Independence Day Resurgence Tug Design

Created for the film. Construction of the full size from the Rhino model.

Finished Set


oh god, what a beautiful design, this is just, amazing. like, man I suck at rhino… hahaha


Thank you.

You dont suck at Rhino, like all of us your learning. Be patient , give yourself time and a chance to learn and grow. You will get there. Keep in mind Ive been at this for 35 years and Ive been using Rhino professionally for over 20 years and believe me my early models were …well…lets just say I had room to learn and grow. I hope that maybe this inspired you to continue learning and developing your abilities. I look forward to seeing your work posted here soon.



It is a masterwork!

After you designed the robot for a film, it surely needs to be rigged for various motions:

In which software is this stage done?

Do you do the rigging yourself or by other experts it is done?

Well actually this is a space tug not a robot . And as for movement this is a static set piece. Any movement is handled by vfx in post production.

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I called it a robot because it is considered a semi-robotic vehicle which is controlled automatically by the operators.

I think changing a complex static model like it into a dynamic model is very complicated work in VFX.

Thank you so much :slight_smile:

I emphasize again it is a masterwork

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Do you also use Grasshopper or is it just Rhino? Or maybe other plugins to make the work easier?
Wonderful job

I have dabbled but not really jumped into the grasshopper pool head first. In this particular case it was entirely modeled in Rhino but no plugins , no grasshopper. Just good old fashioned modeling. The funny thing is, the modeling (for me anyway) is not the difficult part. The difficult part is navigating the politics, the egos , the budgets and schedules to get these things done. When I started this job I was told I had 12 weeks . 12 weeks to design I said? No, 12 weeks to design and build. In the end it took a total of 14 weeks from nothing to what you see in the pictures.


You really should make a video about how you did this, because this looks like something that someon would make in Maya or 3ds Max. I think your video would convince 3d artists to move to rhino 3d.

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That would be amazing, but he’s likely too busy cranking out amazing models and getting paid… :wink:

This job for my part deserve much more then a :heart:.
Wow effect :sweat_smile:. Great job, my best compliments

Thanks for all that you have shared here. Real inspiration and the quality of the finished set pieces made me think that they were full production renders of the Rhino model. Just for grins, I down loaded a couple of you line screenshots and came up with this. Your detailing came across nicely but I had a hard time getting a bipedal pod out of AI. I’ll probably try and use some of your alternate images to see what I can derive from 3d model to AI render which has been a big quest for me the last few months.

Did you do any photo real renderings as you worked through the variations? I’m blown away by how AI is cranking out permutations from the orginal refs from your images. I have long thought that the artic display mode might be a good start at getting such 3d geometry into the AI workflow. I haven’t had much luck in my marine usual work efforts but what I am getting from your SciFi images seems to be a big clue which I need to delve into further.

Nice rendering environment here but the vehicle has little resemblance to what I started with.


thank you.

No we never had time to do full renders , we were moving too fast.

I will admit I needed to take a moment to think about your post.

First let me say this, when I posted these images AI wasnt a thing yet. And while in recent months I saw that it was becoming more prolific it made me wonder how long it would be before someone here did this with my images. Im sad to see this frankly, not that you specifically used them but in general that they could be used. Its important that you understand why I posted my work here so that I can make my point more clear. I posted images here to inspire and show newcomers and veterans alike what Rhino and by extension the work we do be possible if you put in the time and effort. To create a dialog about process and execution to teach others . Yes its rewarding to hear compliments about the work , who wouldnt feel that way but it was not my intent . Im very proud of the work Ive done over the years using Rhino. I want that for others to experience.

As for the images, well they are about what I would expect when you feed something designed with intent and considerable thought into a generative meat grinder. You get image salad more akin to cannon fodder than a thoughtful design. This of course is my opinion so please I mean no disrespect towards you. I just feel strongly that the more we automate creativity the less creative we are. Sure you can crank out a thousand more ideations in a split second compared to what we as people can do but its akin to throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. While I would have preferred being asked if the images could be used this way I also understand that I put them up on a public forum and by doing so I have to expect this to happen so I bare no ill will towards you. But this is why Ive posted no more images and wont for the foreseeable future until I can dive in on the software that makes it so AI cant use the images. I have no social media or online portfolio so this is the only place Ive posted my work for the intent if helping and inspiring.

If your excited about AI , thats fine. Im not here to tell you what you should or shouldnt do. Its just that I caution you and others to be too eager to take on technology with the possibility of replacing us and by extension taking something remarkably human , the ability to dream and create away from us or make us feel there is no need for us to be creative. I had a career in miniatures before what I do now. That part of the industry is now gone because CGI came online and replaced it. I was of course sad by this because now I had to find a new career but I took some comfort knowing that it was giving thousands of creative people jobs. AI will not do this. Eventually it will become good enough that our employers question why they need people like us anymore. Sure thats progress, but thats also an easy statement to make, not an easy statement to make a living by if all you know and have worked for is being replaced by AI.

Im passing this along as a cautionary tale. Dont let what happened to my career happen to you due to excitement over a new technology.

Peace, and happy modeling!


Yeah, time. If I only had more time.

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Well I have already read the writing on the wall when it comes to AI and I have 25 years of using Rhino3d in marine design so I just don’t want to be left in the dust. I have had little luck with getting my Rhino boat and yacht models into AI in a way that remains true to the original design intent. Yacht design is probably way down the list of fields that will be threatened by AI.

I can commiserate and like your comment, ' generative meat grinder. You get image salad'. That is a pretty good summation of the situation.

I have done large custom yacht designs in which I tried to give the client a 'virtual yacht' modeled and fully detailed in Rhino. But sometimes clients want major changes long after all the intricate NURBS modeling has been done and don't understand that thier project was not originally done in a parametric manner. They just want you to push the non-existant "Easy Button" and have all your hard won and carefully configured 3d modeling to somehow update. My interest in the AI rendering is more for use in the conceptual phase and let the client see the possibilites and go through some permutations. My hope is to be able to rough out the basic hull and deck and rig of a design in Rhino from which we can get weight, displacement, stability (using Orca3D) and then somehow get that framework into AI where the 'eye candy' and environments can be generated. Of course the 'pretty pictures' can be rendered right in Rhino which I have done for decades but I would like to have more flexibility early in the project and engage the client using AI imagery. 

Much like 'storyboarding' in done in your industry, I think AI will have major effects in that part of the workflow. 

What is really going to have major implications in your industry will be the text to video generators such as SORA which will cut out a lot of the multitude of tasks and jobs. 

 The old pro yacht designer I have worked with for the last 10 years told me when I offered to tutor him in 3d modeling that he was dragged screaming and kicking into the 2D CAD world and he refused to do so again and learn 3D. He just said that was what he had me for...

I am just watching carefully where AI is heading and how it will affect my Rhino capacities. I have posted images of my work here and I doubt anyone has tried to replicate those designs in AI. I can go to any AI gallery and search for creations such as your space tug and instantly get thousands. I have never done more than glance at them but since your post in Rhino I saw a possibility to get the utility from the Rhino model and apply it to the advanced imaging possibilites that AI offers. 

I have been surprised at how little notice this forum has shown as AI imaging has developed. There was one thread (Thomas An) that was the first hint anyone in the Rhino community even was aware but that thread didn't go far. Lets all open our eyes and how as Rhino modelers we need to watch and learn as AI progresses.

But damn, you got me doodling space tugs now!!!
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I hear what your saying about your industry. You are probably right about it being slower to impact your industry vs mine. We are already seeing it impact us (mostly illustrators and storyboard artists) but I do suspect that at some point it will creep in further. VFX will be hardest hit over time I suspect. I get it though, if your just doing an ideation process for a client it makes sense I guess my point is it takes people out of the equation and thats ultimately my concern. Where will it stop. For me , I will never use it. I dont want to risk having my reputation as a designer tainted because people think use AI thus having a reason to ask for a lower rate , yes producers are chomping at the bit to cut us all loose or reduce our numbers and rates or how long we are on a project.

Time will tell.

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There’s a child-like part of me that remains that was incredibly excited to realise that an actual person who worked on Star Trek was recognising any of my hobbyist faffing. Having started in Rhino 2 years ago, I didn’t search for recognition; I always enjoyed the journey.

It seems like so many years ago, even at my relatively young age, that large internet forums were rife with creativity, good communities, and constant WIPs.

This has slowly seemingly been overtaken by the need for social media perfection: the appearance that your work must only be shown in the final render state, in the best possible light. I found that quite sad. I felt very exposed to show WIPs even on this forum.

But I realised, especially learning to use Rhino and render, that so much of the journey and enjoyment was in the work, even if it is purely for a hobby, and hopefully the enjoyment of others, rather than money.

It feels that we went through a transition where you post your work, and on planet TikTok, your weeks or months of work is worth about 15 seconds of someones attention. I find it somewhat sad that AI means that everything about the journey gets lost. It looks great in many cases, but it just misses the point of not only the creative industry (well, maybe it’s only purpose is money), but of the strikes at the very idea of storytelling. Moreover, I have received so much great advice, been asked questions about how I did things, and importantly, gave back help sometimes where I could to anyone that asks. A lot of the story that we see in cinema isn’t on the screen, but in the extras, like the 3d models we see here; the feedback we receive, and the help that we give.

I’m glad that AI has allowed people who would otherwise have no access to creative arts, to be able to get involved. I’m sat here on some good hardware that I worked very hard for; and I love putting it to work, even if 80% of it is utter tosh. But there are people without that access, and tools like Dall-E have enabled them to get there, or to visualise concepts.

I hope you find a route that enables you to keep posting work here (Nightshade/Glaze type methods perhaps) eventually. Along with some other comments I have received from other very highly skilled, and helpful people over the past year, you have helped me keep going in Rhino. Those few small images of badges have stuck firmly in my mind, that anything is possible.

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I have no intention of stopping my posts here however when it comes to film related content that I am not the copyright holder I have to take some extra precautions I feel. I do intend to look into Nightshade and see if that is a viable solution for my situation. In the mean time Ive decided that when time allows I will create my own personal projects that I can then post , share and discuss ( if anyone is interested) the process I went through. As I said earlier my intention is to inspire and if for some reason people are interested in what Ive done and it helps them technically or creatively I would like to continue to do that as time permits.
Ive greatly enjoyed your work and if I have helped or even shown support of your journey then thats everything I hoped to gain by being a member of this community.
When I started my career I was surrounded by mentors in an environment that not only guided but pushed me both creatively and technically. I can never put a price on the knowledge and experience I gained in my formative years in the industry and its because of that I can still keep a career going.

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I’ve seen some pictures, I’ve read several posts, discovering not only a great artist, your jobs speaks for itself, but a beautiful person, moderate, polite and modest, when he could stand on the highest peaks. And yes, your work has thrilled and inspired me. And yes, please, keep posting with as many precautions as you see fit.

Every now and then I will come back to see your pictures, to be sincere one has been downloaded to put it on my desktop, it will remind me how many years I will have to stay on Rhino :older_man:, if I ever get closer to such masterpieces :rofl:

Thank you! Best regards

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