Posts Tagged With: concepts

The Tube Riders: Plans and thinking about space design (Medical Research Centre)

The next phase of design now that I am building a sketchbook/mood board collection of visuals is to think about the space in relation to the text. I am concentrating on the sound stage build this month so all my work and research is focused on the reception area, stairways, the arena, lift as well as details for the walls and camera angles. I have started working out the dimensions and planning the space to accommodate cameras and movement. In addition to this I am building a gallery of potential details and materials that I can use for the floors, walls, piping, lighting etc.

One thing to consider  is the height of the sound stage as I want to create a sense of being in the bowels of the building deep underground. The space is a little over 10 metres high so to do this it would involve CGI above the main build area.  I will design this to look like a continuation of the main space of the reception and create a concept.

Below is the beginnings of the main reception area and corridor to the scale of 1:50

plan reception 1


Below is the arena area which will sit over and into the tank space. This is work in progress as I’m still working out how I want it to look.

arena plan

I’m also considering the wall designs and plan to  have panels with pipe details.

panel pipe detail 1

I’ve added some colour and lighting to the wall panels. I thought that if the panels were lit from inside they would cast a soft light out onto the floor. This will allow lighting to show some of the piping within the walls and reveal the inner workings of the building. First image is the basic colour and textured semi opaque panels, the second is a visual showing the lighting.

wall panel colour final



pipes and wall 1


Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, sketchbook and visual diary | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Project development: Pre production research

This week I’m working between the practical side of my project and the theoretical research that will back up and influence my design decisions. The main focuses are pre-production, sound stages, location dressing, concepts and the changing role of the production designer. My practical work involves designing the main sound stage build; so completing a model, technical drawings, concept visuals, researching materials and then looking at how CGI is used in the sound stage build. Along side the practical elements I’m also having 2 days work shadowing a production designer; one day on set watching the shooting process and one day observing set dressing. These observations will form part of the production designer case study 1.

Firstly I wanted to look at what exactly is meant by some of the processes of pre-production:-


A span of time in which the production designer conceptualizes the film or TV show researching and producing drawings/concepts, technical drawings for the build. This usually lasts between two and three months on average. It involves everything that needs to be done before filming starts including what parts of the design will be set builds? What will be a location dress? How it will be filmed? (BARNWELL, J. 2004) Also included in this stage is the storyboarding in which each shot is thought through, with ideas coming from the director, production designer and director of photography. More often than not the storyboard is drawn up by a storyboard artist, but on low-budget films the production designer will take on this role (LOBRUTTO, V. 2002).

To complete my project I need to look at these elements in more detail over the next month and how they relate to my own designs:-

Concept art/visuals

Sound stages and builds

Set dressing

Technical drawings/plans/models

Location scouting


How all these relate to production and post production ( CGI and effects in particular)



BARNWELL, J., 2004. Production Design: Architects of the screen. New York: Wallflower

LOBRUTTO, V., 2002. The Filmmakers Guide to Production design. New York: Allworth Press

Categories: MA Practical Project, MA project, The production designer and art department | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tube Riders Sketchbook: The reception and levels

I’m continuing with drawing out possible shapes and details for the reception area, incorporating details that I have sourced from my mood boards and getting a clearer idea of what the upper levels might look like.

ind mood

Above: Mood board that shows the architecture of the Lloyd’s building in London with some more industrial additions. These serve to inspire the main reception area and show how height, levels and piping could work in my designs.

Below: Some drawings to show positions of walk ways, pipes etc and some possible window detail. I’ve added a bit of colour on the bottom picture just to get an idea to work from for concepts.

reception int 2



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The Tube Riders Sketchbook: Huntsmen concepts

I have started working on some visuals for the Huntsmen and have had a play around with laying digital painting over a drawing. The following images show a progression from initial sketchbook through to a more detailed painting.

huntsmen1bhuntsmen 4a

huntsmen 4abheadab

head with words

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The Derelict Landscape: Nottingham Part 1

Nottingham is rich with industrial heritage and it’s not unusual to find an abandoned factory or two around the outskirts of the city centre. Derelict office blocks and what looks like an  old bus station are a little bit rarer. I will probably use these as inspiration for my future project and might even use some of the architectural shapes when constructing concepts for film. Abandoned buildings seem to take on an aura of the past and I’ve tried to capture some of the buildings’ history as well.

bus station 5

bus station 4

building 6

building 5

bus station 3

bus station 2

bus station 1

building 3

building 2

building 1

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Artists and the Apocalypse

Today I came across the Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005) who produced apocalyptic/hell like paintings reminiscent of film concepts. They are incredibly dark in their subject matter and I love how he uses simple colour schemes and organic textures to portray horror.


Grim Reaper


Night Creeper


Derelict House



I will be adding this artist to my scrapbook/visual research for future inspiration.

Reference source:- FOSTER, R., 2013. Visions Of Hell By A Murdered Polish Painter.London. [sourced on 21/12/2013]

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Carcass: After thoughts

The  purpose of the Carcass project was to give us a starting point, to put our current skills and knowledge to the test and to highlight what skills needed to be developed for the main project. For me it served as a practice run to get me back up to speed in working to deadlines and also to fill in any gaps in regards to how the industry might have changed technology wise. When I started out on my theatre design degree just over 15 years ago, the design approaches were different. We’d only just had the internet. Computer graphics were considerably more basic so we were taught more traditional design techniques ranging from white card models through to wood work skills. So it was a more hands on, practical course.

Computer applications have improved the process in the way of speed and professional presentation, particularly when it comes to designers who have limited drawing skills. It allows a way to present ideas quickly.

A few things that I’ve learnt:-

My old-school skills are still relevant. As a practical designer I tried to see the project as if it was a real situation. I tried to think through the ways a set could allow camera access, how the set could be broken up for the logistics of building and striking, possible lighting opportunities and considered the fact that this was to be a fairly low-budget build. My current skills allow me to visualise scenes with perspective and to adapt drawing to different situation like storyboards, props, etc.

However, there are problems that come with this approach. The main one is time. Applications allow for designs to be rendered quickly so more ideas can be explored, which would be beneficial in the future. They also look amazing when presented on Powerpoint. I’m quite keen to look at as many applications as possible. CAD and sketch up can be used at home. Vector is installed at university along with other programs. I might be able to install Maya and 3D Max at home too if I can get the right version for the Mac. I can also look to improving my Photoshop skills. These applications will give me opportunities to work with set, props, technical drawing and concepts. The plan now is to use these along with my other skills in the next phase of my project which is more practical in regards to production design.

Box concept space 3

The universe concept (work in progress). Photoshop drawing that was adapted. This image uses drawing and photography combined.

Another aspect to consider is that of time management. In my attempt to find interesting visuals and contexts for the sketchbook I started the concepts too late. This in turn limited my final output and didn’t allow enough time to explore CAD. I need to have a strict guide line for the final project/projects in general that gives me a cut off point for visual research, sourcing, sketchbook etc. to then allow enough time for idea exploration, computer skills experimentation and concept realisation. I think once I have some more experience of computer applications this will be less of a problem. At the same time, I don’t want to neglect the mind-map/scrapbook approach as it gave me some interesting design ideas, colours, shapes etc.

My conclusions are that the best approach may well involve a delicate balancing act of both computer and traditional skills. The next phase of the MA will allow me to test this in preparation for the final project/EXPO over the next few months.

machine concept 2 colour

Machine concept with drawn/painted imagery and computer colour/lighting adaption.

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Carcass:-Beginnings of a scenic design project

This last week we were given our first DFTE scenic design project in which we read the script Carcass by Julius Ayodeji, break it down, design sets and concepts etc. then present our designs to the rest of the group. It’s a fairly big project to do in 4 weeks but it’s probably realistic in terms of what is expected in the industry.

First stage:- Reading the script several times; first sweep was to get a gist of the story as a whole and to break down into scenes/sets-external/internal-night/day, second sweep was to get insight into the themes, feelings and mind-set of the characters which will help focus my visual/contextual research for the coming week ahead. This stage was also for jotting down the props/furniture and some key ideas that came to me as I read. This will need to be written out in a way that is expected by the industry so I will check out this week exactly how to present the information. But, for now it’s in a rough format–just enough to allow me to move to the next stage as quickly as possible

Second stage:- Main research stage in which I gather visual and contextual research and start applying it to the script; I have started collecting images from the internet on my Pinterest page plus internet links to refer to. I also ordered some books from the library on dystopia and gender for inspiration. At the moment I’m focusing on the themes/inspirations of metamorphosis, transformation, gender, futurism art, architecture and dystopia which will give me plenty to fill my sketch/scrap-book. I see this stage taking up a fair bit of this week which means that I will have 2 and half weeks to do the designs/concepts/storyboards and model–a tight schedule–but necessary. This is the all important point in which the ideas start to form and it will allow stage 3:-design/concepts to flow more smoothly. This week will also be when I look up all the stages of film design that I’m less familiar with, such as storyboarding, soundstages, concept ratios and I will brush up on my technical drawing knowledge.

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