Question What’s a good way of coming up with sci-fi concepts quickly? Tom Beeféte, France
If I quickly want to generate unique and interesting sci-fi designs I like to use a technique called photo-bashing. Essentially I make a collage of photos that I transform and paint on top of, to come up with shapes that I might not have thought up otherwise.
I start by blocking in the silhouette of the character, then I incorporate parts of photographs I’ve taken during field trips. I’ve found that sides of motorcycles in particular provide a near endless amount of shapes for sci-fi designs. Although virtually anything cool or techy-looking can be used as source material.
After I’ve laid out the sampled parts of photos and found a design that I’m happy with, I start to paint on top of the photos, further refining the design and lighting. Don’t be afraid to try weird designs on separate layers– it just might work! I often find that the best designs are happy accidents that I would never have come up with if I hadn’t experimented.
It’s still important to keep some sort of overall logic for the design, though. Keep it cohesive or else it runs the risk of looking goofy. Then again, who knows what kind of weird and extraordinary technologies will be invented in the future? So don’t lock yourself down too much.
For this design I imagine a futuristic maintenance worker. I introduce repeating elements to convey a techy look. This is an earlier stage
of the design that features cutouts taken
from a couple of motorbike photos, which I took while out