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  1. #1
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    good resources for learning vehicle concept design?

    I'm trying to get better at designing concept vehicles--cars, mechs, spacecraft, that sort of thing. I know some basic general design principles (large, medium, small shapes; asymmetry; active vs passive areas), but I want to learn more. I'm looking for concentrated + organized sources of info from concept artists, like books, gumroads, video series, but my Google-fu is failing me.

    Stuff I know about already:
    - Scott Robertson's How to Draw / Render: already have these, they aren't design manuals, just info on construction / rendering.
    - Gnomon Workshop vehicle stuff: might be good, haven't tried yet
    - Some basic stuff at the bottom of John J Park's Gumroad: haven't tried yet
    - Lots of art books, but these are just galleries, don't usually teach design principles

    Anyone know of anything good? I'm thinking of looking outside concept art, at books on car design, industrial design, etc.


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    I think a few of the Feng Zhu Design videos touch on some things, but I can't remember specific ones.

    A lot of design-related books are a mix between history, philosophy and applied observation. Often explained through anecdotal examples of specific product development.
    There's a series called "Design Secrets: Products", two books that covers how designers approached creating things like the minicooper, modular educational furniture, or early touchscreen tech stuff.
    They were put out by the Industrial Design Society of America.
    http://www.idsa.org and https://www.core77.com also just a worthwhile places to peruse.

    The crux of design is problem solving: either adapting and improving existing stuff, or creating whole new content. Solutions where a user can readily intuit the function/purpose of something through its form.

    In the real world there are physical limitations, be it technology/manufacturing/materials.
    Market considerations. Historical,psychological and cultural associations.
    There's human factors/ergonomic/accessibility issues like: how a person uses it? Howthey interact with it? How they move through a space? Does this design require a person to have three hands to operate it?

    And while illustration/entertainment concept art is largely fanciful and intangible (barring practical effects), it still should adhere to answering some real world issues, as that helps ground an idea as believable and so people can grasp what it is.

    So using a recent IDW, medieval peasant comb and mirror as design thought example.

    Put yourself in the shoes of these peasants.
    Regardless of culture, medieval peasants are going to have limitations because of poverty. They'll have to be more resourceful with materials close to home.
    Almost uniquely crafted items, more than likely homemade or a traded good from other peasants.
    Mirrors could utilize water reflection and candles, or the backside of a pot, polished tin/lead surfaces.
    They probably won't have combs made from ivory or gold, definitely not plastic, probably not even iron, but maybe the comb is made from wood or bone, or a series of woven reeds (as they would adopt from making baskets). Shells, stone?
    Is the item disposable or would it be treated like an heirloom?
    Is it plain or could carve floral patterns or affix pine cones into it?
    Are there historical examples of what they actually used? (yes)

    For concept vehicle design: use real world examples to draw reference & inspiration, understand some of the mechanics and form, think of what it's supposed to do, where is it operating, who if at all is the user, and a helping of Rule-of-Cool (not over thinking things like fuel/ammo limitations).

    With airplanes, a commercial airliner is going to look different from a stealth jet, why? Because of the intended purposes. The airliner has to be large enough to accommodate a lot people, who get on/off in a specific way, are separated from cargo, has things (for now) like windows to allow light and avoid the psychological claustrophobia, can be custom coated any color, has multiple engines for additional power/safety, is rounder aerodynamics, meant for moving bulk over long distances efficiently.
    Where as the stealth is usually small but still have space for weapons, 1-2 pilots, angular and made of special materials to reduce/absorb/deflect radar, typically monochromatic, wings and engine are shaped for speed or particular maneuverability, the canopy may have to allow a wider field of vision, etc.

    You can look at historical iterations of ground vehicles and
    based on a bunch of visual cues figure out what era it's from, then draw on those to work into period-specific concepts.

    Mecha is aninteresting area that are still largely fictional, but often draw oninspiration from existing culture and technology.
    You have thingsGundam, which look like giant flying samurai armor in space.
    Series like Zoids were animal-inspired.
    Heavy Gear had mecha that thatborrow aesthetics from existing military tech liketanks/APCs/helicopters, were largely utilitarian/meant for large-scaleproduction warfare.
    Wild Wild West: big robot at the end has historical hints to steam-powered trains/construction equipment, not only is the big spider feels more technically feasible within the rest of the movie-verse physics, it also plays to the theme of the villain.

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  6. #4
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    I heard scot robertson mention this book once - https://www.amazon.com/H-Point-2nd-F...rds=car+design
    didn't try it though.
    Sketchbook
    Old sketchbook

    Previously Graypersona

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    Black Spot: I'm a huge nerd, but damn, I'm gonna need Cliff's Notes for that PDF on joints. And hah, I'd seen the PS4 + TV remote spaceship mashup that guy did earlier, but didn't see the rest of the series. Those are surprisingly good-looking. That dude's a kickass designer in general, dang.
    InfernoKing: good stuff, thanks for typing that out, I took some notes. Basically form follows function, consider the era / technology / resources available, and use ref if needed.
    ShinyGray: thanks dude, that looks good, I might buy it. I'm guessing Vaughan Ling read this kind of stuff in auto design school, before he dropped out.

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    Dont just limit yourself with man-made stuff also study nature like for example how animal joints works https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXk...-PyyktA/videos and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jKokxPRtck Do you have James gurney's imagined realism book there he talks about vehicles, http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...es-part-1.html http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/20...es-part-2.html also you could check out scott robertsons youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/scottro...ndesign/videos

  9. #7
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    You don't need to understand the physics of the joints, just that they are there and their various uses. Form usually follows function, so once you've decided what it's going to do, you can make it as fancy or plain as you want.

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