CityShips - Syd Mead Homage

Been a while since I posted here, but…

As I was waiting for a render to take place on another machine a few days ago (my primary project of the moment), I decided to start something small that I’ve been planning for a long time. There are two reasons for this project - i. as a precursor experiment for another big project to come which heavily depends on physical scale for its impact, but more importantly ii. as an homage to one of my favorite designers, Syd Mead.

The image that I chose to replicate (though deliberately not in an exact manner) is the CityShip image from Sentinel II, the description being:

“…the docking slot of the immense space gate…these huge craft, several miles in height, have returned for crew exchange, systems re-programming and physical refurbishment.”

This project is being done in two phases:

Phase 1
This is probably the first project that I’ve ever done where it has been planned as an animation right from the start instead of conversion from a static image. As a result, I’ve actually gone straight to building rough place-holder objects and used them to create the animatic of the animation rather than modeling detail (not that it really needed it, it being so small). In total, this entire scene only has 890 faces, and most of them are linked. Other than 12 to form the gate itself, the rest all lie in the disk of a single master city-ship object.

What was important in this animatic was getting the lighting correct. The whole impact of this image is scale projected by the contrast between light and shadow enveloping the space-gate innards and surface features (none of which is present yet). I think that from that point of view, its about right - now I have to get into the modeling phase and replace the simple placeholders with the correct meshes.

The image is standard JPG, the animation a Xvid AVI at half the intended final resolution. In total, only about 3mins of modeling went in at this stage.

As there is not really that much work (until I get to the ships themselves), and this is not my current primary project, work is slow. This is the current state of the scene, with only the bottom section of the SpaceGate having now been replaced - the rest is still placeholder.

People were having problems with the last codec on other forums, so this one is now lcav/mpeg4.

syd mead is freakin awsome. if oyu ever get a chance to go to one of his lectures he does, GO!!! he came to my school (art institute in denver, colorado) i got to meet and talk to him. he’s got some amazing backstories to go along with his art.

but for c&c looks good. mabe for final render, do a paint/toon shading, syd mead style?

Very abstract and futuristic, I love it… nice work man.

Thanks guys.

@Dac: I’d love to, but it’s rare (if ever) that he gets to the uK.

Final style: I am going to see how it goes with this one - seems to me that this one is from a period when he was doing space-based concepts in a pure painting form, without his usual cartoon-abstract style. I’ll do a few different option stills when it’s finished and choose which way to go for the final animation.

This is the original concept painting on which its based:

This is the current state of things. May have to wait off for a while now as my major project has raised it’s head again. I’ll try and spend the rest of today on this, but I think that the work on the ships is going to be a major phase in itself. I think I’d really like to do them justice.

The animation is about 1.5mb, lvac/mpeg4 (so Win Media, MPlayer and DivX players should work fine with it)