This is almost definitely Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (a "Terran Trade Authority Handbook" - Wikipedia link)
The book opens with an Introduction that details the highlights of the 21st century, specifically with reference to ships, engines and interstellar contacts:
Although the principles of nuclear drive systems had been put into practice as far back as the late 1980s, the work done by the McKinley Corporation, who produce the Ion Ultradrive engine, transformed them into highly efficient and economical power sources, and many of today's ships are equipped with engines that are virtually identical to those introduced in 2013. More important still was the the invention of the Warp Generator by Henri deVass fourteen years later.
Nevertheless, the deVass Generator opened the road to the stars and led to our first contact with an alien intelligence.
In 2036, a manned survey ship made contact with the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light years away, and this meeting led to a happy and rewarding association. In 2045 the Trade and Technology Exchange Agreement was signed with the Alpha Centaurians, and one of the most important benefits we gained was the acquisition of anti-gravity techniques. These were successfully brought together in 2045 by Dr. Hans Berger in his Gravity-Resist Projector, the the form of spacecraft was transformed overnight. Now ships of very large proportions could safely be landed under most gravitational conditions, the Colonial III being a good example of this application.
The next major influence on spacecraft design was due to more unfortunate circumstances. In 2047 one of our survey ships was approaching Proxima Centauri, an inhabited system with which Alpha had a long history of conflict and antagonism, when it was attacked and destroyed. Soon afterwards Alpha was subjected to the worst thermonuclear attack it had ever experienced, this being followed by the destruction of one of our spaceliners with a full complement of passengers. The Proxima War had begun. It was to last for twenty years, during which time a wide variety of military ships was produced by all three Star Systems.
Ships designed during this era feature strongly in this book. Until the war, space travel was still a fairly limited activity and this was reflected in the comparatively small number of different types of spacecraft. The space war bred dozens of new craft, many of which were adapted for peaceful roles afterwards due to the exigencies of the reconstruction.
Introduction to Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD
The "semi-transparent" ship is probably "Object #1 Barnard's Star" (art by Tony Roberts).
I think I've finally found the other image you mention "Object #4 Proxima Centauri", also by Tony Roberts: