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Thread: IDW - Activity Discussion

  1. #14
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    Once again, I'll bring a topic here so we don't clutter the poll thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by grenogs View Post
    I have to be honest though, i never realy know what is being asked here in idw, an actual plan drawing, or an illustration, with scene,?
    Quote Originally Posted by Legato View Post
    basically if you want any chance you need an environment of some kind - and a mid tone of grey doesn't cut it ;_;
    In IDW, the design itself is the priority. Environments, characters, and creatures all can make great and welcome accents, but they shouldn't be the focus. After all, we have seperate weekly designs for those.

    For me it comes down to two things. First off, is my design truly complete? Have I placed as much attention as I can to it and rendered all the little details? If so, and I still have time to spare, then the next question is... Does the design really need an environment? The answer to that often lies with the nature of the object in question. Some things can use an environment more than others. Vehicles for instance thrive a lot more in an environment than say... cellphones. Then again, a cellphone might not need an environment but could possibly benefit from a character. And then there are some things where the design itself really needs no accents. Something like a new type of drill bit or wheel cog would look pretty silly in a fully rendered environment with a character cradling it in his or her palm.

    The other factor that plays a part is how strong the theme for the object in question is. If it's something that's meant to be used in multiple situations by multiple people, then rendering it in one given way might lock out some or all of its intended recipients. You have to ask who the object's target audience is... And there we start getting into the advertising mindset. Which in some small way is another one of our roles. The design called for an undead carriage, so you had your target audience pretty much set for you. Any sort of theme you gave to it would have to be undead. In contrast, let's take the sniper rifle. You had the object's intended use determined for you, but your target audience could be anybody. The sniper might be a clean-cut government agent, a stone-cold killer, a guerrilla freedom fighter, and hell why not, an undead zombie with one good eye still left. If you had rendered your rifle in an environment or with a character of one set style then you pretty much eliminated any other users from entering the viewer's mind. Which is a tactic that can be used on purpose if you're looking to brand something to a particular group or theme, but in most cases you'll want to leave it as open to interpretation as possible. Which I think it also one of the areas where Industrial Design and Concept Design part ways a little.

    In ID you generally want your product to reach as wide an audience as possible, unless a company has a specific audience they're looking to target (rare) or the design itself mainly appeals to a specific audience (more common). Because the broader the appeal, the bigger the profits. In concept work by contrast, you're usually given very specific parameters towards your design's intended user. If you're working on a magical sword that's meant to be used by the blood-quencher tribe of ogres, then you really don't need to worry about its appeal to elves, gnomes and humans. You can render that sucker in an ogre village, being used by ogres, with other ogres cheering or gasping in awe, and you'd be doing exactly what you should be. Your Art Director isn't going to come to you afterwards and scold you on that the writing on the blade might not be readable by non-ogre users and thus limit the blacksmith's customer base. Unless you have a really anal Director.

    So to tie this up, the focus is on the design first no matter what it might be, and if there's available time afterwards, you can sit and consider whether anything more would be appropriate or even detract from the design's appeal. The only possible exception to this would be if the brief specifically called for an environment or character, but in IDW they generally don't. Again, mainly because we have other sections for those areas of focus.
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  4. #15
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    Well, Form2function pretty much summed it all up Actually, I've always thought that the name of this activity is a bit misleading. Industrial Design is basicly designing products for (mass) production, and involves parameters which you wouldn't encounter in any game or movie for which you'd design the stuff we do in here. Also, to make things even more complicated, sometimes a design needs an environment or character because it's part of the design. Anyhow, the most important part to present is always the design itself. Environment or character shouldn't become the focus point of your image ever here in IDW.

    Nutkin: I vagually remember an e-book that you could unroll like a scroll from Philips I believe, which is based on the same idea Still, for one hour it's quite neat.
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  6. #16
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    hate to be the dissension in this discussion but time and time again, a good compositional render with environment win over pure industrial design. thats not all bad - its really pushing me into presentation, but i wonder if we are talking about two different kinds of industrial design

    there is of course the ID used to produce, and market real items, for instance the x4000 m battle wagon by undead industries where you would have a product page and the like, and than lonely concept art, used for the game industry, only seen by the 3d modelers and art director, which is only there to convey a working design that will eventually be seen, used or shot at by the main character.

    since its the latter form of concept art i am lusting over getting a job for its what i want these activities to focus me to a sharp edge on, but i still really don't know what will be expected of me - and ultimately need to get better at environments anyway

    in my opinion - in regards to the clock and time table - i have the fortune of getting massive amounts of time to do this project, i budget myself time-wise and only have a finite amount of time before i graduate and want to stock my portfolio with as much quality stuff as i can. personally i would really thrive with a deadline that is to the day with a +/- 2-3 hour deadline because for instance on this last topic i had basically 2 days where i was 'done' and really really wanted to keep the wheels spun up so i could hit the ground moving, instead i had to fill my time with other things, while not bad, was kinda irksome in regards to my desired order!
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    Legato: It is, indeed, the 2nd option we're talking about here. However, for a convincing and believable design one often needs knowledge of how things work and how things look, which is basicly part of the first. We are not designing products that actually need to be produced, which makes live a lot easier for concept artists

    Also, it is true a lot of people here vote for the image they like most, not design as such. I suppose this is natural, but you've got to remember that if your design is worked into a 3d model and used in a game or movie, it can't carry its background and stuff around through the process anyway. That is why I want to push you all to focus on the design first.

    As for the deadline, I understand it can be annoying now and again, but I've got a life too I'm not sure if the 'clock' idea would work, but I'm thinking of a way to make it more regular.
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  8. #18
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    Well, to begin with, I personally see ID as an extension of Concept Design. In concept work you take a piece up to a certain point and then let others worry about the details. In ID, you continue along the product's road all the way to production. They're not really seperate paths to me, one is just a stop along the other's road. At least when it comes to objects, which is what we're studying in IDW. Of course as Concept Designer has to study more than just objects, which is why we have other areas of focus here like environment, character, creature, etc.

    However, also keep in mind that presentation, composition, and aspects such as environment and/or characters are all seperate issues.

    Presentation has to do with the overall feel of, well.. your presentation. It includes your design, your composition/layout, your text, and everything else that comes with it. Could even include hand-outs that you give out to those you're presenting to. Composition, for me, mainly has to do with the spatial organization of the various elements included in your presentation as well as your design. It defines the focus, and leads the eye along the path you want it to follow. Aspects such as the visual hierarchy of various elements come heavily into play here. And then you have any settings that you integrate your design into, if at all. That's where the environment and so forth come into play.

    Traditionally in a presentation you have at least two pages, one that details the technical side of your product and another that's more "situational" and can include placing the product in an environment and so forth. Call it the money shot if you will. That's where you use your rendering cycles for the 3d models, pull out all the stops on your painting technique, and so forth.

    In IDW we only get one page to work with, and for me I usually try and combine both aspects into it as best as I can. A money shot alone will leave the viewers wondering how the hell it works or what that little shiny bit on the upper right side of the design is, etc. And a technical page alone will leave them lusting for more razzle dazzle.

    I think for our IDW entries, the order of priority should go something like design -> presentation -> environment/characters/creatures. You don't really need to create the Mona Lisa to have a powerful and effective presentation of your design. Even without a detailed render, if you organize the information you have and tie it all together well, you can create a more powerful end image than someone with just say a money shot.

    Want to see what I mean? Go check out my entry for the #50 maintenance droid round. I pulled that little guy completely out of my ass since I caught it on the last day. He was overly simplistic and lacked all that wonderful detail that all the other entries had. However, by creating a strong presentation for him (I feel) he was able to stand alongside all the other great entries at least without seeming out of place. He wasn't any great winner, nor did I expect him to, but try and picture how bad he'd look if it was just him on a page. The point is, presentation can make a huge impact on your work, both positive and negative. So for me it's more important that an idea is well presented than well decorated. But the most important part will always be the design itself.

    Now as far as what you should be working on towards your future as a concept designer... Pretty much all of it, really. And by that I mean everything, your industrial designs, your environment designs, your character and creature designs, your style and visual language, your composition and presentation, your skill in different software and design techniques... All of it. Concept designers are probably the only design profession that even more broad in the amount of subjects you need to tackle than industrial designers. In ID you need to run both sides of the brain at 100%, but in concept design you need to run the left at 100% and the right at 500%.

    So if you feel lacking in a particular area, then by all means try and integrate it into your IDW entries. Or try and focus on it entirely by taking on challenges in that specific area. Though I find it easier to break into a new territory when I combine it with something I already know and love. Sort of like adding sugar to the medicine.
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  10. #19
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    form2function: Again, usefull stuff. I think I need to refine my earlier words by saying that while the main focus of an IDW entry has to be on design, the presentation of it helps to sell it of course. However, I consider the optional environment, characters or creatures as a means to present the idea. There are simpler ways to present it, which prevents people from putting to much time in a full background painting and forgetting about their design.

    Also, I cannot totally agree when you say that Industrial Design is only an extension of Concept design. Their are similarities but also a lot of differences. For instance, in conceptart you don't have think about production processes at all, while with any Industrial Design it might be highly advisable to do so already in the first stages. There are more issues to deal with like that, and they all influence your design. Since you don't have to do this for concept art, you end up with different approaches I think.
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  11. #20
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    There are definitely differences. And I agree to an extent with you. However, to play devil's advocate, I would argue that there are also production issues to at the very least consider if not directly deal with. A concept artist might not need to worry about factory production, but a good one does keep in the back of their head the limitations of the medium that their concept will be carried into. In theory it's nice to think that we can let our imaginations run completely free without any regard to the production. But the designers that do that, at best, see large parts of their work utterly butchered when it reaches the hands of the 3D artists, costume designers, set designers, and so forth. Yes, it's a given that the concept will be distilled into workable application, but keeping some of that in mind while creating your design makes the difference between a smooth production that hits its deadlines and shines in its results and.. well, being cursed by everyone that has to translate your ideas after your create them.

    It also depends highly on what you're hired to create. There's a big difference on how repercussion-free you can be when designing the overall stylistic feel of a project and when you designing something like a particular piece of armor or a vehicle. If you're creating a style or visual language, practical reality is largely out the window and that's definitely an area where concept design differs greatly from industrial design. But when you're conceptualizing an object, that object will have to be produced in some fashion. It's not your job to know how to do it, but it is your job to keep in mind that someone else will have to do it. And that becomes even more crucial when you're working in the movie industry, as opposed to the game industry, where often your designs will have to be made into physical props and sets by standard manufacturing processes.

    So. Yes, I agree there's a big difference. And my analogy is fairly simplistic and not meant to account for the finer differences. But there are also similarities that often designers just coming into or thinking about coming into the business aren't prepared for and end up learning the hard way. I think it's good to consider that earlier than later.
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  13. #21
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    A very interesting discussion you got going there guys, i would say something but i'm obviously out of my depth here, myself coming from a totaly different art background. But thanks for this, i've probably learned more from this one discussion than the whole time(approx 5 months) of following IDW and looking at all the images here on a weekly basis. I dont know if thats a good thing or a bad thing, but anyway cheers guys, much apretiated.
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  14. #22
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    form2function: You actually managed to change my view on this subject slightly, so thanks for that. You know, I was wanting to put some of the things we mentioned here on the banner or somewhere, but seeing the amount of text we produced (especially you ) I think it's best if I just redirect anyone with questions about it to this thread.

    Grenogs: Any contribution is welcome, espcially since I (and I think form2function as well) am from an Industrial Design background, so hearing it from someone with a different background provides us with a different view. Also, while we discussed the what and why here, the how is still up to you and is best learned from examples and own experience.
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  15. #23
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    Yoitisi: Yeah, I'm a long-winded bastard, I know. I kinda like the intro you came up with though, it keeps things light. And it's hard to condense such a broad and complex topic into bullet points. Plus keeping it in the thread keeps the discussion going. And yes, I'm mainly coming into it from an ID background as well (if the name doesn't give it away), so my views are definitely skewed to that. Sort of.

    Grenogs (and everyone else): I'll second Yoitisi's request, jump right in. The more varied the views, the better. I don't think any of us currently active in this little section are uber-professional concept designers, so we're all sort of exploring our way into it. The good thing is we all appear to be learning.
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    yoitisi made mention of a couple of things in the thread for the bio-mechanical tattoo gun about boosting what goes on here at IDW, and here is my response to it (which I originally posted in that thread itself, my mistake!):

    "Although I haven't taken part in IDW too much lately, I do lurk around and see what's happening and do think it's getting better as far as the entries are concerned. I wonder if there is a simple way to glorify IDW though, because I'm pretty sure everyone does the COWs and CHOWs since they seem more exciting and attention-grabbing. A Spanish High Inquisitor is a pretty rockin' topic, but what would be be without somekind of crucifix or bible? I'm sort of straying from my idea...anyhow, I do think some links to related themes would really help, first thing that comes to mind is this site:
    http://www.drawthrough.com/
    and maybe even www.ryanchurch.com although he's got lots of enviromental stuff too.
    Getting even FURTHER off topic, there is a whole lot of stuff that never even touch since this forum is strictly for industiral design, but what if it was expanded to all forms of prop design?"

    Expanding more on that thought, the name itself would fit in a little closer to the other forums, POW! Plus, opening it up to completely different topics from week to week might really be interesting....a cluster of mushrooms one week and then a towering observation post the next week... so that's my two cents
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    Okay I'm just going to throw some things out there regarding getting more people to come to IDW. I dunno if any of these suggestions will be useful but take of it what you will I guess.

    Well, I think first there are some people who are just afraid when it comes to industrial or anything that involves a more technical side to drawing. Haha...I know I am but when it comes down to the designing bit it's quite a blast actually.

    I think the main bit is main just advertise IDW more. You can always take some of the recent pieces you thought were pretty exceptional and post them in the finished section just to show more people what we are up to if you can. I notice that Fozzybar, Oregano often or used to make it around to sketch books and people interested in making monsters or characters and leave comments and also sometimes mention the weekly activities to them. It's just a other way of bringing more awareness to the activity. I know it's a little bit of a chore but it might help. There are plenty of people here who I think would be interested in these activities, but just simply aren't too aware of it or bother checking it. Just bring more attention to it really.

    In terms of topics choosing, well industrial design can be pretty broad really. I think the main thing you have to ask yourself is why certain topics were more successful then others. Why did the tank topic have the most entries ever in IDW? One reason I think is it is something that a lot of us know. Who doesn't know a tank? Right? That and well...it blows stuff up. In terms of industrial design warfare is a big deal in that category. Theres just soooooo much you can take from there. I'm not saying make it all about weapons but maybe do some research on them more and maybe have a topic each month dealing with designing a weapon...possibly??? Wouldn't it be cool to re-design something like "Thor's Hammer". Er...okay...I'm rambling here, but maybe you might get what I'm saying past the gibberish. Back on topic of the tank, a other thing that helped that topic is really good reference material was posted as well. People were able to get a good idea of possibly approaching the topic. reference material always get the creative juices flowing more. I would encourage people to post reference material and if you could find something for each topic more it might get more people involved. Again, it's more chore work...but it might help. I know I could make it a point to post more stuff like that and anybody else involved in the activities. It probably wouldn't be too hard.

    The best thing is to keep the topic always fun and approachable. Observe a lot of work being put into movies and video games now of days too. Look at the work being done in games like Warcraft, Halo, Half-life, Soul Caliber, Starcraft, Gears of War. Were does industrial design fall into those? Think of the topics that could be used from them also.

    Ummm...anyway hope that helps. I said my peace and rambled alot
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  18. #26
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    ScaryPotato: About your first point, I suspect your right that COW and CHOW seem more exciting. Then again, what is a main battle tank less than a high inquisitor? The thing with the topics is, that prop design pretty much is IDW stuff. Any tips for a prop design we don't really handle here yet in your opinion, I'd like to hear them but post them in the suggestion thread so I won't forget them when looking for inspiration Not sure if changing the topic radically to the borders of what IDW is would really help though, as it has been done before and people started complaining it was too much EOW.

    Trashy: Thanks for the links first of all, I think I should have to find a way to do a little more with those links than just gather them in a thread. Need to spend some time figuring something out there I suppose Lately, I started getting more active on the Sketchbook forum (although not making such obvious advertisement for IDW), so I might be able to do some advertisement over there. Then, the warfare side of IDW is very cool and all and I know it is by far the most popular topic around here, but it is not all IDW is about. In my mind, doing too much military topics will probably attract more people but will also dampen the creative spirit around here as most people grab an idea that has already been thought of and make their own design of it. Nothing bad with that, but IDW is also about thinking of a real original solution for a problem. I do, by the way, try to think of examples in movies and games when I come up with topics. The problem with that is the same as with military themes, it doesn't always make people do the most original idea. I think the cutlery topic was a succes, while you probably wouldn't really see that in a game. Anyway, thanks for the input, it gave me some inspiration already.

    So, I got some suggestions of my own but I have to think them through a little bit more: First, would it help if I started a mentoring thread? Trashy mentioned that some people might be scared to do industrial stuff and technical drawings (and I suspect he's right in that aspect), and since I teach in daily life anyway I might be able to get some people to step over their fears It would also help to give IDW some more advertisement I guess. Second suggestion: more tutorials? I myself am not a big fan of those as they often teach the more advanced stuff first but forget the basics, but again it might help people when trying to do technical stuff.

    Anyway, keep the suggestions coming so we can make IDW big
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