Bladerunner street prop WIP

B_P_L
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Hi there, I'm a very infrequent poster here as you can see, so please excuse me if I'm breaking any forum etiquette here.
I'm working on a small environment project that's very heavily inspired by the street scenes in both Bladerunner movies.

Right now I'm trying to come up with my own take on one of the more prominent street props we see in 1982 Bladerunner;
It doesn't exactly do it justice to refer to it as just a 'streetlight' when in reality it's an ugly kludge of fluorescent lamps, CRT displays, surveillance hardware and other assorted greebles, all of which is anchored to the pavement by a great big concrete block, painted in black and yellow hazard stripes.
Here's a take by Josh Van Zuylen - check out his 'CyberRunner' project on ArtStation if you've not seen it - it's incredible.


So... I'm trying to piece together my version of this prop which very obviously refers to the original but doesn't copy too heavily from it - but I'm having trouble. Here's where I'm at:
Obviously some parts have been advanced further than others. The boxes are placeholders for some sort of video display, which have been kludged alongside a sort of multi-lens surveillance camera. At the top of the central column there's a suggestion of some sort of comms module with various antennae etc. I want also to imply that the arms supporting these devices are motorized, or at least posable somehow.

The base is intended to look as though it's had part of it's casing removed.

Detail of central column and camera device.

Marmoset preview of camera (not unwrapped or textured, obviously). 

My problem with it so far is that it doesn't feel threatening or sturdy enough - it looks kind of fragile, and I'm struggling to find way of improving that, and I'm also unsure of how to include the lighting elements into the overall design. For the displays - I don't know whether to keep them as old-style boxy CRT displays, or more modern flat-panels.

So, I'm really posting this to get any and all feedback that you may have. Absolutely nothing on this is settled; I'm open to changing literally anything about it because right now it's not working for me. It's going to be quite a prominent prop in the scene so I need to get it right. 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Cheers,
B.

Replies

  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 4
    I think all elements of your design feel kind of whimsical, since they all incorporate lots of asymmetry. With the angles and size variation, your whole camera pole structure feels almost organic, like a stylized tree in a game like Fortnite. The original reference feels more symmetrical and foreboding because of its symmetry and order. I think the take you posted, while not symmetrical, feels "blockier" and sturdier enough that it avoids any whimsical connotation.
  • B_P_L
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    B_P_L triangle



    Hi - very late reply - but sincerely thank you. Carbiner; 'Whimsical' is exactly the right word. I was going to use the word 'annoying' in my initial post - but yeah, you're absolutely right. 
    I've rolled back a little and decided to build up to this particular prop. Starting on something smaller, an amalgam of several different Syd Mead drawings for BR. 
    Everything done except for paintjob. Video screen will be displaying.... something. Not sure yet. Also not sure where to take the large vertical lamp object in the middle; solid light colour? illuminated graphics? LED array? Suggestions welcome.

    Feedback very much invited. Thanks in advance.
  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 4
    Hey again @B_P_L - I like the direction this is going. What's the scale like on this prop? One thing I was thinking is, it seems like the pipes/cables holding up the top parts feel a bit flimsy to support all that weight (especially cause computer stuff is heavy!). Maybe add some more supporting base type pieces right below the top parts?
  • B_P_L
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    B_P_L triangle
    Hi there @Carabiner - thanks again for commenting.
    Carabiner said:
     What's the scale like on this prop?
    Here it is again with Toolbag scale ref:

    Here's the drawing it's based on for context - it's supposed to be some sort of public access data terminal around the same size as a parking meter.

    I did spend a good time accurately modelling in the 'Hal' inspired spherical detail at the top but it looked - to borrow your term again - overly whimsical, and made the silhouette just awkward. This brings me onto the trouble I'm having modelling these Syd Mead style props; they have a mix of hard, crisp edges which are contrasted with curved, blobby forms, which always seems to result in these slightly awkward, dorky looking silhouettes. But then when you remove the curved elements - they stop looking like Syd Mead concepts!

    Carabiner said:
    ... One thing I was thinking is, it seems like the pipes/cables holding up the top parts feel a bit flimsy to support all that weight (especially cause computer stuff is heavy!)
    I get why you'd see it like that now - the way those supporting parts read is something that I think will be resolved in texturing - when it's communicated that the vertical pole in the centre is actually rusted/painted/scratched steel with welding beads, it should be clear that it's pretty sturdy. There's also some details in the baked normals that should suggest it's all quite solidly held together:
     
    Working on other props now and finding this project to be way more challenging than I'd anticipated - striking not just a 'sci-fi / cyberpunk' look but a specifically Bladerunner look is a really delicate balancing act so, again - I'm very grateful for any tips/advice/feedback you may have.

    Regards,
    B.
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