Posts Tagged With: concept art

The Tube Riders Sketchbook: Corridors, rooms and lighting for the research centre

My first task is to design the medical research centre that houses various spaces including corridors, a lift, a lab area and an underground arena. I’m starting with the reception area and its walkways, gantries and the corridors leading off. It needs to be clinical and well-kept but I’d like to give it a sense of theatre with some height and levels to create interest. I’m also looking at the idea of introducing some industrial elements inspired the station photos I took in London.  At the moment the colours are going to be whites, muted blues/greens and metallic shades.

Below is a selection of mood board visuals that I used as inspiration.

corridors and stairs1


Sketchbook visuals


Above: an adapted corridor introducing some industrial detailing.


Above: Looking at spaces and shapes of the reception area.


Above: Possible reception design showing desk area and some height and lighting.


Above: layout of ceiling with opening and gantry. This could also be mirrored on the floor as a detail.

Below: A selection of photos showing a scale 1:50 figure on what could be a floor plan or ceiling detail.

DSC00150 DSC00151 DSC00152



The production designer needs to think of not only the general space and how it will be used for filming but also about the detail and materials that it will be made from. It needs to be believable as well as working for the story. Although the book does not mention the dimensions of the space I thought it might be a good idea to play around with the size of the room, maybe to give the impression of height. The reception is situated deep below ground so to show the depth of the complex the character can be shown looking up towards the upper levels.  A shaft of light could originate from some of the upper levels, casting parts of the reception in shadow and soft light. I  also need to look at Post production in regards to creating spaces in science fiction–how much is built and how much is or could be CGI?

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Digital Painting: Painting over photos

Another way of producing concept ideas particularly when dealing with actual locations is to paint over photos. This will probably be useful for when visualising set dressing rather than set build. It allows visualisation of a mood, alterations of lighting and might be useful for the designer who wants to guide design at the post production phase. I see that I will use this technique for some of my location choices around London that are not going to feature in my main model/design.  Once I get the hang of digital painting it should be fairly straight forward to produce concepts.

Again, these are just rough images showing what can be done. I will spend a lot more time on my chosen locations when I have my photos next week.


photo work

photo work2

The bottom image is some digital painting with various filters to change sections of the buildings.

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Digital Painting: Playing with Photoshop

I recently bought a Wacom board so I could practice digital painting, combining software such as Sketch Up with Photoshop. My initial Sketch Up drawing was okay but a bit too clinical, so the idea was to try painting over the top of it and layering filters to see if I could come up with some thing that was half decent. This is my first attempt with the Wacom tablet.

From this…

rubbish street mask

To this…


The following two pictures are using sepia and blue filters.

wacom 4 cool

wacom 3 sepia

It’s sketchy and will take some more practice to get the precision of a pencil and brush, but theoretically concepts can be developed through combining Sketch Up, Photoshop and painting with the Wacom tablet and pen.

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The Novel to Film Project: The Tube Riders

I have chosen The Tube Riders (part 1) as my novel to film project for a variety of reasons. The obvious one is the genre. It’s set in future London in the year 2075 so it fits into the sci-fi category as well as having a strong dystopian thread to the narrative. I was also struck by the post-apocalyptic feel to the settings the first time I read it; some futuristic architectural elements are present but there are a lot of existing modern-day locations that are in  varying stages of decay or destruction with some areas of London being more well-kept. There are external locations that can be adapted from today’s London, a large underground complex that contains a lab, torture chambers, an arena and various floors and corridors that would be more than adequate for a model/concept designs and government buildings that provide further concept options. In addition to this there are abandoned tube stations, cars, rubbish filled streets and a general look of a war-torn, unkempt London. There is also an opportunity to work on some interesting character/costume concepts and with horror elements in regards to the “Huntsmen” hybrid creatures that feature all the way through the book.

tube riders

The overall visual aesthetic of the story is that of divisions of rich and poor, but predominantly poor and abandoned. There is a sci-fi genre crossover between dystopian, post apocalyptic, horror/gothic with the characters and locations but also in the way that the buildings are described in the text; empty shells, half-finished building work, particularly the bypass road depicted as “a severed arm” I immediately thought that this way of  describing the landscape could work well with all the buildings, adding a sense of  a gothic, almost Frankenstein look to the film design, which fits well with the cyborg/human/animal hybrid Huntsmen.

The next phase is to breakdown the chapters into potential settings/props/concepts and to list all the  designs/types of work that I will produce in order to explore the role of Production designer, initially for the pre-production stage and then possibly for later stages should it be necessary.

Synopsis from Amazon

“Beneath the dark streets of London they played a dangerous game with trains. Now it is their only chance for survival…
Britain in 2075 is a dangerous place. A man known only as the Governor rules the country with an iron hand, but within the towering perimeter walls of London Greater Urban Area anarchy spreads unchecked through the streets.

In the abandoned London Underground station of St. Cannerwells, a group of misfits calling themselves the Tube Riders seek to forget the chaos by playing a dangerous game with trains. Marta is their leader, a girl haunted by her brother’s disappearance. Of the others, Paul lives only to protect his little brother Owen, while Simon is trying to hold on to his relationship with Jess, daughter of a government official. Guarding them all is Switch, a man with a flickering eye and a faster knife, who cares only about preserving the legacy of the Tube Riders. Together, they are family.

Everything changes the day they are attacked by a rival gang. While escaping, they witness an event that could bring war down on Mega Britain. Suddenly they are fleeing for their lives, pursued not only by their rivals, but by the brutal Department of Civil Affairs, government killing machines known as Huntsmen, and finally by the inhuman Governor himself.”

Further information about author Chris Ward is available at:-


visual and synopsis

WARD,C., 2012. The Tube Riders Trilogy (#1) . (Kindle Version)

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Future Landscapes: Photoshop development

I want to develop my Photoshop skills  further as it’s a useful tool for the Production Designer when producing concept art. I am trained in the more traditional approaches to design such as hand drawn concepts/costume etc. and on Carcass I had a go at drawing concepts and altering them in Photoshop. This time  I have developed images that are made up entirely of photographs. Here is one of my attempts with a few variations on colour, showing some of the stages of adaption.

The sky, moon/planet and city were all different photographs pieced together to create a composite image.

moon background

A cloud scene that is altered in Photoshop using hues/saturation and gradients. Below, the moon is added in stage 2.

moon background 3

Below:- Colour variation. I like to save variations just in case they come in useful for another scene at a later stage.

moon background 2


The addition of the cityscape. Original photo above.

apoc city 1

…and colour variations below.

apoc banner 3

apoc banner 4

moon background weird

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Final stages of Carcass: Set concepts

lucys flat concept 2a

An idea for Lucy’s flat that shows the sleeping area, seating area, skylight lighting source and possible colour for walls. This concept was a work in progress and would benefit from some more detail, however, the process did give me some experience of concept art. I would like to try producing concepts on the computer in the future, maybe using sketch up/Photoshop/ Vector or a combination of these in addition to hand-drawn visuals.

model 2 platform

Rough white card model of Lucy’s flat (external) showing the platform and tank. Tanks are used for underwater filming but can also be used when height is needed to allow levels within the set or for cameras to film from beneath.

model 4 view through glass window area

Interior of Lucy’s flat showing some light sources and potential camera angles.

model 3 angle with lighting

Another shot showing the possible light sources from the exterior and a high camera angle with a ceiling removed.

The photo below shows one of the ceilings that would be removed for filming or lighting.

model 1 roof off

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Machine concept variations for Carcass

The original drawing of a concept, showing a view through the machine in Carcass. Below that are some colour versions. I may add some more colour to show the rivers of red described in the script later this week.

mach concept cont

mach concept cont spot blue2

mach concept cont spot red

mach concept cont spot redder

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Carcass: From photo to concept

Various stages of a concept adaption for the Carcass dream sequence  in which Lucy dreams of a box that opens and reveals the universe inside. The photos are of  a Scottish road and sky taken at different locations, then merged together and adapted in Photoshop. The final stage is the addition of the drawn/digitally enhanced box so that it appears to hover above the road.

highlands 1 141

sky 13

concept 1

concept 3

concept 4 box version

Textured boxes for above concept.

textured box for carc

text box 3

textured box 1

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