Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Assessment/ Feedback

Generally my work was well received by tutor and peers. It was suggested that I begin on some exterior concepts for the chop-shop. I was instructed to either design a corridor leading to the workshop itself or to design the hangar wall outside of the frigate. I was criticised for using harsh lines in my concept work. It was recommended that I lower the opacity of the lines so that the look is less graphic. It was suggested that I should have gathered slightly more inspiration material to further convey my thought processes and idea development. The tutor also thought that perhaps I should consider combining clean glossy surfaces with rusty textures to experiment with juxtaposing elements.

Overall I was pleased with the comments and suggestions I received.

Monday, 26 October 2009

New Chop-Shop Layout Perspective Colour Concept (Complete)

Here is the Final Concept of the chop-shop in colour using the previous tonal concept as a template for lighting. I wanted the interior to be quite dimly lit with only a few light sources. I wanted the colour pallet to have cool and neutral colours with the occasional flash of red. I tried to incorporate the colours in my initial starter concept. I really like the way the light flares off the craft in the centre of the image to enhance the shiny surface of the chassis. I also feel that the reflections give a sense of depth and realism. I wanted the chop-shop to appear smart, clean and organised. I believe I have achieved just that.

I managed to find these photographs on the internet. I found them incredibly handy and used them as reference for colour and lighting. I applied what I had acquired from these images into my colour concept of the chop-shop. I think I did a pretty good job of recreating the colour and lighting into my own work. You can clearly see that most of my colour choices were taken straight from the first image. The second image helped me to create the strip lights towards the back of the workshop. The third image helped me to create realistic reflections on the walls, floor and on the craft. The fourth image helped me to add a slight industrial slant to the chop-shop in as far as the addition of the robotic arms and their colour as well as the automated crane. I added the red lights too to enhance the notion of a working chop-shop and to add a flash of red to create another light source which I believe brings the piece to life.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

New Chop-Shop Layout Perspective Tonal Concept (Complete)

Here I have added texture and tone to the original line drawing. I have also experimented with the lighting of the interior. I am very pleased with how this piece turned out ... it only took 2 days.

Friday, 23 October 2009

New Chop-Shop Layout Perspective Line Drawing (Complete)

Here is the finished line drawing using Photoshop.

Below is the original Pencil & Ink sketch/ line drawing. The perspective was initially tricky because there are many lines to consider. I wanted to convey the space accurately. The perspective of the back wall to the right of the drawing was particularly difficult to achieve.

New Chop-Shop Layout Perspective Line Drawing (Work in Progress)

Here is the line drawing nearing its completion. I have also used the bowling alley photos displayed in the previous post for reference/ inspiration. As you can see I have incoorporated the bowling alley layout by introducing a low ceiling, pillars and an extended lane/ construction bay where vehicles are stowed.

Below is my own line drawing of half of the chop-shop interior.

I have used various elements from this perspective line drawing below to construct my own interior design. I found this image off the internet.
Below are some sketches of a few photographs and images that caught my eye.

Interior Appearance

I have been looking at some photographs of bowling alleys on the internet. I want the ceiling to be quite low and I want to introduce a couple of pillars for structural support.

New Chop-Shop Layout Drawing (Work in Progress) & Final Layout

The image above is the layout I'm most happy with. I have extended the construction bay and removed a pillar. The room itself is now deeper.
I have decided to scale down the most recent chop-shop rectangular layout so that only one construction bay is present within the interior. The portion of the room to the left of the red marquee line on the drawing above will be removed.

I have been looking at various reference material to begin to establish the actual appearance of the interior. The concept piece will be more detailed and complex in design to the final 3D model due to poly count/ memory. Plus my 3D modelling capabilities are limited.

Further Inspiration

Here is a collection of images of futuristic interiors I found on the net.
I hope to mimic this kind of architecture. The strong angular surfaces next to curved edges is an intriguing concept.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

More Frigate Inspiration

Some images I found on the net.

Frigate Design (Just for Fun)

My Concept
Inspiration/ Reference

This is a quick idea I came up with for the waste transportation frigate. The idea is that the chop-shop is aboard this ship and its occupants use anything they can find within the waste compartments. Usually its scrap metal from vehicles or construction materials.

The original outline was far too streamlined and organic in as far as its curved structure. I wanted to use the initial layout but make the design more angular and industrial. I wanted the ship to look like it was made by humans and the design to convey its function.

I used various concepts of cruisers from Halo (namely the Pillar of Autumn) to inspire me and to acquire that industrial feel. I also looked at spaceship designs from films such as Starship Troopers, Alien, Aliens, 2001 a space odessey and 2010.

A Trip to London (Photo Reference)

Here are a couple of photographs I took in London of an underground car park.

If I was to design a dark and tight chop-shop workspace it would probably be on the lines of these photographs in as far as lighting, colour, and a low ceiling with a couple of pillars, piping and wirework.

Further Inspiration

I found this image on google images. This is a screenshot from the film Moon which released several months back. The modular paneling and overall design reminded me of the design of some of the rooms and corridors in the living quarters aboard the Nostromo in the film Alien.

I'm somewhat leaning towards my chop-shop having an organised and clean feel, very much like the image above.

New Layout Diagram

Here is a new idea for the layout of the chop-shop. As you can see I have removed the seating area and airlock. The room itself is more of a rectangle than the previous square format. The kitchen area/ observation room is far more discreet. There is no airlock however a more rounded elongated bulkhead can be seen before the construction bays. Either this bulkhead is made of very thick bulletproof / airtight glass or made of thick titanium/ steel alloy.

This particular design is certainly far more spacious. I was initially experimenting with a claustrophobic environment. I explored the idea of a makeshift tight workspace.

I have to decide whether my chop-shop has an organised and clean feel with slick white wall modular paneling and a fair amount of overhead lighting. Or a cluttered, untidy and dark workspace.

Of course lighting is a major component which helps to convey the mood of an environment. Perhaps lighting an illegal workshop with low tonality may be too obvious however it does seem very appealing in terms of artistic imagery.

Refined Diagrams

Here is a more refined design layout of the ideas and sketches below.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Initial Chop-Shop Layout Ideas

Here are some sketches of various layouts of the futuristic chop-shop. Although these designs follow a similar layout, I have attempted to move things around and add additional elements.
These designs are not finalised and my ideas are still developing. Design number 5 is a design I hope to build in 3D however it is quite ambitious considering my limited knowledge in modelling and texturing. I may have to scale the idea down somewhat.

Further Inspiration

These are a couple of initial concepts for some Halo environment designs from the Halo concept book I mentioned in a previous post.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Library Research

I was recommended by my father to find a book which talks about a variety of aspects associated with filmmaking. The book is called Working Cinema Learning from the Masters by Roy Paul Madsen. 

I went to my local Library in Croydon and managed to find this very book. The most important details I wanted to record were what was written about Lighting and Layout/ Composition.

Lighting according to Vilmos Zsigmond:

"The cinematographer is responsible for lighting the set ... he or she "paints" with illumination to create mood. The most astonishing range of interpretations is possible through the manipulation of light intensities, colours, textures, and patterns of light and dark. One actor actor or actress, posing without expression, may be given a dozen identities, a hundred personalities, a thousand shades of emotional meaning through evocative plays of light and shadow. One cannot exaggerate the importance of lighting in creating emotional qualities..."

"...lighting ratio - the proportionate amount of light falling on the subject from the primary source as compared to the amount from the secondary source - affects the mood of the scene and interpretation of the subject."

"Tonality, the overall proportion of light to dark in a scene, is important in creating mood and atmosphere and interpreting the subject to the viewer. Emotional connotations are created according to whether the scene is illuminated in low-key or high-key. Low -key means that more than half the image is area is devoted to darks and halftone values. Low-key tonality creates an aura of of ominous foreboding, of implied menace, of imagined fears of the night."
"High-key tonality means when more than half of the image is  committed to light and bright values. High-key tonality most often implies cheerfulness and gaiety."

Composition according to Vilmos Zsigmond:

"If a scene is poorly composed, the viewer's gaze may wander all over an establishing shot before it finds the director's intent."

"The arrangement of shapes ... is an attempt to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. Design ... has has certain elements in common with painting: the arrangement of lines, forms, values, textures, and colours for aesthetically pleasing effect."

"The thrust of a major shape or line brings the audience's attention to the subject in dramatic focus."

"Perspective lines and composition of subjects in depth send the gaze of the spectator  to the subject in dramatic focus."

All the above points made focus on filmmaking, nonetheless these observations I believe are  just as important for environment design in games or film.

Guest Lecturer

This week Fraser, a guest lecturer discussed the importance of colour and layout.


He stated that colours are used to complement each other whether it be in film, tv ads etc.
For instance Fraser explained that the iconic cover for the baked bean tin is a turquoise colour because it is the exact opposite colour in the spectrum to that of the colour of its contents, the beans an orange red. The designers apparently dedicated a lot of time into research so that they could get an attractive colour balance. This is so the product and the design of the packaging is aesthetically pleasing.

Usually colour is also used to create a specific mood. For instance in film or games harsh colours are used to evoke a sense of danger, tension or urgency. Whereas tranquility or a period of calm is portrayed with neutral soft colours. 

Even colours in nature and the animal kingdom are essential. The colour of a lion or tigers fur is purely for camouflage so that it can stalk its prey without being spotted. A male bird of paradise is vibrantly multicoloured so that it is easily seen by the female and visually pleasing purely for the act of mating. A European wasp is black and yellow simply to ward off predators as it serves as a warning sign. We have even adopted this black and yellow bar motif for our hazard tape to either corner an area of or warn people of hazardous edges and surfaces. 


Fraser also explained that layout is a combination of elements such as colour, lighting composition and design. He stated that colour is to establish mood. Lighting is very much the same however can be used to create a focal point so that the views eyes are drawn to the lightest area on screen. Usually this is where the character(s) are located. Composition is used to create depth and encourage the viewer to focus on the most important elements on screen.
Design is also important as it uses the environment to tell a story that relates to the associated character(s).

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Here are a few concepts from the Exodyssey Concept Art book I mentioned earlier, plus a painting by Edward Hopper (Nighthawks) which also inspired the concept of mine (see below).


Here are some concept designs from the Star Wars Concept books that I mentioned earlier and an image from the internet (top) that inspired the concept below in the previous post.

Initial Concept (Planet View)

In my excitement I digitally painted this image using Photoshop CS2 based upon my initial ideas. The interior is not a chop-shop by any means but the components I wish to include and explore are present in this piece.

I particularly like the lighting and composition in this piece. The reflections of the planet and the star on both the table in the foreground as well as the ceiling add both realism and depth to the design and the depth of the window enhances the silhouette of the woman. I also like the holographic gadgets which help to balance the image and illuminate areas of the interior environment.


I have come up with a story for my futuristic sci-fi chop-shop. This is purely for fun, however providing a story may help me come up with some new ideas and relate to my idea more strongly.

I had the idea that the chop-shop is run by a partnership between a man and a woman. They are what may be known as Space Pirates. They steal and buy all kinds of shuttle craft, so that they can clone, repair or create entirely new craft which are then sold to various clients. They usually however, specialise in dismantling shuttle craft for salable parts which are often worth more sold separately. Their chop-shop is on board an waste disposal frigate which is difficult to trace as it moves from planet to planet in deep space.

I was thinking that perhaps it could be a game of some kind. (Kinda like GTA in space, without the unnecessary violence and carnage).
As you can see below it is important to start with the Plan, Section and Elevation sketches to map out the blueprints of your interior layout.

From there I can begin to visualize the interior space in 3D by drawing an initial sketch. This is important so that you can begin to furnish your space. Next I shall create a polished concept complete with colour and lighting taken into consideration.

The next step is to create the space/ interior using a 3D programme such as Maya or Lightwave.

Planning Stages

Here are some examples of preliminary design stages which I found on the web. I too shall carry out for my own design.

Reference/ Research Material (Internet)

Some more interesting images.