Retro Enterprise – #11


The “Enterprise “U” project was started in around 2015 and abandoned partly due to work commitments and partly due to limitations of hardware and software.

Subsequent upgrades of the 3D software I was using – Newtek’s Lightwave 3D – involving an extensive overhaul of their shader and lighting system to a more physically correct PBR shader meant that all the shaders used for these renders were effectively redundant and I had to painstakingly reconstruct the look I was trying to achieve using the new shader nodes and PBR shader.

The good news is that the new renders are actually more realistic, or at any rate, realistic in the sense of the stylised look I was trying to achieve at the outset.

Looking at these renders from a 2021 perspective and in light of recent re-imaginings of the Enterprise in films and the Netflix TV series, I’d probably revisit the design of the engine nacelles and, overall, build more detail into the surface to provide a sense of scale in close-ups, but without compromising my initial intention of a sleek retro aesthetic.

This project was ported over from a previous WordPress blog – now deleted – and received the most visits of any blog post to date from visitors from several countries, in particular the U.S, so clearly someone was following the progress of the project, and in fact these renders were featured in an online Japanese feature on the various iterations of the Enterprise design over time.

Perhaps appropriately the last image is of the “Enterprise U” is a rear view as it accelerates away at warp factor 10 to “Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before”…you know the rest…

Ravi Swami 2021