Trivia

Hard

In Sci-Fi Set Design, “Greebling” Is the Process of Adding?

Grunge
RGB Lighting
Alien Lettering
3D Texturing and Details
The Enterprise 1701-D facing a cube-shaped Borg ship, a classic example of greebling.
Paramount Domestic Television/CBS Television Distribution

Answer: 3D Texturing and Details

When you think of sci-fi TV shows and film design, what’s something that unifies practically every ship across the multitude of universes? Stuff. Lots of stuff. Pipes, panels, ports, alcoves, bays, cabling, bolt heads, rivets, ducting, sprockets, valves, handles, footholds, you name it and the ships and the sets of our favorite sci-fi franchises are dripping with it.

“It”, broadly speaking, is greeble. Greeble is the fine detailing added to objects in sci-fi set design to create a more complex and visually interesting surface for the viewer to look at. While some sci-fi goes the route of portraying alien (and even human) ships and creations as smooth and ultra modern looking, the vast majority of sci-fi portrayals of ships and civilizations from Star Trek to Babylon 5 to Star Wars, and more, all portray the future as a place just bursting with textures thanks to the multitude of ducts, cables, and various bits and pieces required to keep futuristic technology running. The picture here shows a particularly jam-packed example of a heavily greebled ship: the Borg cube from the Star Trek universe.

The term “greeble” was coined by designers working on the special effects for Star Wars, and while that term caught on, other terms have been used to describe the same principle. Ron Thornton and the crew working on Babylon 5 called then “nurnies”. The team working on the set design for 2001: A Space Odyssey called them “wiggets”. Whatever you call them, though, they’re integral to the public perception of what constitutes sci-fi worlds and what we’ve all come to expect.

Trivia

Hard

In Computers, “Slack Space” Is A By-Product Of What?

Trivia

Hard

Iconic Trivia Column “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” Began Life As?

Trivia

Hard

The Incredible Hulk Was Originally What Color?

Trivia

Easy

The Most Malleable Metal Is?

Trivia

Easy

Which American Professional Football Team Is Named After A Poem?

Trivia

Hard

Peter the Great of Russia Used Taxes to Banish What?

Trivia

Hard

What’s The Most Popular Screen Resolution Among Internet Browsers?

Trivia

Hard

The Communicator Used By Obi-Wan Kenobi In The Phantom Menace Is Actually A?

Trivia

Hard

The Real Life Substance With The Same Chemical Formula As Kryptonite Is Called?