The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders

An unusual one for me, as I take a crack at an original science-fiction design.

My objective was to  get something seriously large, primarily for use in Vue. My thinking is that I notice many great concept art pages have fairly abstract ships that are so big the more distant parts are afffected by haze, giving a great sense of scale. And as volumetric effects are a strength of Vue, I figure model in LW with Vue in mind. In practice this meant:

  • Keep the number of different surfaces low
  • Avoid clever effects that I don’t know how to do in Vue, including advanced surfaces
  • Avoid elements that would give a clear idea of scale, such as windows, hatches, stairs
  • Make it a long design so it’s easy to get the most distant parts lost in fog

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The Lightbulb Ship

This was based on an image I found, taken from the cover of the March 1961 episode of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Magazine of F and SF, March 1961
Cover of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1961

A really unusual shape, making the whole thing look like a cross between a lightbulb and a thermos flask. I suspect it’s meant to be nuclear , which makes standing around the engine area somewhat adventurous.

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The Blitzspear – Nemesis the Warlock – 2000 AD

I was rummaging around my hard disk, and found this project, which I don’t seem to have blogged before…

After I finished Uni, I was a huge fan of 2000 AD comic, which was really hitting it’s stride. Many writers and artists went on to become the best, and best known in the industry, and 2000 AD was original, witty, and utterly wonderful.

There are not many vehicle concepts that really made a mark, but the one I remember best was the Blitzspear of Nemesis the Warlock.  An arrowhead, shaped like the characters head, it was menacing, and looked really fast! Here’s my CGI version.

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Classic space cruiser, finished renders

Right! The space cruiser is now done. I struggled a bit with the nose until I decided to make it a dome, and then added the spike, and the scallopped textures around it.

These renders are deliberately not done in a very realistic style. To be specific:

  • The environment reflected in the chrome is not in the scene
  • The lighting is very broad, not accurate for a smape scene.
  • Lighting directions may not match properly, I’ve gone for drama over realism.

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Classic 1930’s space cruiser

It occured to me that I really don’t remember ever seeing one of those really old pulp SF cover space cruisers done in a modern CGI style. You know, the ones that look like a cross between a Zepellin and an express steam train:

db_094_07_amazing_stories_1920

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Buck Rogers – The Original Rocket

I’ve just finished up “The Satellite”, the original 1930’s design for the Buck Rogers Rocket. References were a bit contradictory, so I would not be surprised if you find some that look a bit different.

Buck Rogers Reference Buck Rogers ReferenceHere are some of the more unusual features:

  • It’s a tractor rocket. By which I mean the rockets are at the front and it is pulled by them, rather than pushed.
  • It has four retro rocket tubes at the front.
  • It lands by balancing on it’s tail! Not very stable…
  • It had four weapons blisters with slots down the side.

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Out of the darkness, and into the light, final.

A collaboration with Ali Ries.

I was very interested when fellow IAAA member Ali Ries offered me the chance to use some of her glorious nebula backgrounds. I’m not very good at using strong colour, and this seemed like an excellent chance to get some practice in.

(You can see her work at Deviant Art).

I found a nice starship in the file libraries at Foundation 3D, and set about it.

I used a yellow distant light for the key light, matching the colour of the bright star. In exactly the same position I had a red dome light – dome lights are extended sources, (often a whole hemisphere), my idea was that the red light would produce a subtle warm edge to the shadow borders.

I experimented with a blue fill light, for added colour, but without a blue light source onscreen, it did not look right.

After experimenting with a warmer tone for the side light, I decided to go for some very small limited range point lights, acting like running lights on the ship. I struggled to choose between blue and red, but in the end I decided to do both!

Here are the results:

red-running-finalx

blue-running-lights-finalx

In case you are wondering, I got the title from a misremembered Hawkwind lyric – I liked the idea of a starship once again receiving the light of a Sun after an incredibly long journey.

As usual, all my bits were done in Lightwave 3d.

Unused Space Odyssey Design Concept, Discovery Bowl Version

This is an alternate design for the ship “Discovery” from the film 2001. In my view it is much inferior to the final version, but this is interesting. This one tends to self-shadow a lot for one thing, which makes it difficult to light. But note that the habitation sphere is identical to the final version used in the film – this element was about the only constant factor in the many design changes.

It is based on sketches in Chris Frayling’s excellent book “The 2001 Files”, and my version incorporates elements from several sketches.

I also did a turntable video of it, to show off the shape.

From other sketches it is clear that there are 48 fuel tanks just under the widest part of the vehicle.

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Latest WIP, more alternate “2001 A Space Odyssey” designs.

Now working on alternate unused designs for the 2001 Discovery, of which there were many. This one is fairly close to the finished version, but had added tension cables (helpful), and large cooling vanes (essential).

The vanes can tip – this would presumably be so they can stay edge on to the Sun, to avoid overheating.

Credible design for the craft like “Discovery” in “2001, A Space Odyssey” was considered very important, but the cooling vanes looked too much like wings, and were therefore dropped.

vanes-cables-01-0060 vanes-cables-01-0090

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2001 A Space Odyssey – Alternate Space Station Design.

My favourite film, without a doubt is the stunning “2001 A Space Odyssey”. Even all these years after its release, it still manages to look credible and futuristic.

I have now finished the model of the alternate design for the 2001 Space Station. This mesh is based on sketches in the excellent book “The 2001 File” by Christopher Frayling. The bulk of the book is the design sketches by Harry Lange that were done for the spacecraft concepts used in the film.

The sketches were basic, so I added lots of details from the design actually used in the film.

I’ve also made a short animated video to show it off, I recommend watching in HD if possible!

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