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Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Borg Chamber in Borg Invasion 4D
...as well as the Borg Chamber he co-created for Borg Invasion 4D

Fabio Passaro (26 May 197010 October 2022; age 52) was a self-taught digital artist who made a number of contributions to the Star Trek franchise.

Passaro's very first professional assignment came when he was contacted by Foundation Imaging's Effects Supervisor Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz who commissioned a digital version of the USS Reliant. Lebowitz and Doug Drexler were among the few publication editors who granted young and aspiring amateur digital modelers a chance to create work for official Star Trek print publications.

Despite the availability of a suitable production-used CGI model, Passaro's Reliant model was prominently featured on the cover of the 2002 collector's edition of Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 5, which was rendered by Lebowitz himself. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 12, p. 113; [1]) Recalling his first professional assignment, he said, "The client required it to as photo-realistic as possible...to be featured on a front cover of a magazine and with the possibility of a multi-page spread inside the magazine – which was later dropped. The mesh itself took 2 weeks (60 hours) to construct from what reference I was provided with and the texturing a further 8 days. As always with the world of textures – a texture can never really be good enough and I could go on for ever making nicer and nicer textures for this ship." [2]

His next official Star Trek contribution came during his employment as a digital artist at Threshold Digital Research Labs where he co-created the Borg Chamber for the 2004 Borg Invasion 4D-ride at the Star Trek: The Experience attraction. Passaro recalled, "I was commissioned to create a part of the Borg Chamber used in the ride. The scene consisted of nearly 3 million polygons or so and was built to strict outside dimensions although I was asked to detail the inside of the chamber to my own tastes but in fitting with the Borg theme." [3]

In 2013, after being introduced by him by Lebowitz, (Star Trek: Shipyards - Starfleet Ships 2151-2293, p. 6) Passaro was commissioned by Ben Robinson, the project manager of Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, to construct new CGI models for starship designs that were presently unavailable, had never been previously created, or had earlier live-action production models re-rendered that were deemed too low-resolution for practical print representation use. Part of Passaro's responsibilities included the conversion of remastered Star Trek: The Original Series models by CBS Digital from the Autodesk Maya software into the LightWave 3D software format and adapting them into a CAD file. [4] His most recognizable work for the publication however, was, unsurprisingly, the various incarnations of the Miranda-class, the digital recreations of the Star Trek: Insurrection starships – the original computer files being lost – as well as the Battle of Wolf 359 Federation starships, of which no production digital counterparts were ever produced,. The Wolf 359 group included his digital construction of the ethereal Norway-class to boot alongside his re-rendererings of the other Alex Jaeger -designed Battle of Sector 001 Federation starships. As usual with this partwork, Passaro's digital models were used as templates to construct the display models that came with their respective issues of the publication. [5]

Several of his Official Collection models, were rendered anew by Passaro for representation in Michael Okuda's Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed.), replacing the by Doug Drexler's in Adobe Illustrator created starship illustrations for previous editions. (acknowledgements)

Starting in 2017, Passaro was also contracted for the conversion of Pixomondo's Star Trek: Discovery production CGI models from Maya into LightWave 3D (and their first conversion into CAD files) for the Official Starships Collection's follow-up project, the Star Trek: Discovery The Official Starships Collection. Although this work was featured on his website in the Summer/Autumn of 2019, [6](X) Passaro opted (for unknown reasons) to remove his Discovery renders from the site. [1]

In March 2021, Passaro indicated that he was adapting and converting original studio models for the Star Trek Universe: The Official Starships Collection, while his site stated that Meshweaver had completed 220 models for Eaglemoss/Hero Collector. This staggering total includes the models that Passaro built from scratch, and the conversion, re-texturization, and "revamp/update" of other artists' 3D models, for a number of the company's product lines. [7] [8]

Besides his work for the official Star Trek franchise, Passaro had also done similar work for the fan film series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and Starship Farragut in the period 2000-2009. [9]

Passaro had the Gagarin-class USS Passaro (NCC-97955) named after him posthumously, something of which his wife and daughter, [10] as well as his former employer Robinson, were appreciative. [11] Star Trek: Lower Decks honored him with a ship named the USS Passaro (NCC-52670) as well, with its registry reflecting his birthday, 26 May 1970. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

Career outside Star Trek[]

Being of Italian descent but born in Wales, Fabio Passaro had a keen interest in graphic novels since early childhood. In particular, he found Marvel Comics' work which had been imported to the UK from the US to be the most appealing. In the early 1990s, he acquired one of the earliest PCs available to the general public and started to try his hand at digital modeling, very much inspired by Babylon 5. Despite having had some formal education in art, photography, engineering, and the fundamentals of three-dimensionality, digital modeling remained something of a hobby until Adam Lebowitz came calling in 2001. [12]

For Passaro, his association with Lebowitz turned out to be particularly beneficial, as he recalled, "My first break In the TV/Film industry came after I was asked to model the USS Reliant for the front cover of Star Trek magazine which ultimately led to the BSG [Battlestar Galactica] mini series gig and the rest thereafter." [13]

In order to market his skills more professionally, Passaro decided to establish his own company in 2001 under the name Meshweaver Productions. [14] Through his company, he continued to create new digital works as a contractor. He also sold digital odds and ends (often referred to as "greebles and nurnies" by digital modelers) to try "(...) to make other 3D artist lives easier. On many occasions when an artist has built a model there are many areas left empty and need to be filled." [15]

One of Passaro's first professional assignments was a commission to create meshes for models which were used in the creation of starship miniatures for the Babylon 5 Agents Of Gaming range, a role-playing game comparable to FASA's Star Trek: The Role Playing Game. He subsequently worked as a digital artist on Ronald D. Moore's 2003 Battlestar Galactica mini-series, the 2005 television series Captain Scarlett, the 2007 direct-to-video Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (especially pleasing to the consummate Babylon 5 fan Passaro), and Battlestar Galactica: Razor (alongside a slew of other Star Trek alumni).

In reference to his hobbies, Passaro identified an interest in ocean and fly fishing, clay and target shooting, motorcycling, photography, and home-based herpetology. [16]

Passaro communicated with the outside world (and his employer) through X (formerly Twitter) under his pseudonym "DarthPistachio".

He passed away due to cancer on October 10, 2022 at the age of 52. [17]

Bibliography[]

  • Star Trek: The Magazine (uncredited)
    • Volume 3, Issue 5, September 2002, Collector's Edition – Cover Co-Illustrator
    • Volume 3, Issue 12, April 2003 – Co-Illustrator (p. 113)
  • Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection (uncredited)
    • Issue 12, 2014 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 14, 2014 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 20, 2014 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 47, 2015 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 54, 2015 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 61, 2015 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 64, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 73, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 75, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 79, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 80, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 85, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 86, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 91, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 92, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 93, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 95, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 96, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 100, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 104, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 105, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 108, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 110, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 114, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 116, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 118, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 120, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 122, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 126, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 127, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 138, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 143, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 159, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 161, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue M1, 2015 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue SP3, 2014 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue SP4, 2015 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue SP7, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue SP9, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue SP11, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue XL9, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Bonus issue 5, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Bonus issue 7, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Bonus issue 11, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler, Interviewee
    • Shuttle issue 5, 2017 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Shuttle issues 13-16, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
  • Star Trek Encyclopedia, 4th ed, 2016 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler (uncredited, but acknowledged)
  • Star Trek: Discovery The Official Starships Collection (uncredited)
    • Issue 1, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 3, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 4, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 5, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 6, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 7, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 8, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 9, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 10, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 11, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 12, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 13, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 14, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 15, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 16, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 17, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 18, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • Issue 19, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
    • XL Edition issue 1, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler
  • Star Trek: Shipyards - Starfleet Ships 2151-2293, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler (credited)
  • Star Trek: Shipyards - Starfleet Ships 2294 to the Future, 2018 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler (credited)
  • Star Trek: Shipyards - Klingon Fleet, 2019 – Co-Illustrator, Digital Modeler (credited)

Appendices[]

Footnotes[]

  1. Meshweaver.com's "Eaglemoss: Trek Little Ships" pages 5(X) , 6(X) and 7(X) removed Passaro's DIS renders and replaced them with models from the first Official Starships Collection in late 2019.

External links[]

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