Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Borg Chamber in Borg Invasion 4D well as the Borg Chamber he co-created for Borg Invasion 4D

Fabio Passaro (born 26 May 1970; age 47) is a self-taught digital artist who has 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, along with 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 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]

Since 2013, Passaro has been commissioned by Ben Robinson, the project manager of Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, to construct new CGI models for starship designs that are presently unavailable, have never been previously created, or have earlier live-action production models re-rendered that were deemed too low-resolution for practical print representation use. Part of Passaro's responsibilities is the conversion of remastered Star Trek: The Original Series models from Autodesk Maya software into LightWave 3D software. [4][5]

Career outside Star TrekEdit

Being of Italian descent but born in Wales, Fabio Passaro has 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 the groundbreaking Babylon 5 series. 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. [6]

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." [7]

In order to market his skills more professionally, Passaro decided to establish his own company in 2001 under the name Meshweaver Productions [8]. Through his company, he continues to create new digital works as a contractor. He also sells 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." [9]

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 has 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 has identified an interest in ocean and fly fishing, clay and target shooting, motorcycling, photography, and home-based herpetology. [10]


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