Thesis Proposal: Refinement & Visual Inspiration

Thesis Concept Proposal: Alien Garage

3D Modeling - Hard Surface Emphasis

Scene Description

Located in the dense futuristic urban environment of Newark, New Jersey, sits Phil & Xithu’s Auto Repair. A cylindrical building, a third of it contains the office and waiting area for customers. The other portion consists of the main repair bay, a semi-circular area with five shallow platforms for repair. Each platform extends out radially from the center and has a bay door from which the vehicles are brought in. In addition to being the primary support of the shallow dome roof, the central axis is also a hub for an assortment of robotic repair arms, each of them serving a separate purpose. The interior of the shop is lit from long, rectangular light panels embedded into the ceiling. The shop is tidy, but partially unorganized with some supplies haphazardly stacked in a corner and a number of tools scattered about their storage compartments. A computer interface sits next to each bay, allowing for the system syncing with the speeder being repaired. A small storage cabinet with it’s tambour door partially open, exposing a collection of radioactive fuel rods, the main source of power for the speeders. Other tanks of various chemicals line the walls of the shop.

In one of the bays sits a red DCX-42 air speeder, perched solidly on it’s landing skids. Aggressively styled, this particular is the futuristic embodiment of a muscle car, looking as though it could come alive and devour any vehicle in its path. Designed to fit two passengers in tandem, the speeder is built with both function and style in mind. Four integrated repulsors, the system that allows for hovering, jut out from the underside of the craft. The front grille doubles as an air intake for the main propulsion turbine. A style-conscious braking system allows for the air flaps to blend seamlessly with the rest of the speeder body. A single latch-less panel on the front of the vehicle is raised for the repairs, exposing the primary engine compartment.

Standing in front of the speeder, wiping the grease from his hands with a rag is Phil, proprietor of the repair shop. He looks curiously at the speeder’s engine compartment, his mustache wrinkled in slight confusion. His beer gut protrudes slightly underneath his grease covered jumpsuit. A tiny holographic projector and communication device sits perched over his right ear, ready to retrieve any information for his reference.

On the other side of the repair bay, posed in front of a computer terminal stands the cybernetic alien Xithu. His pitch black eyes with dark grey irises peer expressionless into the screen. His small, wrinkled, physical body too weak for any type of large scale physical tasks, he is constantly connected to an industrial exoskeleton through connections to his spinal column. He sits perched in the torso of the exoskeleton while four multi-purpose robotic arms extend from the sides. The bipedal design of the exoskeleton fits seamlessly with the rest of his anatomy, allowing him to work side by side next to Phil in his repairs.


The primary focus of the project will be on the development of refined hard-surface models and at least one organic model. My main hope for the project is to deliver one human model (Phil), a cybernetic alien that will be mostly robotic (Xithu), the interior of their repair shop with their equipment, and at least one speeder that is a futuristic projection of the common automobile. Because this speeder would be under repair, part of the interior compartments would need to be modeled as well. If time and scope allow, I would like to create a second speeder of a slightly different design, much like how a Honda automobile would differ from a Dodge.

It would be ideal to create basic textures for all of the models, but that might not be completely possible for all of the elements. I would like to produce high-resolution texture maps for at least one of the characters as well as the speeder.


My professional background is in the field of industrial design, and as such, I have a fascination with objects that people interact with. I have spent a great deal of my career producing 3D CAD models for manufacturing that would then be imported into a rendering program to produce a photo-realistic rendering of the product. I have also been pursuing 3D animation as a hobby ever since I was a teenager, which is what initially led me to the field of industrial design. After spending a few years after my graduation from college working in the industry, I realized that I had a hunger for designing outside the current confinement of current manufacturing processes. At length, I determined that my true creative interests lay within the entertainment industry.

As I have studied the background of the various science fiction films that inspire me the most, I am always surprised to discover that the concept designers have a background in industrial design. I have been intrigued by the work of such designers as Syd Mead, Herald Belkar, and Doug Chiang, and have been anxious to work in the same context of visual development as them. For me, science fiction vehicle and prop design have a unique opportunity to ground their ideas in current science fact. The opportunity lies in science fiction to take an existing product design, place it two hundred plus years in the future, and ask the question, “What if...?”

One of my desires in taking on this type of thesis project is to reach back into my industrial design roots to give the visuals a believable grounding in reality. By focusing on the main development of hard-surface models, I will be pursuing an area of design that I already have a passion for and will be able to draw on my previous professional experience.

Images collected from various sources on the internet.

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