Props, Vehicles and other movable Objects 101 (Designing for Entertainment Media – Games & Animation)

This session follows on from the Environments 101 and Production Design 101 sessions ran as part of Creative Futures.

APPROACHING PROP & OBJECT DESIGN AS A “PROPS BUYER” or in the case of invention, a “PRODUCT DESIGNER” (that’s “PRODUCT” not “PRODUCTION”; remember we discussed the difference.)

Quick definitions:

1 – “Props Buyers” are traditionally member of a film crew (assisting the Production Designer, Art Director and Set Dressers) that examine the script/plot/story needs and then generate a buying list of objects and props which will be needed in order to bring sets to life and reflect the use of that space by the characters, groups, organisations, and/or entities that we need to believe inhabit it.

2 – “Product Design” can be defined as the idea generation, concept development, testing and manufacturing or implementation of a physical object or product.

The role of the product designer combines art, science and technology to create tangible three-dimensional goods. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualize and analyze ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past. The term is sometimes confused with industrial design, which defines the field of a broader spectrum of design activities.

Product designers are equipped with the skills needed to bring products from conception to market.

Aesthetics is considered important in Product Design but designers also deal with important aspects including technology, ergonomics, usability, stress analysis and materials engineering.

As with most of the design fields the idea for the design of a product arises from a need and has a use.

Can anybody tell me what this is (below)?

--- a a Haptica

Haptica – and explanation of the product.

These objects need to be designed, and just like their designers you may have to develop new products from scratch that look like they have been designed to do the job you are suggesting they do…

--- Product Design 101

Above you can see a typical design sheet as might be produced by a product designer (this was taken from the excellent Core77 design magazine site)

I love product design imagery, the common style used by industrial designers is something we see filtering into the work of concept artists and art directors for Entertainment Media.

Like wise those sketches, concepts and other images produced by automotive designers.

For further inspiration you might wish to take a look online at existing product and industrial design sites like >THIS< one.

PROPS & MOVEABLE ITEMS AS RELATED TO YOUR CHOSEN ENVIRONMENT

Okay, in order to “populate” your environment you are currently designing make a list of the possible objects/movable items/props etc that would be likely to be found there.

If you haven’t already, you should take a look at the excellent Brainstorming Toolkit (Games Design) by David Perry (available in the New Media library).

For example, if your chosen environment were a cargo-hold within a large space-ship, the sort of objects and props you may find could include:

Spanners, Wrenches, Hammers, assorted tools etc.

Crates, Boxes (open and closed),

Weapons (in racks or lying about),

Protective wear, helmets, gloves etc.

--- 0 a Saftey Wear

Small transport and loading vehicles.

Cables, Generators, power sources etc. [1]

A medium sized spaceship!

--- 0 a More Sketch Doodles

Half built abandoned robots[1]

--- Burning the Midnight Oil

Assorted and abandoned spare parts or things under repair.

--- 0 Alex__s_Time_Machine x

Futuristic Communication & Scanning Devices (see below),

Etc.

So, back to YOUR project, thinking about the environment you have begun to develop, make a list, an exhaustive list; I expect no less than three dozen items on your list, yes, that’s no less that 36 individual items. For example blue socks, red socks, green socks count as item 1, a, b, and c, not as three items.

If you think 36 is too much, well, what if you where designing the lab of a mad scientist like >THIS<, or >THIS<, or >THIS<…

From your list try developing three items with the idea of producing a design sheet (see examples below) that can eventually add to your developing portfolio.

Perhaps one of your chosen props, could be something that can be used in conjunction with next weeks session on “Character Design”, i.e. something that your character might carry, pick up, wear temporarily or wield.

Below you can find several examples of prop and vehicle design, including an exemplary design sheets from the game “Fallout 3”.

--- a a Fallout 3 product design

Vehicle and prop/object designs from various artists.

The amazing Jake Parker and his Otteropolis project.

…and Andrew Kim (who we have looked at before) [1] [2]

Ian McQue – (Robots, Floating Ships etc.)

or…

Mark Forza [1]

Tim Shumm [1]

– and clearly there are other designers out there, you should take the time to do a bit of research, find someone who you like, whether for the products they design, or for the style in which they render, or some other element of their design process, then add a link to your blog so you can find them again –

Ever heard of Philipe Starke? Seymour Powell? Syd Mead? Ron Cobb?

You might want to do yourself a favour and check them out.

The mention of Syd Mead leads us nicely into the last part of the session.

Vehicles are a separate but related class of Objects and Props, they are again items that may be found in the environment, admittedly often larger than other objects and props, but still remain transient, in that they can be moved/made mobile by characters/players or even thrown by creatures.

Vehicles can include (the embedded photos where taken by myself btw – which to reiterate a point made in earlier sessions; if you see something interesting, snap it, it might not be there when you really need it later):

Skateboards

Segways[1] and unbelievably [2]

Bicycles [1]

Motor Scooters

--- Moped

Motorcycles

Cars

Production Design - Vehicle 002

Vans & other Vans

Trucks and Pick-Ups

0 - Production Design - Vehicles 001

Public Transport (this photo taken by my friend Coshipi, and on his Deviant Art gallery).

Tankers

…and Tankers

Trains… I love trains… [1] [2] [3] [4] and by no means least [5] & [6]

Aircraft

Bits of Aircraft

Boats

Boat

Flying Boats [1]

Flying_Ship_SketchesFlying Boats

Flying_Ship_Sketch___Grounded

…and Flying Ships

A_Floating_Township

Speed Boats

--- speed boat

Canoes

Rafts & other Floatation Devices

--- Rubber Ring Shop

Military Vehiclesinc Tanks, Helicopter Gunships and Jet Fighters etc.

Movable Farming Equipment

Harvester Robot Scene 001

BETTY THE PIG xxwip

..and other Large-Scale Industrial Vehicles. [1] & [2]

All of the above can be imagined being loaded, unloaded, in a state of manufacture, disrepair, abandonned, destroyed or used as something other than its original intent.

While below is a great example of contemporary vehicle concept work… note how few lines there are on the initial sketch.

--- Automotive designFor more entertainment media related discussion and examples of vehicle design (amongst other things) you can’t go far wrong looking at the work of Scott Robinson.

Props & Objects Mini-Brief Revisited in summary:

…thinking about the environment you have begun to develop in the previous sessions (Creative Futures Wednesday), make a list, of no less than three dozen items that could appear in your environment.

From your wider list try developing three items with the idea of producing a set of design sheets that can eventually add to your developing portfolio.

Perhaps one of your chosen props, could be something that can be used in conjunction with next weeks session, i.e. “Character Design”, and something that your character might carry, pick up, wear temporarily or wield.

Perhaps another could be a vehicle (though the 2 seater fighter from the SketchUp sessions could fulfil this – ONLY if appropriate).

You are to submit all design development, lists and final design sheets or imagery as part of your hand in, this can be submitted via your blog as always.

While those of you who are looking at Concept Art as a career path may want, in addition to this brief, want to take a look at >THIS< brief.


If you are having a tough time identifying objects and props for your list try this exercise…

Imagine if I asked you close your eyes and to picture walking into a room you were familiar with, your living room or bedroom for example. Could you, from memory, identify a list of props and objects that are spread around the room? Give it a go. I’m sure you could identify a number of unique pieces that your classmates would not list as well as the usual.

Now, what if I was to ask you to try the same exercise but this time imagining walking it the environment you have designed. Take some time to “look” around your concept and “see” what objects and props have been left there by the characters who inhabit that space.

Good Luck.

~ by hesir on November 27, 2013.

3 Responses to “Props, Vehicles and other movable Objects 101 (Designing for Entertainment Media – Games & Animation)”

  1. […] Props, Vehicles and other movable Objects 101 (Designing for Entertainment Media – Games &… (apopheniainc.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Product designers are equipped with the skills needed to bring products from conception to market.” -Gareths Sleightholme- apophenia inc wordpress. […]

  3. […] hat of “PRODUCT DESIGNER” and/or “PROPS BUYER“, and we discussed trying to design objects, props and even vehicles as if we where considering their actual function and “reality” in order to lend […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: