Serenity computer model

UPDATED: Monday, January 22, 2007 08:15
VIEWED: 8284
PAGE 1 of 1

Thursday, January 4, 2007 11:32 PM


Hi all...

I'm new to this community, but not to Firefly.

I ordered the series before it was aired here in Australia and loved it. I wanted to ration it to 1 episode a night, but ended up watching 1 DVD a night!

I've since bought 3 sets of the series and have given 2 away as presents. Both people loved it!

I (of course) have the movie and will from time to time have a Firefly marathon where I pop the series into the home theatre system and watch them back to back! Friday nights until Saturday morning! Me, some friends (sometimes), pizza and coke.

I'm into 3D modeling as a hobby and am in the process of doing a tutorial on making the ship from Firefly.

The model isn't properly textured (painted), but it's a pretty model...

Here are a couple of renders:

There is an animation that would run for about 16 seconds, showing the ship lifting off, launching a shuttle, and zooming away, but it will take roughly 55 hours for me to render it. I'll get it going when I know I won't be using my computer much (next week).

Overall goal: do a fan web comic with the ship and the characters!! Any comments or suggestions are more than welcomed.

Cheers all...

-Joel (SandmanNinja)


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:25 AM


Hey, great model dude!
Looks like you might have some smoothing issues around the neck and top corner of the cargo bay. Could just be the specularity, though - looks fine in all but one pic.
What program are you modelling this in?
You might not need me to tell you this, but there a dozen ways you can speed up render times for animations - skydomes, baked textures, rendering plugins, and the like. Might be able to be more specific if you let me know the program you're using.
Do you plan on making the model available to the public? We're currently producing a Firefly fanfilm over at (, and would love to have access to your modelling talents.
Good luck dude, and welcome to!

"We want to put you in a safehouse, where you'll be safe."
-- Ryan Templer, Graduate Massacre


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:31 AM


Wow. Literally Shiny!

Very impressive and looking forward to seeing what else you're going to do with it.


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:40 AM


[EDIT: I left a file out when I rendered the images - I've put it back in and re-rendered. Much brighter. Sorry guys]


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:49 AM



Thanks for the kind words.

Be sure to reload the page to get the new renders.

I'm using 3DS Max 8.0.

The model is almost 2 million polys - she's pretty heavy. The cockpit is detailed out as well. I would want to do the galley (meals), at least Mal's cabin, the interior of a shuttle - so there's heaps to do.

I'd want to do the characters as well - I wonder if I'd get into trouble if I used screen shots of their faces up close for my model's head textures?

But the idea would be to do a weekly (or twice a week) comic with 5 to 8 frames/cells, and tell a new adventure.

Can you give me some more info on the fan film?

I'm a slow modeler tho, but I just got a new computer so that should be my productivity!


-Joel (SandmanNinja)


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:56 AM


that is awesome -seriously shiny

i have been contemplating putting together a 3D walk around but i'm definately not up to your standard -a project that will probably stay a san idea for quite a while

may you live in interesting times


Friday, January 5, 2007 1:58 AM


Class model, real class!
My friend is an animator for abig-wig post production house here in England and I see his stuff all the time. This is good work mate - really good work.

What sofware have you used? Maya, XSI, Studio max?

I like it a great deal can't wait until you add the texture.



Friday, January 5, 2007 2:43 AM


MAX 8? Shiny. I'm stuck with 7.
I doubt you'd get into trouble (no more than modelling copyrighted material anyway, heheh) - as long as you're not selling the models on Turbosquid or anything.

It'd be neat to have a 'verse webcomic - we have Crimson Dark (, a fantastic orignal sci-fi with a distinct Firefly feel to it. But that's it.

What kind of lighting setup are you using in Max? Global Illumination (that'd explain the long renders), or what?

The fanfilm I mentioned earlier is Firefly: Redemption - it tells the story of 'Serenity' before it ended up in the junk yard and became 'Serenity'. Same ship, different crew. So a native Max Serenity model would be a great help (we have Sean's Lightwave model converted to 3DS, but it's not ideal). We also had a guy working on an extreme close-up model, but he disappeared a few months back. It's being filmed in Texas (and little bits in New Zealand), but with contributions from all around the world. Hope you can help out!

"We want to put you in a safehouse, where you'll be safe."
-- Ryan Templer, Graduate Massacre


Friday, January 5, 2007 4:39 AM


The story for 'Redemption' sounds good!

I'm rendering the last 100 frames and will post a link when it's done. It shows the ship 'gathering' itself, the rear firefly bug thingies expand, and then the ship zips off into the Black...

Take a look at the animation when I post it (in about 24 hours) and let me know if this type of model is what you had in mind.

I'm a big fan of Crimson Dark and I know the author/artist is a big Firefly fan.

I'm opposed to using Poser for the character modeling, so I'd do them in 3DS Max. They'd be high poly - not like a video game.

Now - to come up with a story that does justice to the ship and crew. Writing, Storyboarding, rough sketches...

I'll need to do another marathon of back-to-back series and then the movie to get in the right frame of mind to come up with a good story for the web comic.

The good thing is that when all the models are done, it's just setting the scene up and then rendering. Well, mostly. Will probably use photoshop (I know it well). I have OLD versions of PageMaker (I don't think it's even called that any longer).

Nice, colourful PDFs as well as the HTML web pages.

I've been wanting to do 3D since I was a kid in 1977 watching Star Wars, so I'm a bit motivated.

1:30am my time - yawn - gotta go to sleep.

Glad I came across this new community!

-Joel (SandmanNinja)


Friday, January 5, 2007 7:58 AM


Memo: about to be a bitch apoligises in advanced.

Okay....very sweet 3D modelling BUT thats not Serenity or a Firefly class.

The tutorial gets the shape completly worng in shape and size unfortunatly. The necks a biggy unfortunatly.

BUT if your looking for the BEST Serenity tutorial on the net, check out Treybor's stuff (he's a member here somewere...)

He's a LOT of research into Serenity from screencaps and stuff, built his own version and is currently making a FREE tutorial on how to make your own, proper Firefly Class.

Tutorial here, its lightwave, but i do know people who have used it in Max as well.

the best serenity tutorial you can find, its a lot of work, but in the end i think you'll be very happy with it, oh and its free!!!!

Other than that, a webcomic sounds absoutly sweet. I think we'd all love to see something like that and Crimson Dark shows it can be done.

Wish you luck on this Sandman Ninja, and if you want a good 3D community who's always willing to help, try

other than that, mnight shiny 3D skills ans i wish you luck for the future.




Friday, January 5, 2007 5:12 PM


Here's the link to the animation:

It's 101 frames at 30 frames per second (give or take)and lasts a touch over 3 seconds.

Choo1701 - Yeah, it's not perfect. There is a section on an alternate neck and I plan to go back and re-do the neck the other (more accurate?) way.

I've seen the lightwave tutorial and have seen the ref photos here, as well as looking at the images in my Serenity role playing game manual.

It's a beautifully ugly bird, verging on more organic than harsh lines.

Comments on the animation would be welcomed.


-Joel (SandmanNinja)


Saturday, January 13, 2007 9:40 PM


That's a nice model. No doubt you've been using the 3D-Palace tutorial. I hope to start working on a Serenity model sometime soon, I like the 3D-Palace tutorial but it's terribly inaccurate. The thread from LWG is really good and it's one reference I'm going to use as a basis for what I'm going to do. But luckily, sometime this month there are some blueprints of Serenity (highly detailed) that will be coming out from Quantum Mechanix that I'm going to try to order and hopefully that will have the best references for the ship. There's also the 20-inch model coming out later this year that will be good also.


Sunday, January 14, 2007 2:48 AM


Not a bad start, and some of the detailing is good, though much of the shape is wrong. The cockpit window flows with the shape, rather than doming out, the neck seems to rise too much, also theres a semi circular tube that breaks off from the neck and leads down underneath the shuttle bays, acting as a sort of landing platform which the wings project from. The Landing gear project from boxes either side of the cargo bay, which also needs to be boxier.

The Thrusters are pretty good, though I think they have more spines at the front and the jet intake spike is more of a dome than a cone. The FireFly engine is pretty much spot on, except the Reactor assembly at the top and some panelling at the back, but that may just be the render angles, I think it should also has a few more pipes.

If it helps at all for a reference I have a FireFly model built in 3D Studio Max

More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.


Sunday, January 21, 2007 1:38 AM


Hi DarthViper,

Yup - the StormBringer. I think they changed design elements so it wouldn't be an exact copy (think I read that someplace - AFTER I started the tutorial!).

Blueprints would be fantastic!! I'll have to check them out. Tho I admit I want to do other models besides Serenity - I may tackle it as my skill increases and I have more accurate plans.

For those interested in seeing a longer animation, please check out:

The first animation was only 3 seconds long - this one is 17 seconds long. It shows the shuttle undocking and flying off and the legs retracting, etc.

I know it's not an accurate model, so I'm not asking for crits or comments - just trying to share some Browncoat love...



Sunday, January 21, 2007 1:40 AM


VERY NICE, Citizen!!

Very impressive!!

Ya use good tools - 3DS Max rocks!

Cheers and thanks for the good renders



Monday, January 22, 2007 8:05 AM


Yeah, the blueprints are supposed to be put up for order soon on the Quantum Mechanix website (like possibly this week) or if you live in Florida you can go to the FX show this coming weekend and they'll have a booth where you can buy one and pick it up yourself.


Monday, January 22, 2007 8:15 AM


Wow....everyone...beautiful, guys!

Now do the Jupiter 2 Chrisisall






Sat, April 10, 2021 06:59 - 5 posts
'Clarice' ... or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love My Lotion Bucket
Sat, March 27, 2021 13:44 - 10 posts
Brenda? Are You Watching FBI: Most Wanted?
Wed, March 24, 2021 17:00 - 76 posts
Firefly a ripoff of Andromeda?
Wed, March 17, 2021 07:39 - 44 posts
Did you notice Nathan Fillion in episode 7 of Alan Tudyk's new show Resident Alien?
Mon, March 15, 2021 09:05 - 9 posts
Rush Limbaugh dead at age 70
Thu, March 4, 2021 21:56 - 76 posts
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer dead at age 91
Wed, March 3, 2021 23:16 - 4 posts
NASA Lands the Perseverance Rover on Mars
Wed, February 24, 2021 23:22 - 12 posts
Victorian Female Batman???
Tue, February 16, 2021 21:04 - 46 posts
Where are the Extraterrestrial Civilizations
Tue, February 16, 2021 15:29 - 19 posts
Alan Tudyk Resident Alien Series Premiere Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 10/9c Syfy
Sat, February 6, 2021 19:47 - 7 posts
Joss to create new SciFi show for HBO, “The Nevers”
Thu, February 4, 2021 11:46 - 60 posts