Star Wars Crawler

I decided it would be a challenge for me to recreate the Star Wars Ep.IV opening prologue crawler in Google SketchUp and I think I pulled it off.  There is no music playback and the timing isn’t perfect (yet) but it looks very close to the real version.  At first all I wanted to do was the crawler text but ended up adding the Star Wars logo that zooms and fades out to it.  Once I added the logo I realized I didn’t have the opening text that says “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” so I added that.

When I went to compare it to the original I found it was very close but with one major mistake.  I initially had the crawler text fading out in the center of the screen, however in the movie it rolls all the way to the top as it fades out.  So, it went from moderately tedious to hard just like that.  It took me a little while to figure it out.  Instead of having the text flat on the “ground” I had to tilt it forward by 30 degrees and adjust the field of view from the standard 57mm to 43mm to get the proper perspective.


The eventual scrolling effect was created through the use of multiple scenes using the same perspective repeated but positioned slightly lower on the screen per each scene.  After I had the entire text image in proper perspective and zoomed to its extent.  It then involved creating rectangles spaced apart approximately 6 seconds apart each.  I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean by that because seconds aren’t even a unit of measure in the program.  Basically I determined the scrolling should take 78 seconds until the fade out.  With the scene transition time set to 6 seconds, I needed to use 13 scenes for the scrolling.  I created the yellow text on a black background in Photoshop using Franklin Gothic as the font and imported it into SketchUp.  I then tilted the imported text image downward 30 degrees and zoomed to the extents of the image with the front view selected and changed the POV to 43mm to create the proper perspective.  I then created a rectangle the same size as the text image as a group at the same angle and moved its bottom edge to the top edge of the text image.  I then made a line from the top of the rectangle group to approximately the center of the text image and divided it into 12 segments.  I then copied the rectangle group and positioned its top left corner one segment on the line down.  I repeated the last step until there were 13 total rectangles spaced apart by one line segment.  I then created a scene for each rectangle using the perspective I created earlier by zooming to its extents of each rectangle at the 43mm POV.  I put the rectangles in their own layer and turned off the layer to hide them.  I then updated each scene with the style I created with the star watermark and the last scene with a style that had an all black watermark with the star watermark on top to create the fade out.

As I finish writing this blog post, I have decided to write a full tutorial on creating this.  It will be posted on this blog when it’s ready.

Google SketchUp 3D Challenge #069 – Toothpaste and Brush

Toothpaste and brush…  Sounds boring, eh?  It did to me from the beginning but as I continued to model my entry I realized it was more complex than it seemed.  I had to figure out the right technique to accomplish modeling a few items we all take for granted everyday.

The toothpaste tube was fairly simple for me but required some trial and error.  I started out with a circle about the diameter of a tube of toothpaste at the neck.  I then extruded it about an inch with the push/pull tool.  Then I used the scale tool while holding down Ctrl to resize the resulting end of the extruded circle to make it slightly wider on the green axis and slightly narrower on the red axis.  I repeated the steps on the resulting ovals until I had the basic shape.  I then created some small rectangular boxes in a row, positioned them to overlap into the narrow end of the tube. I selected the face of the tube and intersected by selection to give the crimp effect at the end of the tube and erased the boxes and the resulting clipped faces on the tube.  The label was a matter of creating the elements floating over the top of the tube and extruding them into the face of the tube and intersecting by context on the face to create the geometry.  There were many additional steps involved that would take too much time to explain.

The toothbrush was simpler and involved the follow me tool on curves I created and using the same technique I used in the Luxury Motor Yacht challenge to create the yacht hull.  For the neck and head of the brush I had to use the follow me tool in segments, then erase ends of those segments and manually recreate the ends and stitch them together with the line tool.  All that might not had to to be done had I planned it out better but when you have to stop on the edge of a curve with the follow me tool, the ending face is not at right angles to the extrude path which is frustrating.  The handle was easier than the neck.  I modeled that by creating circles of varying diameter on a curved edge I created as a guide.  I then stitched each circle together to create faces.  I learned that technique by reading or watching a tutorial for modeling a banana somewhere.  The grip was created by intersecting some extruded ovals into the handle and colored in the bristles were not too hard; they were just slightly rounded tubes rotated outward from each other to give them a slight flair.  They were copied and pasted, then grouped.  The grouped bristles were then copied and pasted into the layout I chose.

There were many times where I had to resize the model 10x and intersect items and reduce the model by 0.1 to overcome a glitch in SketchUP that creates missing faces when they were too small.

Creating the Kerkythea rendering was frustrating only when trying to make the bristles look transparent and shiny.  The rendering process took 5 hours and I had to cancel it when it was taking too long to anti-alias the rendering.  Only this morning I was able to get it done.  I unchecked specular sampling for the bristles materials and it rendered in 5 minutes!  D’oh!  The 2250 individual bristles caused too much lag with the specular sampling.  It would have been quicker to use Pixar’s rendering farm but I don’t have access to that, I’m just a hobbyist, not George Lucas.

Click here to see my entry.  Look below for an image gallery:

Update: I won the challenge!

Who shot first?

I think Han shot first because Greedo wouldn’t be able to collect Han’s debt to Jabba had he killed him.  Plus, Greedo was as good as dead anyway. If he couldn’t collect the debt from him, Jabba would kill him. If he shot and killed Han, Jabba would kill him.  But the again, if he killed Han and brought Jabba his head then Jabba might be okay with it except there’s no way Obi-Wan Kenobi would have let Greedo leave the bar.  My new Mos Eisley Cantina Bookends which are impossible to find for sale will keep me pondering…  Thanks to my Dad who was able to find and surprise me with them today.  They will be used to display my growing Star Wars Audiobook collection.

Mos Eisley Cantina Bookends

Star Wars Page Added

I just published the Star Wars page for my website.  It currently lists the contents of my Star Wars collection.  Not everything is listed because there are probably things I’ve forgotten I have…  Like my electronic Star Wars: Galactic Battle game!  Oops, I’ll add that soon.  I’ll be adding links to pictures of those items as time goes by.  I’m not sure what else I’ll add to the page other than some interesting Star Wars related links but I’m sure to come up with something.

As a note: I neglected to post a Happy New Year message, but Happy New Year nonetheless.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope everyone had a good holiday.  I just wanted to let everyone know what I received as gifts this year.  I am very excited and surprised about what I was given. My mom and dad gave me 5 Star Wars statues from Gentle Giant to add to my collection including Ep.6: Jabba the Hutt, Ep.6: Jabba’s Palace Band, Ep.1 Darth Maul and Bloodfin, Ep.5: Yoda, and Ep.6: Bib Fortuna.  They also gave me the entire 9 book collection of the Star Wars: The Legacy of the Force series on audiobook CD as well as Tales of the Jedi and Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith on Audiobook CD and The 16-Month Oversized Saga 2009 Engagement Calendar. Take a look below and click on thumbnails to see fullsize:

Jabba the HuttJabba's Palace BandDarth Maul and BloodfinYodaBib FortunaStar Wars: Legacy of the Force AudiobooksTales of the JediTales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the SithThe Saga 2009 Engagement Calendar

My new website and Blog

Welcome to those visiting my website for the first time.  I’ve had several versions of a personal website/blog but have never treated it too seriously until now.  On this website you will find information about me, my latest hobby/interest in 3D modeling, an occasional opinion, useful information for those with disabilities and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and my like for anything Star Wars.

Why JediCharles do you ask?  Well, I generally lean towards the good side of life and in Star Wars, the good are represented as the Jedi Order and the bad as the Order of the Sith.  No worries, I won’t be dressing up as a Jedi or some other Star Wars character and acting out scenes from the movie’s.  I do have a light saber but it is for display only.  It looks and sounds like the real thing but attempting to use it like a real one might break it and even if it were real I wouldn’t use it because I know I’d drop it and cut off something useful.