just go build a time machine and be right back..."

In other news, I've been considering a few of the less-seen aspects of Atlantis, in particular, the NSC fleet and the UEO Marine Corps. Late last year, I wrote a library page on the Subfighter Corps to fill in those gaps surrounding the history of the Raptor subfighter and the growth of submarine fighter warfare, and there have been a few requests in the last few months that have asked me about these other parts of Atlantis as well.

The UEO marine corps are pretty hardcore - let's just get that out of the way now. They are probably the only force within the entire UEO that consistently kicks the backsides of Macronesia so hard that they probably taste shoelaces for a month. Captain Ainsley once remarked that Force Recon was not real, and was nothing more than a bed time story invented to scare the crap out of the Army... and he might have been right if their track record to date has been anything to go by.

As there seems to be the demand - and as I do have an interest in exploring these guys and girls further - keep an eye on the Library over the next week or so for a history on the UEOMC.

The second I mentioned - the North Sea Confederation - covers the growing influence which this Confederation's military is having on the UEO war against Macronesia. We first saw the beginnings of this in Episode 4, and it's being brought full circle in Episode 5 and the in-production Episode 6. Long time Atlantis reader and part-time staffer Keith Carpenter has been slaving away in his off-hours on a pretty detailed breakdown of the NSC's military forces, including their ships, fleets, commanders and force strength. As he's getting pretty close to finishing this work, expect to see the NSC appearing on the site soon, too.

Call me crazy, but I'm going to give you a link to visit:

EMPIRE (Formerly known as Deep Angel)

Far be it for me to plug the site of the Arch-Enemy of seaQuest (Deep Angel used to be seaFire ASV) but I'd like to take the time to acknowledge someone who works rather hard behind the scenes of Empire to make their site (as much as we hate to admit it) so pretty.

His name is Stuart Stitt; and he is responsible for the 3D models and graphics that you see all over the Empire site.

Stuart has been around the sQ community longer than I have, and I regrettably made an uncomplimentary Faux-Pas in regards to his work on NCQ a while back that he came to read. Surprisingly, he didn't take offense to this (and I am grateful, as none was intended) and we had a brief exchange of our views on sQ, Empire, seaFire and to my further surprise, even Atlantis. I won't go in to much detail for the sake of this being completely unofficial, but sufficed to say that the growing resemblence between Empire and Atlantis might not be so much of a fluke as I thought.

Note: I will go so far to admit on my part that the name of the "Raptor" in Atlantis did indeed originate from seaFire ASV way back in 1999-2000. Call it an "Homage" or a Ripoff, but the name has quite firmly stuck.

Stuart also said to me that he intends on spending alot more time on the New Cape Quest forums, so for those of you that go there - keep an eye out and make sure you say 'Hi'.

EDIT: Empire - 3D modelling by Stuart Stitt (Rendering by K. Kotwicki - sorry for any confusion here.)...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Updates! (April Fools 2008)

No, your eyes don't deceive you. Go check out the main site for some new updates...