Graphics 3710 Project: The Millennium Falcon

Jenn VanOyen

The Millennium Falcon and the High Level Bridge - When the fastest hunk of junk meets the strongest winds in the galaxy


Students taking the 3710 Computer Graphics class are usually asked to create some sort of landmark or building in Southern Alberta, but this year we were required to create a model of an object, preferably something that would be printable on the fancy-schmancy new 3D printer.  Seeing as we have an opportunity to actually print what we create, I thought I should choose something cool. Thus, I decided to model the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy (if you don’t know that the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy is the Millennium Falcon, please go make your life better by watching Star Wars; do not start with the Phantom Menace).

I decided to use Blender (2.62) to do my modelling, and it was quite the adventure. Blender has a fairly steep learning curve, but it really is worth it to get such a powerful piece of software in your arsenal. They have a pretty good manual, and I also found the wikibook Blender 3D: Noob to Pro to be quite helpful. I worked through a few of the tutorials and it was a handy reference, particularly at first for getting the hang of common shortcuts and changing views. Later on I started looking for tutorials or combing forums for very specific things, but at the beginning their broad introduction (with extremely specific instructions) was a really good way of getting reasonably competent (and by competent, obviously, I mean the ability to make more than a pretty grey cube).

Milennium Falcon from above right


Every part of the ship is made from your basic shapes, extruded and scaled and rotated in all sorts of tedious ways of course. For example, the main body and cockpit are just cylinders, the radar dish is a squashed cone, and the front of the ship actually started its virtual life as a cube. Since the ship is semi-symmetrical, I found duplicating and flipping to be quite helpful in some instances, although a great deal of patience is nonetheless required.

I did have some trouble with the cutouts on the hull. I used a Boolean modifier with the difference setting (to essentially subtract the cutout shape I wanted) but initially the adjustments seemed to have a mind of their own and were removing more than intended, so I had to separate out the specific pieces from the rest of the ship and then it worked fine.


Millennium Falcon from front

Oh, texturing. What fun. I used UV mapping to do most of it. I had ended up dividing various parts of my model into multiple pieces for ease of adjusting, but this really turns out to be unhelpful for mapping, as your object gets unwrapped into all sorts of inscrutable pieces. I had to go back afterwards and recreate a few pieces in more UV mapping friendly ways, but it was much easier the second time round. I borrowed a lot of the base textures and adjusted them as I needed by exporting the UV map, editing it as necessary with GIMP, and importing it back into Blender. The glowing bit on the engine was done using the node editor, so it was nice to get some exposure to that, too.

Millennium Falcon from back left


Camera and Lighting
Getting the hang of positioning the camera (for rendering, not modelling) was frustratingly difficult at first, but like everything else, got easier with practice. I didn’t play around too much with the lighting, but I figured that seeing as my spaceship was going to be in space, I’d be pretty safe with a sun. Blender provides a convenient star background, so I decided just to use that for my backdrop.

There were a lot of things that I would probably do differently next time, and I’m fairly certain there will be some sort of next time as I’m interested in doing more with Blender. It has tons of features and tools I haven’t had time to try yet, and probably a lot more that I don’t even know about. This project was a great opportunity to get started with Blender, and I’m looking forward to continuing. Here’s hoping I’m not too old to begin the training….


Millennium Falcon from above left


Links and Resources

Pictures for reference and texture borrowing came mostly from:


I also used the one on this page:


If anyone is interested, there are Millennium Falcon shaped silicone moulds (for making chocolates or ice cubes or jello…) and I used a photo of one of the chocolates to help me decide on how to simplify some of the details on my model. It can be found here:


I Photoshopped in my model into the High Level Bridge photo, which is not mine. It came from:


For adjusting textures, I used GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program). It’s like Photoshop, only free and open-source. Check it out here:


The sweet Star Wars font is courtesy of fontmeme:


Millennium Falcon from back


That’s all. Move along. May the Force be with you.