Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another year, another starship.

Yep, it's been over a year now and I've just updated this blog. I've been busy to say the least, productive.. well, that's another story.

I did take a number of classes at the Concept Design Academy over the Summer months when I wasn't working as much and connected with a now dear friend named Paul who gave me some really excellent perspective on all things art, life and not letting my anxieties eat my brain. It had been a long time since I'd done anything relating to my much beloved sci-fi so late last year I decided to work on proving to myself I learned a few things. Contrasting this image with the last posted ship I think I've made some headway.

What's the best use of this headway you ask? Well silly, obviously to make interstellar vehicles built for the purpose of making planetfall to engage in the construction of human colonies on otherworldly.. worlds.. So behold, the Veristruct Vitruvius Mark II.

So, basically the deal is that these things are basically mobile construction sites. They come with integrated hardware (such as that spine which says Veristruct on it) which deploy into a very large crane for the moving elements of the surrounding site and the building of structures. Supported inside the ship are bays of material, prefrabricated structures, construction vehicles and other necessities to build a settlement light years away from good old Terra. A PCV is a workhorse of settling space. Owned by larger colonial development corporations, or used by private contractors, they are sometimes massed in fleets or relegated to a single operation depending on the size and budget of the settlement. This particular model is actually one I designed for a story I've drummed up.

It all goes back to the not-so-glorious work in space theme.

Below you can see, in the midst of other sketches I did on this topic, the sketch where this design originated from.

For the final I employed something that I guess might be sort of unique technique, but probably not since I'm really just a philistine in matters of photo-comping. Either way, I used to be a sculptor and model maker. In the past, when practical effects were used, a starship would be a physical model. One of the last hurrahs for these models was the movie Starship Troopers where model makers constructed 16 ft long behemoth models to be filmed.

When making such a model, you would start with your general shapes, polygons if you will, and you would build out the form of the ship. Then, when the detailing process came along, often pieces from sometimes very random sources were integrated into the models as surface or structure. Usually if something physical looked neat, lets say out of a model kit you'd find in a hobby shop, you'd simply mold the piece you liked and bam, now you have 80 of them to decorate the hull of your ship with. The process was (is) called kit bashing. It's akin to photo bashing which we now see used in a lot of digital illustration for various purposes.

I employed something which I felt was in the vein of the old-school kit bashers. Taking structural or detail components from photographs and integrating them into the design which helped me shortcut the usual hours worth of detail I'd normally love to render out on something like this. Hopefully it's not ridiculously obvious, but even if it is, it was still fun, and I think gets the point across.

Anyway, back to it. Nothing spaceship related, but hopefully soon enough, sooner than a year from now, I'll throw up some more updates.

Till then..

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have a thing for space freighters. I don't know why, but when it comes to science fiction, I'll be the first to admit that I love a good space opera, I'm a huge fan of Star Trek (socially inept nerd) and have a thing for hard sci-fi, hence my love of what I guess can be referred to as "blue-collar space" work. The idea of a hard day's work in space is romantic to me. Colonists moving to settle new fertile worlds, cargo shipping, bureaucracy. The last one is a long story. Making real life, Rockwellian life almost, into a visual in space or foreign worlds has always been extremely interesting to me. When I draw spaceships, sometimes I will indeed draw cruisers, fighters and other such tools of war, but the vast percentage of what I draw is freighters, cargo ships, privately owned vessels, the stuff you never see behind the scene at the spacedock when the Enterprise is in for a refit. That's where the glory and the daily stories lie for me. So, I felt like doing a freighter here, and maybe continue it onto a theme of "work in space".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More than meets the.. whatever.

So.. uh.. I have no idea what I'm doing. So I'll start with some recent Transformer's stuff I've felt like doing. The concept is divergent from what the original TF Generation 1 storyline was. It focuses on the Autobots and Decepticons, post-awakening, allying themselves with the major world powers of the 1980's, primarily the United States and the Soviet Union. More on the story later, but these are the beginnings of the first concepts for Optimus Prime and Megatron. First, Megs. He's modeled after a Soviet T-80 Tank. He, as with most of the Decepticons will be modeled after 80's Soviet Hardware. Instead of the Seekers (Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker) being modeled on American F-15 Eagles, they'll be modeled after Soviet MiG-29's. Other 'con's to follow.

For Prime, he's modeled after a Kenworth K100 with sleeper cab. Not much different than what he's based after in the cannon TF universe, however the K100 with the sleeper cab makes for more girth, an extended rear wheel frame and some interesting bevels and angles to play with.

The following is a list of additional 'bots who will be similar to thier TF:G1 alts but different vehicles for flavor and fun.. and some more practical robot modes.
Bumblebee - Pontiac Fiero (yellow)
Jazz - Porsche 911
Ironhide - Ford Bronco II
Mirage - DMC Delorian
Sideswipe - Chevy Corvette hardtop (red)
Sunstreaker - Chevy Corvette convertible w/spoiler (yellow)

On a very different yet similar note, this isn't related to the Cold War storyline, but it's something I've been doing for fun lately. Turning my friends into Transformers based on the cars they own. Emphasis on the cars they "own" or have owned, because it makes it just that much more fun and challenging. This is one Doug Lardo, (BFF!!111) as his shiny BMW 328i, complete with heated seats and mutton chop head cowling.

It's my goal to do this for myself and a number of other friends. I've got a number lined up, and luckily friends with some pretty unique and cool looking cars. The fun is really in deconstructing the vehicle and turning it into something that really ties in with the person. As pets very much reflect their owners attributes and attitudes sometimes, the same goes true for one's car (or other means of transportation) as well. Time to paint. Roll out.