Saturday, June 09, 2012

Prometheus Concept Art II

It has been over 2 years since I worked on this film, which has now been released. My focus was the human technology,  primarily the spaceship - called the "Magellan" at that time.

Here are some early 2D sketches done in order to discover the design of the "Magellan" aka the "Prometheus". I did a number of these "speed paintings" to explore the shape this craft might have.

The sketches were reviewed by director Ridley Scott and production designer Arthur Max, and we began to zero in on the general feel of the ship - as seen in the sketch below.

I made a number of very quick 3D studies to try and capture the look in the approved painting. The focus was on quick iteration of pure design, as opposed to a lot of illustrative polish. It was at this stage that the variable geometry VTOL engines were introduced.

Below is the final "first draft version" of the "Magellan" - aka the "Prometheus". The concept was developed in 3D to work out the articulation, and to facilitate views from different angles so the ship could be incorporated into key illustrations rendered by Steven Messing and David Levy.

Due to the severe time constraints, the 3D asset was handed off to the other artists as soon as it was deemed suitable to address the immediate needs of producing illustrations for the studio pitch.

But... I really wanted to do some nicer renders of the ship! Later on, once we were past the crunch, I threw some quick textures onto the geometry and put in a sky background to provide some context.

The first pass at the "Prometheus" was envisioned as a significantly larger vessel than the final, and the central hull was a bit longer in proportion, a bit more streamlined. These differences are evident when the ship is viewed from above and from the rear.

The very talented Ben Procter produced all the final iterations and details of the ship you see on-screen - at a later stage in the production cycle. And he did a fantastic job!

The artists at MPC also did a tremendous job of turning concept into final on-screen images that are truly breathtaking. They did all the shots of the spaceship and many of the environments - and really brought the world to life.

I would also like to mention Ron Cobb, who designed the "Nostromo" for the original "Alien" film. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ron on several projects ("Leviathan", "The Abyss", "Total Recall") and he was a de facto mentor to me. Though Ron did not work on "Prometheus", his amazing work for "Alien" and other projects was inspirational to much of the design work done for the film - certainly the human technology.

The "Prometheus" might hold the world record for "spaceship with the most landing feet". There are 16 individual landing gear units, and each is comprised of dozens of moving parts... :)

Thanks for looking!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Prometheus Concept Art I

I worked on this film over 2 years ago, but now that it's out and the dust is settling I can post a few of those images from the early development of the project.

These views show Weyland's headquarters on Mars. As with much of the concept work, this image was created entirely in 3D - and it is seen as a background in a briefing aboard the ship.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Curious Sighting...

I have always liked the idea of finding a mysterious photo tucked in the back of an old family photo album...

Something like this, perhaps...

The large orbiting rings are a 3D render done in Modo...

Here are the same structures in a more straightforward composition...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


A large spacecraft descends through a dense toxic atmosphere...

3D render done in Modo, with additional painting with Photoshop.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Ralph McQuarrie (June 13, 1929 – March 3, 2012)

Thank you Ralph McQuarrie - for everything.
Your vision made the world a brighter place. 

 Seeing Ralph's painting of the Sandcrawler printed in a magazine changed the course of my life, and set me on my path.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Visible Structures...

At some future time, we may advance to the point where the signs of human civilization are visible even from a very great distance...

This is a 3D render produced in Modo. A high contrast black & white texture was used for micro-polygonal displacement of a simple sphere, which produced true 3D surface relief.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A fairly simple 3D scene... modeled and rendered in Lightwave 3D, adjusted in Photoshop.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Passing the Structure

Photoshop, using custom shapes...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Custom Shapes

Some experiments made with Photoshop's custom shapes tool... 

Ship Shape

Plateau City

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Final Frontier

Photoshop, using 2D and 3D elements...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Heavy Turbulence...

A 3D render that I modified a bit to work as a still image.
This is a frame from an animated scene...

Under the Rings

An illustration put together from 3D elements...

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A fusion powered interplanetary craft has anchored itself to a tiny moon orbiting a massive gas giant.

The ship will use the ice from the surface as fuel to continue its voyage.