Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Tobias J. Richter (born 1967; age ~54) is a German CGI artist. He has created the covers for the VHS video release of Star Trek: The Next Generation in Germany, and worked closely on several Paramount Pictures promotion elements throughout the years. It was through the acquaintance with the chief editor of the calendar series, Doug Drexler, that Richter was introduced into the world of the Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendar series, some of which were reprinted in the 2014 book derivative.

Already renowned in fan circles for his early work of fan-art, his work on the visual effects of fan made movies and his various "opening movies" for the FedCon – "Federation Convention", Europe's biggest Science Fiction Convention – , he became more widely known for his highly detailed and accurate close-up CGI builds of the USS Kelvin [1] and the USS Enterprise [2] from the alternate reality movie Star Trek, which he created for a five-minute HD animation for the opening ceremony of the 2009 FedCon, at a time when these were not yet made available to a general public by the franchise. [3]

In 1989 Richter created a pd/freeware game for the Commodore Amiga called Star Trek: The Game. Set on board the USS Enterprise-A, it simulated ships functions, shuttle craft, missions, and crew moral, all in a 3D environment. [4]

Richter was an active participant on Drexler's DrexFiles(X) blog, showcasing his work before his first official publication. Along with former Foundation Imaging colleague Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz, Drexler became one of the few publication editors who granted budding CGI artists a chance to create work for official Star Trek print publications. His work has since then also been featured in the official Star Trek Magazine.(citation needededit) [5]

One of the first more official, yet unrecognized, contributions Richter made for the franchise in 2011, was an animation, featuring several by him built other Star Trek starships, as a trailer for the summer 2011 German leg of the travelling Star Trek The Exhibition-tour, at that time located in the Filmpark Babelsberg, Potsdam. [6]

He and his team at The Light Works also created numerous in-game models of starships and stations for the game Star Trek: Infinite Space that was canceled shortly before release. For the promotion of the game he created an illustration that covered the whole twenty meters of the company's booth at the GamesCom, the largest games convention in Europe. His team also created illustrations for the game Star Trek: Rivals, images of starships and objects of the alternate timeline Star Trek, as well as visuals for the trailer. Most recently his team has created models for Star Trek Online, including an updated Deep Space 9 and runabout.

An even more signature, but equally unrecognized and uncredited, contribution followed the pursuant year, again courtesy Doug Drexler, "Yes, I asked Tobias if we could use his D model, as it was one of the best I had seen. We did not use it very much while I was involved, as Paramount had taken good care of the original elements." (source) Drexler was referring to the 2012 remastered The Next Generation-project, on which he had served as a technical consultant, predominantly on its first season. Intent was to enhance the series without introducing newly constructed CGI elements – as had been the case with the previous remastered Star Trek: The Original Series-project – but, "[s]ome footage was just plain missing [for upgrading to High Definition]. The only time we felt justified to replace an element," as Drexler had elaborated. [7] Some of the missing elements involved footage of the USS Enterprise-D and it was here that Richter's model came into play. His model was already featured in the episode "The Inner Light" on the very first release of the project, the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level sampler Blu-ray Disc. In the following months, Richter provided some other CG models as well that required a replacement. [8] In this, Richter has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Petri Blomqvist, who had six years earlier provided similar services for the remastered Original Series (and received credit for it), but ironically, while Blomqvist had constructed his models in the LightWave 3D software, which had to be converted at then Autodesk 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. (source)

The book/DVD combo Star Trek: The Next Generation - On Board the USS Enterprise, released one year later by Carlton Books, featured a multitude of interior VR renderings of the USS Enterprise-D. Richter and his team provided models of the Bridge, Transporter Room, Corridors, Medical Bay, Engine Room and more, recreated in detail from source material provided by book author Michael Okuda.

Most recently, he has done the book covers for the Cross Cult series Star Trek: Prometheus. In addition to that, he created visual effects for the fan productions Star Trek: New Voyages, Star Trek: Renegades, and Star Trek: Axanar.

In order to better market his skills, Richter released much of his work under the name of his company The Light Works.


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