Wednesday, 27 April 2011

'Runner' initial Mudbox sculpt + early 'Boxer' sculpt

Here is The Runner so far. 

I am very pleased with the emaciated muscle definition. 
The trouser cuffs need finishing and the creases in his trousers may be over exaggerated. 
I am having lots of fun using Mudbox. The technique of creating and using your own stencils is fast and flexible. 
The hob-nail boot laces were made this way by drawing a grey eyelet with white lace against a transparent background and saving it as a TIFF. 
Import through the Mudbox image browser and you can sculpt right through it with the brush strength set low for control. The whiter the artwork the higher the area is raised. The creases were done the same way.
I have made a start on The Boxer, tapering the body so he is top heavy and refining the muscles. He has the seam of his Victorian boxing tights and the start of a belt. Still got a long way to go though.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

'The Runner' character designs.

The Runner has featured in every draft of this script. For a while he was the only human in the film and was called Frank, then John Smith. Now, however, he is 'The Runner', and there are several others; 'The Boxer', 'The Kid', 'The Fighter', etc. But because of his longer stay in the script he is the most fleshed out in my head, visually that is. These are the first successful drawings of him (there were many failures), and they have been the basis of the ongoing Mudbox scuplt, pictures of which I shall post soon.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

How-to...make steampunk engines with legs.

This is a quick ‘How-to…’ to go with my Engine designs.

I have always had an interest in Steam Engines. A lot of my childhood was spent visiting steam railways around the country and my father has spent most of his life building engines. When I was growing up in a village in Leicestershire we had a 7 ¼ gauge railway going around the garden and ‘Tinkerbell’ (named after our dog, not the fairy) was often pulling wagons backwards and forwards during the summer months.
Tinkerbell now resides at the Moors Valley Railway in Dorset.

If you take this background and my love of Sci-fi it is not surprising that I design things like this.
So how do I go about it? First I needed lots of reference. 
Two very handy books came from my Dad.
These are packed with detailed diagrams and plans.
I took the engines profiles in Bolton’s Siding’ and made them into silhouettes. These acted as the initial base for the designs, cut and manipulated on Photoshop. 
The legs segments were drawn with ink on paper, scanned and filled in black.
The Victorian gears I made on Photoshop.

Each Engine starts as a tiny thumb nail sketch. Then it is just a matter of putting the bits together in Photoshop.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Engines of '#13' concept art.

These are the finished silhouette designs for the steampunk machines that populate the industrial areas of  London that feature throughout the film '#13'. My next post will demonstrate the workflow I used to create them.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Ship Yard sketch

This is a quick rough idea for a nocturnal London ship yard scene. The actual ship yard needs to be more claustrophobic and cluttered but I just wanted to start playing with the lines and angles that the scaffolding and ships spine make and the way they can lead the eye.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Steam Dog development

The steam dog started as part of a module that I was running for the BA (Hons) Stop Motion Animation Award at Staffordshire University. It involved a Steam Punk environment with a girl running away from a steam powered dog.
This is the first sketch of the characters. I really liked the dog; the angle of the legs bones gave them some energy and overall it seemed to have character.
The next sketch had a bit more detail and I was starting to think about how it could actually work and move.

In a way the dog was the continuation of a theme that I keep coming back to. Several years ago I created some robotic dog-like guns on 3DS Max for a personal game concept... 

...and then I revisited the idea on Photoshop using collage of found images.

I always like to play with characters silhouettes before refining them and so I got some loads of skeletal & mechanical reference and started to mess around with gears and pistons.

The next sketches were done on trace to allow me to work on two levels.

The final two sheets were scanned in and combined in Photoshop.

I felt the dog was too heavy at this point and had lost some of its character. I did another quick sketch to make it leaner and meaner.

Next I made a detailed silhouette on Photoshop using a palette of mechanical forms that I had been using for this project. I will go into them more when I talk about the quadruped engines that take the place of cars and trucks in this world. For now, here is the sheet of separate parts. I use a multi-layered version of this to build the machines.
This is the final silhouette. Good shape, deliberately influenced by the dogs at the end of ‘The Boys from Brazil’.
After leaving it for a while came back wanting to see some depth. So I went back to Photoshop, used ‘multiply’ on the silhouette and built up several layers of detail using custom brushes and more mech parts.
The next stage is modelling in Maya.