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Thread: Elephant Mech

  1. #1
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    Elephant Mech

    Working on these at the moment for the Biomachines contest (to be judged by Scott Robertson) . It's coming along for the most part but I thought I'd check in with the community to get some fresh eyes on these.

    The only idea I'm trying to convey is big/strong/powerful.

    It's based off on an older concept that I wanted to update for the contest.

    Here's the original:
    Name:  ID-Updates_elephant_01.jpg
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    I've got these 2 designs right now:

    Name:  robophant_advthumb_01.jpg
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  3. #2
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    Hm. I like the head on the top one and concept of the one-man elephant tank. I think the design of the body on the right is waaay too close to the famous AT-ATs from "the Empire Strikes Back."

    The lower ones don't really feel like elephants to me---they have a more insectoid feel, which I think might be a bit of a cliché in the world of mech design. But perhaps not. As always, just my two cents.

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  5. #3
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    Oh wow man, nicely done, i love how everything is broken down in shapes. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. #4
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    I think the question you have to ask yourself if "how much do I want these to be 'elephants'?" Your initial sketches (which I agree with Giacomo, look WAY too much like AT-AT's) are very obviously "elephant", having essentially copied the anatomy and bone structure of the animal into a mechanical approximation. Your second batch of sketches however are not recognizably any one animal, instead borrowing the "elephant" aspect from the trunk and implied tusks, while the limbs and body design remain vaguely reminiscent of the Megatherium (Giant Sloth) or, as Giacomo also pointed out, insects.

    For my own two cents I much prefer the boxy shapes of the one of the second batch to the sleekness of the second one (which I agree is somewhat overused IMO). Right now neither of the second batch are recognizably "elephant" but I think you've hit upon some good points. Hope this gives you something to think about!

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  9. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback guys! I should've mentioned that there was deliberate attempt to make it feel elephant and not necessarily look elephant. Judging by y'alls feedback I haven't quite nailed that part yet. Currently working on a 4th design so I'll definitely keep that in mind.

    Thanks again for the feedback!

    Here's the 3rd & 4th design I'm currently working on.

    Name:  robophant_advthumb_03.jpg
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  10. #6
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    I like #4 so far. It still has an elephant feel to me, even though it looks like it's paying attention to something and is ready to move quickly, like a predator waiting for the right moment to jump its prey. Or perhaps like it is ready for some serious play! I also like its back, it is more unified in shape than the other pieces, almost gives the impression of a beetle's back.

    Last edited by Aqualeot; February 23rd, 2013 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Added detail.
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  12. #7
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    Nice mechanical work, overall.

    If you want it to look strong, big and powerful, you have to make it FEEL strong, big and powerful. It has to have overall bulk that suggests that the machine is big. It has to have proportions that suggest that the machine is big. And it has to have proportional detail that suggest that the machine is big.

    The design you're settling upon doesn't look big. It has too many spikes and jutting angles, and its proportions are insect-like. Your love for detail is getting in the way, here.

    Try making something bulky, thick-set, hulking.

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    I agree with Dread and arenhaus.

    Your #2 sketch feels a lot like a Reaper from Mass Effect, which isn't a bad thing, but I don't think its the kind of power you are looking to convey.

    I mentioned this on Facebook too, but when I think of power and machinery, my mind goes to large earth movers. Take a look at bucket-wheel excavators for example ( see here ). These are massive machines designed for moving hundreds of tonnes of earth. The sheer scale of the device gives it power. Seeing it's function and the amount of destruction it can enhances it even more so. Truly mechanical juggernauts. To me, #4 is starting to approach this feeling.

    Adding a bit of scale, say some engineers or onlookers would help convey the immensity of the machine.

    Also, the pose you are currently using reminds me somewhat of a playful dog:
    Elephant Mech

    I think this comes largely from the way the feet are positioned. At any rate, it makes it feel more lithe than should be possible given the amount of bulk I imagine a mechanical elephant having.

    Running with what you have, you might also want to consider a perspective where the machine being viewed is simply perceived as being an elephant, rather than directly modeled after being one, sort of like seeing a faces in everyday objects:
    Elephant Mech

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  16. #9
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    Arenhaud & wildparadox - Great feedback guys! I totally agree with what you're saying. Thanks for adding the visual material to make your points, it really helps me a lot. There's so much win to be had on these forums!

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  17. #10
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    Hey man. I agree with the points about body language and scale. Think about the visual cues
    you can give about scale, such as the size of functional components and textural elements. A
    little atmospheric perspective even, if you want to get over the top.

    As far as 'feeling big and powerful ike an elephant but not necessarily looking like an elephant':
    whenever you are designing something inspired by something else (and when are you not? )
    they key is to break down the inspiration into artistic elements and determine what it is about
    that thing, its essence, that inspires.

    For example:

    color an textural elements: loose gray wrinkly skin

    functional compnents:
    - trunk (could be a manipulator tentacle)
    - ears (could be cooling vanes)
    - tusks (could be cannons or blades or drills of some kind).

    Then there are things like proportion and body language which really express the power, mass,
    and 'personality' of the thing. There is a reason why the AT-AT comes to mind from these designs,
    'a mech transport with a sense of mass and power like an elephant' is pretty much the exact design
    brief for the AT-AT and the designers who worked on that did a *really good job* the looked at
    footage of the gait and body language of elephants, they extracted the essentials of their proportion-
    ality and exaggerated them.

    Once you've deconstructed the inspiration, you then apply the artistic elements of the objective:
    in this case, the textural and functional language of a bio-mech construct, pistons, joints, cables...whatever.

    For what its worth I think the designs you have now do in fact suggest power and agression. I think
    the top one is more successful. They may not suggets the characteristics of an elephant but they do
    fit the brief. So I guess it depends on whether you want to spend a bunch of time on analysis and
    deconstruction and maybe have to start from scratch. Just my two cents. Sounds like a and awesome
    project tho: Scott Robertson is a big deal, cool beans.

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  19. #11
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    Bludhund - Stellar feedback (as usual ) Some great ideas you've given me! I might not be starting from scratch but I will be making some heavy modifications. Thanks again!

    Last edited by Mr.Pryminista; February 25th, 2013 at 12:47 PM.
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  20. #12
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    Some updates yo

    Making progress but not quite there yet.

    Name:  robophant_advthumb_05.jpg
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  22. #13
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    The latest versions move away from "machine" gestalt and verge into the "architecture" gestalt.

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