Thesis Proposal: Refinement & Visual Inspiration II

After a nice discussion over the phone over with my professor, I realized that I couldn't really tie my last idea together, so instead I've decided to go a different route completely. I need to do something that brings me closer to the current industry and would attract the attention of industry recruiters. Here is what I have changed my direction to:

Brad Reynolds

3D Modeling Emphasis

Concept Refinement

The idea of doing a retro-science fiction designed set of models is intriguing to me. In order to strengthen the unity of the design aesthetic I am hoping to achieve, I would like to position my set of models around a science fiction story from the early part of the twentieth century. I need to do some more research into which particular story to choose, but that is the direction I am headed.

Another intriguing idea that might be interesting to pursue would be to take a successful modern science fiction story and retro-design it to the aesthetics of the 1930s-1960s. For example, if the story of Halo was visualized in the early half of the twentieth century, what would the final visuals be?


I would like to produce a series of models that are centered around an early twentieth century science fiction story, preferably one that hasn’t had too much visual development to accompany it. The models would be posed in a still scene with the final results being both turnarounds of the models and camera pans through the scene. The general description of the models I would like to produce is as follows:

  • A hero model of a human protagonist of the story, most likely dressed in either a retro-designed space suit or adventurer type costume, depending on the supporting story.
  • A non-human protagonist, either a creature or robot.
  • A retro designed spacecraft with detailed refinements in the design and texturing.
  • A supporting environment and props to to tie the scene together.
  • A matte-painting for the extended environment for the scene would require collaboration with another student, but would greatly add to the overall effect.
  • High resolution textures for the hero models


It is my goal to produce a set of models for my demo reel that will allow me to obtain a 3D modeling job in the film industry following graduation. I would like to gear my work towards the type of visual effects that would be done by companies such as ILM and Digital Domain: photorealistic effects that would be composited with live action.

Questions to address

  • What particular in the project should be emphasized on my end to gain the attention of industry recruiters?
  • Even though my interest is in hard-surface modeling, should the focus of the project be shifted to include a balance of organic and hard surface models to better market myself?
  • Because I will be moving to the bay area to work on this project, what collaborative opportunities will there be with other students to expand the scope and deliverables of the project?

Visual Influences:

A great deal of influence stems from Art Deco architecture and design
BioShock (The City of Rapture)
Star Wars Episodes I, II, & III (Coruscant Architecture)
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

The Rocketeer
Flash Gordon

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Star Wars Episodes I, II, & III (Naboo Spacecraft & General Grevious Starfighter)
Flash Gordon
Buck Rogers
Fritz Lang’s Metropolis
The Iron Giant

BioShock (Neon accents to stylized architecture)
Sky Captain (Film noir feel)
Sin City (lighting)
A.I. (City Scenes)

Literary Influences
Amazing Stories 1930s Serial Comics
Buck Rogers
Andre Norton
Frank Herbert
H.P. Lovecraft

Here are a selection of images from the web of visual influences I am looking at:

Vehicle/Robot Design

Costume Design


Architectural References

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