(written from a Production point of view)
Petri Blomqvist was a digital modeler, who has officially been credited as a "Technical Consultant" to the production of the 2006 remastered version of Star Trek: The Original Series, as part of the CBS Digital team. It has been, to date, his only official credit, though his contributions to the Star Trek franchise had more substance than the somewhat non-committal credit description suggested.
Beginnings as Star Trek fan Edit
Finnish born Blomqvist was a Star Trek fan with a background as an electrical engineer. As fan, while he was still a student, he constructed in the early 1990s CGI models of Star Trek ships, using some of the earliest CGI software available to the general public. Some of his work was featured at the time on the, now defunct, website "The IDIC Page(X)" of William S. McCullars, a fellow studio model aficionado. It was through McCullars' website that he made the acquaintance with Gary Kerr, likewise a Star Trek studio model aficionado. With Kerr, who possessed a large amount of measurement data of the original eleven-foot Enterprise studio model in particular, Blomqvist developed a two decades-long long-distance friendship, continuously exchanging data with each other, that helped both men to finetune their data on the Original Series models; Kerr for his blueprints, and Blomqvist for his CGI models. An unassuming man, Kerr has described him as being, "Definitely not a prima donna with an inflated ego, Petri was very modest about his talents and completely trustworthy." (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 42)
First, uncredited, official Star Trek assignments Edit
Blomqvist's first brush with the official Star Trek franchise came when he, on recommendation of his friend Kerr, was invited by Michael Okuda to participate on the forthcoming reference book, Starship Enterprise, a book that chronicled all Enterprise incarnations in the Star Trek universe, slated for a 2000 release. He was pegged to do some CGI beauty shots of the various ships. The project however, fell through, and while he had already done some work on the project, it was not as yet as extensive as what his friend had done, when the project was canceled. Despite being canceled, Blomqvist reveled in the experience, "The model was actually nearly finished in late 1999, and an update was supposed to happen, but then a strange thing took place – I was given the task of creating 40 renderings of the original Enterprise for a book called "Starship Enterprise". Being part of that project was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had; unfortunately, the book seems to have been put on hold. I'm still hoping it'll be published some day." (X) Still, as token of appreciation and out of his own pocket, Okuda bought Blomqvist the LightWave 3D software packet for his own personal use. A grateful Blomqvist, who up until then had to make do with antiquated and obsolete CGI software, has been "going gung-ho with it ever since", as his friend Kerr has fondly put it. (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, pp. 40, 44) Okuda's act of kindness would repay itself six years later though, when the remastered version of the Original Series came along.
Re-rendered in the software Okuda gave him, one of his beauty shots actually saw an official publication, when it served as an illustration for a two-part article McCullars did on original studio model builder Richard C. Datin in Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, whereas the subsequent issue additionally featured his CGI builds of the Deep Space Station K-7 and Enterprise's shuttlebay, and which – for all intents and purposes – were Blomqvist's very first, but unnoticed, officially licensed Star Trek publication credits.
Three years after the canceled book project, Kerr brought Blomqvist into contact with Doug Drexler, who was seeking out input for the build of his CGI original Enterprise, he was constructing for use in the Star Trek: New Voyages fan films. (X) Blomqvist was able to help Drexler out by bringing in the geometry into his model. It actually has earned him his first official IMDb credit, for the 2006 vignette "Center Seat", though the database has misspelled his name as "Bloomquist". Drexler, as visual effects supervisor, in turn, submitted Kerr's measurements and Blomqvist's work the subsequent year as reference to Eden FX, where Koji Kuramura was constructing a CGI version of another Constitution-class vessel, the USS Defiant for the Star Trek: Enterprise fourth season episodes "In a Mirror, Darkly" and "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II". Co-worker Robert Bonchune, who was responsible for mapping and lighting the model, elaborated, "Any ship dimensional reference material we needed was provided by Doug Drexler as well as Koji's own research. I know Doug is good friends with Gary Kerr, so I am sure that made it's way to us through him. As for the Petri help, Koji used his shape for the back end of the nacelle cap as a reference piece. We needed it built differently." Drexler was not insensitive to Blomqvist's contributions, and as primary editor of the publication, reserved a place for Blomqvist to showcase his own CGI models in one of the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars, which was his second officially licensed Star Trek credit, though his name was misspelled again as "Blomquist", reprinted in its book derivatives.
Becoming officially reacquainted with Star Trek Edit
It was in 2006 that Blomqvist's work truly came to the fore, when Kerr was again contacted by Mike Okuda, as CBS Digital started to run into troubles with the production of the remastered Original Series. Initially, CBS had decided to build the CGI models for the project themselves, despite the fact that several professional parties had made pitches for the commission. But due to strict release schedules, CBS was forced to rely on a third party Enterprise CGI model after all, and a candidate was sent to Kerr for evaluation by Okuda. Kerr discovered that the model was lacking in accuracy and sent his findings to Visual Effects Supervisor Niel Wray. Wray concurred, and was desperate to come up with a replacement. It was then that Kerr suggested Blomqvist's Enterprise model, a model he knew had been refined for over a decade by that time.
It was Blomqvist's model CBS bought and used in the remastered series, or as Kerr has put it, "To put it simply, the CBS lawyers huddled, agreements were signed, and CBS Digital was free to use Petri's model." Since Blomqvist's model was based on Kerr's blueprints, it has earned them both their official credit. The quality of Blomqvist's work was a compelling reason enough for the acquisition of his other Original Series CGI models as well, as it saved valuable production time. The models CBS ultimately bought, entailed almost every other design seen in the original series run. The exceptions were the Fesarius, its companion, the Tholian ships, and all the new designs especially conceived for the remastered version, all of which constructed at CBS Digital itself. Okuda was pleased, and has expressed that, as far as he was concerned, Blomqvist's models could be used "without concern".  Nevertheless, the digital animators still had their work cut out for them as Blomqvist's models were constructed in the LightWave 3D software, whereas CBS Digital used the Autodesk Maya CGI software at the time, and had to translate the digital models from one format into the other, which inevitably led to some information loss. Additionally, they had to cut down on the resolution level of Blomqvist's highly detailed high-resolution models, in order to speed up computer rendering time. Still, the CGI models bought by CBS, more than enough warranted Blomqvist his official credit as "Technical Consultant". (Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, p. 48-50)
Digital modeler Tobias Richter has, in more than one way, followed in Blomqvist's footsteps for the pursuant remastering-project six years later, but ironically, while Blomqvist's models had to be converted at then Maya using CBS Digital, the now LightWave using CBS Digital had likewise to convert Richter's model, as his software package of choice has been Maya. But unlike Blomqvist, Richter has received no official credit for this contribution.
- "Enterprise '64: The Real Builders of the Storied Starship", William S. McCullars, Star Trek: Communicator issue 132, February/March 2001, pp. 48-49 – Co-illustrator
- "Enterprise '64, Part 2", William S. McCullars, Star Trek: Communicator issue 133, June/July 2001, pp. 44-48 – Co-illustrator
- Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars – Co-illustrator
Further reading Edit
- "The Enterprise and Me: The long road to Polar Lights' 1:350 TOS Enterprise-Part One", Gary Kerr, Sci-fi & fantasy modeller, Vol. 26, July 2012, pp. 34-50