TARDIS Control Room Blender Model: Process Journal

Originally posted: July 8, 2014

I have been working on a TARDIS control room model for a while now and it is done for the most part. There are a few things I would like to work on, but it’s time to compile the project into another process journal. I don’t know why. Maybe that it serves as an excuse for me to put the hours of work into perspective.

This project forced me to realize and appreciate the amount of work involved in creating and maintaining a large detailed model. It is time consuming. Time devouring.

There is a lot to consider with a project that has many parts. How are you going to organize all the pieces? How are you going to label everything as to maintain clear and consistent naming conventions across all objects, materials, etc. involved in the project? A scene with a bunch of objects and such can get confusing real quick. You can get overwhelmed by a hundred objects named Cube.this, Circle.that and Curve.the other.

It was overwhelming at first, but I soon was too far along to give up. The hours I spent huddled in a corner, grabbing my knees, rocking back and forth thinking “I can’t take it. Please, no more.” Why did I think this would be a good idea? There is a good chance that I was dropped on my head as child.

Despite the bouts of insanity, the project was completed.

As with the Sith Fury project, it wasn’t my intent to summarize this project in any meaningful way, so again the renders are pieced together from the test renders I made while modeling.

Rough Shape and Proportion

This proved to be difficult at the start. I was able to find a simple top view schematic of the size and layout of the control room on a post at tardisbuilders.com.

The other reference I used for a majority of the process was the TARDIS interior on Google maps.

Getting the scale/proportion of the major pieces took some guessing, eyeballing and tweaking. The inclusion of human model as an added reference point was helpful.

Internal Structures (Console, Door and Underside)

I didn’t really have a plan after getting the outer hull shapes finished. It made sense to get the various levels of floor space and stairs done first. Shaping the curves for the handrails was tricky in spots especially the rails that curved down from the main platform to the bottom floor.

Console Switches, Buttons and Wibbly Levers

Modeling all the details on the consoles wasn’t really difficult, but it was rather tedious. I had to eyeball the correct arrangement and scale for all those objects. A steady stream of foul language helped to complete all those little bits and pieces for the consoles.

Unwrapping the Beast

The whole model is unwrapped. Doing so wasn’t necessary, but it allows more options for the materials and textures if any given piece is already unwrapped. It took some thought on how to best group the various objects and to arrange the UVs.

Diffuse Textures: Rotors, Entry Frame Design, Display Panels and Door Signs

I used Inkscape to draw up the rotor symbols, entry frame design, display panels and door signs. I drew up four of the rotor symbols by using the screenshot reference I had. The remaining rotor symbols are based on a couple of reference pics that I have been trying to find again to give credit, but haven’t been able to track them down. I used screenshots I took from the Google maps TARDIS interior to draw up the display screen graphics. The entry frame design was part guesswork and interpreting the design from a few screenshots.

The Multi-Colored Console Panel

It took some thought to figure out how to effectively create the multi-colored console panel. After a few poor attempts and their equally poor results, I came up with a solution:

  • Laid out various images of rising smoke as a texture for the glass panels.
  • Rendered an image of some colored light objects reflecting off of a plane.
  • Positioned a plane under the glass panels and applied an emission material using the image texture.


Maybe I will do a tutorial of the effect sometime down the line.

I learned a lot with this project. Managing a large project isn’t quite as foreign to me now and feel confident that my next harebrained idea for a big project won’t be so overwhelming. Everyone’s workflow is going to be different, but I can say that it pays to organize your ideas as thoroughly as possible from the outset. You will thank yourself later.

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