Friday, October 10, 2014

Icarus Fails Again: Focusing on Design Principles

(The photo touch ups could use some more work to make them fall into place better. On my Cintiq they read better, but on my monitor that is a little blown out the contrast drops and they don't read that great. Which is a reminder to be thorough with the details because you never know what will expose weak areas.)
     Another old piece dusted off and polished up a bit. This is the first of many sketches and speeds for a Sci-Fi universe I have been building through sketches and story notes. It is slowly turning into something pretty extensive and exciting. So here is hoping it accumulates to something worthwhile.

      The intention with this was to create a design that had some visual flare while pushing some basic design principles I have been learning (3rds, 70/30 Ratio, Imbalance and Movement). The implementation isn't very subtle, but since this piece I have improved the ability to wield them with out it being to on the nose. The speed was started very loose in technique and concept. After the initial 20-30 minute speed, I wanted to establish the ships function. That way the rendering and decisions moving forward had a story and meaning driving them.

(First 20-30 minutes of the speed. Usually these early stages are where you establish a foundation that can be evaluated with accuracy. If it isn't working for you at this point, its is probably better to do a few more 20 minutes sketches rather than struggle with one for an hour or so before moving on.)

     It is intended to be a luxury transportation ship of sorts, meant for travel through the solar system. A bit like a flashy sports car crossed with limo. This justified pushing the flashy/gloss like body and the bold red decal (the decals were a missed opportunity to push the design language). This also justifies the lack of any apparent windows that could be peered into. The red often symbolizes power on top of being very striking to the human eye. Overall I think I mismanaged the pallet a bit. I could have done a better job at balancing saturation vs de-saturation. More research, experimentation and reference is the solution to this problem for future pieces. 

(A little closer, messing with different decals and scale. Bumping up the saturation as I tend to make the mistake of working way too muted. I make sure to flip the image regularly to avoid any skewing that can sometimes happen.)

     The sleek design and movement of the silhouette is meant to guide the eye in a loop so the attention wraps back to the front. That said I intentionally wanted to make the front of the ship a little ambiguous since it could potentially move in all directions with ease. The side engine pods and tail are supposed to hint at the ability to retract and tuck back in to the body during increased speeds. The idea is there but needed better execution. The form of the back pieces is a little wonky and the function of everything connecting the separate parts could read better. Iterative design would have solved this problem.

(Thanks to a great tutorial by Thomas Scholes I now set my grey scale check to a hot key. So in no time I can switch it on and off and make sure my values are reading. I can also make sure that the design in the values properly encourage the guidance of the eye.)

     The ship's claim to fame is its' ability to withstand a wide range of temperature. Thus the name Icarus was given in a taunting manner. The engineer bragged that his Icarus would fly close to the sun with out any "melting of it's wings". I imagined that this ship is an early build and that when challenged, the Icarus in fact malfunctioned when approaching the sun. Its' defenses weakened and was obliterated in a very public tragedy that made news watchers very sad for a couple weeks. That is of course until Justin Bieber VII got caught drunk driving again.

Still digging through the folders and will be posting more shortly, as well as beginning some new pieces that I hope to post in the next couple months.