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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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Old August 18th, 2006, 09:08 PM
bryan gibson bryan gibson is offline
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My apologies if you have been asked this before, but could you briefly describe how you go about conceiving of, drawing and colouring your ships? They are beautiful.


thanmks Rav, I won't turn down the compliment! [img]smile.gif[/img]
Well, the trouble with questions like that is that intangibles are tough, but hgere goes.

Well, when it comes to conception, a few things come into play.

Form follows Function – the three “F”s. And, its pretty self-explanatory. What the ship ( or weapon, or item) is going to do reflects on its look. Also, issues of aliens come into play – hivers like doors that are short and squat (they don’t need tall ones) and don’t forget their manipulative digits – hands aren’t all the same, and it reflects in everything.

So, while this is all basic, it’s fundamental. The ideal spacecraft form in terms of efficiency is a ball/sphere, but….

The design should be visually pleasing or interesting- sure, NASA does it all bare bones, but I’m not NASA! The design must look believable yet cool, and while spheres make sense a universe full of flying basketballs is boring. This is where artist license comes into play.

Plus various aliens/polities have different looks- like the Trav OTU, or Praesidium, or star trek, or whatever, design philosophies differ, and are usually distinctive. This adds to the variety and interesting feel.

And, well…flip as it may sound, my process is - to be honest., I don’t think about it much - I just pull the images outta my head. Imagination, and all that.

As to the actually doing, or drawing of it – I generally draw by hand. My only concession is generally a straightedge, otherwise I freehand virtually all of my work. The line work is then watercolored – which most folks here haven’t seen, as the majority of my work is commissioned black and white.Since about 2003 I have been coloring more and more digitally, however.

I am something of a dinosaur in the digital age – I only started using Photoshop seriously about 18 months ago, and never got comfortable with it till recently. This is where I have colored most of my work in the last year or so, either there or, in the case of graphics I use Photoshop 7 or Illustrator 10. (not mad about CS)

Digitally, I am far from expert - Saarthuran seems to have mastered digital graphics to excellent effect, and Crow and others ( like Boulton, Mickizoid and otheres) have the whole three D rendering thing going, they are far better than I at digitals - so I just do it the old fashioned way.Its where I'm most comfortble.

So, that’s the short answer!
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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:14 PM
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Blue Ghost Blue Ghost is offline
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Originally posted by bryan gibson:
The design should be visually pleasing or interesting- sure, NASA does it all bare bones, but I’m not NASA! The design must look believable yet cool, and while spheres make sense a universe full of flying basketballs is boring. This is where artist license comes into play.
Years ago when I was in high school I used to sketch and draft vessels for various sci-fi venues, and always wondered about the criteria for such things. When I looked at NASA's stuff (as well the ESA, Russia and Japanese spacecraft) I always felt somewhat put out by the lack of expression in terms of form.

So I took a page out of the book of coolness and injected some asthetics into the functionality of the ships I drew. I never came up with anything as detailed and elegant as you've presented in this section of COTI, but the feel was the same.

I wouldn't worry about being a digital dinosaur. At one time I studied to be an architect (not that I really wanted to be one, because I didn't, but I needed a direction for a career) and took many drafting classes in high school and a few CAD classes in college. One CAD class I took had a lot of professional draftsmen (and draftswomen) in it. One was a foreman at either an architectural or engineering firm, and, according to him, it took a well trained draftsman just as long to create a drawing via CAD as it did by hand.

The advantage with CAD and things like photoshop is that you can store a version of a draft, and it's easy to edit. But in terms of creativity and productivity, from what I've heard from the experts, it's about the same. Though digital media is a little more desk friendly. Fewer eraser bits to clean up [img]smile.gif[/img]
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Old August 19th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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Thanks Bryan,

That's incredibly helpful. I'm trying to teach myself to draw. I learnt the hard way that all the technological wizardry is next to useless for creating images from scratch unless you can actually pick up a pencil and draw. At least for the types of images I want to achieve.

I'm going to have a go at putting together a starship a la Gibson. I've aleady used your picture of the merchant as colouring practice with photoshop from a tutorial I found online.


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