Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost in Space – Details

I received a compliment on the details in my work, so I thought that I’d share a few of them today.  This is a close-up of the automatic pilot instrument from the “Lost in Space” spaceship.  I actually have no idea of what was really “under the hood” of this instrument.  My research had found no drawings of this area.  I have only had photos to work from.  Unfortunately, there are few good photos to really help with an understanding of this instrument.

For most designers the best way to work out the details is to have some knowledge of how things work.  The automatic pilot had two moving parts.  First, the spaceship miniature in the center rotated like a top.  In order to do this the spaceship needed a rod that would extend down to a belt, connected to a vertically mounted motor.

Second, the top assembly, along with the spinning spaceship, could rock.  That means that the entire top assembly, including the spaceship, its rod and motor, all need to be connected to the top plate.  An armature needs to be capable of supporting the top plate and the rocking motion.  Then a horizontally mounted motor, with a cam and lever action, can cause the top plate to rock.

Lights are present on the top plate and each will need a socket and wire. 

Finally, the interior didn’t look busy enough (I’m sure that William Creber, the art director, had the same problem with the finished unit).  So I’ve added a number of random cylinders.  Bill Ryan, the electronics prop man for “Lost in Space,” had tons of surplus gadgets and wires to put in here.  In SketchUp, I’m still building an inventory of various parts and pieces; but it may not have mattered even if I’d had exact drawings of what was inside.

The most important decision that an artist makes on any work is to know when to stop.  How much detail is enough?  How much detail is too much?  For SketchUp drawings I look at the size of the file.  I try to keep my file size down to a minimum so that the drawings remain easy to work with.  I carefully consider what my likely point-of-views are for my illustrations.  Then I add detail only where I know I’ll be seeing it.

The level of detail in the automatic pilot instrument was based on the fact that it would not be examined this closely.  Still, it holds up well.

I won’t be adding anymore “Lost in Space” illustrations to the Blog for a while.  I’m supposed to be working on a “Lost in Space” book right now.  I’ll need to save my illustrations for that use.

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