It’s my obsession, my idée fixe, my royal PITA–for over a decade now (ten years–really?!?!) I have been working on and off on this project: to completely replace the visual effects from the classic 1967 Star Trek episode “The Doomsday Machine”.

The closest I’ve been to my goal was three years ago when I completed all of the pre-credits teaser and Act I, plus about 10 minutes of Act II cobbled together from an earlier 2007 attempt. But that’s about it. Every time that I worked on this project, I would inevitably run into some daunting obstacle that made it difficult to press forward, or real life threw up a roadblock, or I just grew so sick of the frakking thing that I got up and walked away–sometimes for months at a time. Sometimes years.

And that’s the funny thing about getting older. You notice after a while that the years just seem to slip away so quickly. You wake up one day and realize that you’re half a century old, and not getting any younger. Time’s a-wastin’.

Well, something else is approaching the half-century mark: Star Trek itself. Technically, the series’ 50th birthday is this December, when the series pilot “The Cage” was lensed, but CBS/Paramount officially recognizes the date of birth as September 8, 1966, when Star Trek made its network television debut on NBC.

So that’s the target date. The FINAL target date. I’m either going to finish this stupid project once and for all by September 8, 2016, or I’m going to die trying. But one way or another… here’s the opening scene of my final attempt to get this thing finished.


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Enterprise orbiting Earth

In honor of today’s historic ruling in favor of marriage equality in Virginia, here is a new image of the Enterprise orbiting the Earth that I recently rendered. The background image of Mother Earth is a public domain image taken during U.S. space shuttle mission STS-71 of the Earth and the late, great Mir space station. You can view the original background image here.

Enterprise Orbiting Earth

Click to embiggen

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So long, Facebook

Yesterday I did something that I have been thinking about doing for a long time: I permanently deleted my Facebook account.

I’ve had my Facebook account since January 2009, and in the 5-1/2 years I’ve been a member I’ve reconnected with old chums from my Longview days, kept in touch with family and friends in distant cities, and have been a mostly enthusiastic participant in the great social networking experiment that’s swept the world over the past decade.

One thing that I did not sign up for, though, was for Facebook to experiment on me. It seems that recently Facebook conducted an experiment—in secret and without notifying users beforehand—where it allowed internal (to Facebook) and external researchers to selectively hide good and bad news in users’ Facebook walls. Researchers would then examine subsequent posts by the unwitting test subjects to gauge whether this manipulation affected their emotional states.

Well congratulations, Facebook! Your manipulations certainly affected MY emotional state. You made me so angry and fed up with your shenanigans that I finally cut the cord.

This doesn’t mean that I will be withdrawing from social networking—far from it. I’m still here, and I’ll be posting here more often in the future. I’m still on Twitter (follow me at @TheScottGammans) and LinkedIn. And as soon as I find a good photo sharing site that is NOT owned by Facebook (sorry, Instagram!), I’ll be posting my non-Star Trek photos and videos there. But my Facebooking days are over.

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The Enterprise Visits the Orion Nebula

The Enterprise visits the spectacular Orion Nebula in this new image I completed over the weekend for a friend of mine. The background image is from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.


Enterprise Visits Orion

Click to ennebulate

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Back to the hangar bay

Time to put the CMU in the hangar bay to see how it looks. Even though I know it’s basically a wearable spaceship and its interior is dominated by its single pilot seat, it’s easy to forget how *small* it is until you see it next to some much larger objects, not to mention things that have real-world analogues (e.g., the elevator doors, the control console, etc.)

That’s one thing this test scene made me realize. The other is that the “Jefferies” shuttle model is in dire need of a facelift… it looks positively flat compared to the CMU.

The Jefferies is looking a little plain these days

The Jefferies is looking a little plain these days

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You can have any color you want, as long as it’s white

Well, it is supposed to be a TOS-era cargo management unit, and they painted everything whitish/greenish gray back then. Now that I’ve seen her in white, I’m actually kinda leaning in this direction. Only thing is, now that it’s not bumblebee yellow anymore, the stripes really stick out, and I’m not sure you can call it a “Workbee” anymore (I think the nickname’s appropriate only if the hull is yellow). Hmmm…

The CMU in white

The CMU in white – click to emwhiten

The CMU without stripes - no longer a workbee

The CMU without stripes – no longer a workbee

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New Workbee WIP video

A short test video of the Workbee. Still a ways to go on this, but it’s getting closer.

Workbee WIP

Workbee WIP

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W.I.P. of new model – The “Work Bee”

Here’s a work-in-progress image of something I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks for the hangar deck scene in “Doomsday Machine”: a TOS-era cargo management unit (better known as the “Work Bee”).

The Work Bee

Cargo Management Unit (the “Work Bee”). Click to enanthophilate.

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Hangar Deck WIP

Finally finished the lower level maintenance deck, but I’m holding back further pictures on that until it’s “showtime”. I’ve now started working on the main hangar deck level, which is going to take quite a while.

Final flight

Final flight

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Ready for launch… well, not quite…

…but the underdeck area is nearing completion.

Ready for launch

Ready for launch… sorta

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