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Old June 16 2014, 12:02 AM   #21
Rear Admiral
Re: NASA artist Bob McCall's TMP paintings

There is a real art to interpretting and translating conceptualist's work to physical form; Mark Stetson is on record (regarding 2010) that he had to fill in on some of Mead's work for the Leonov, that it wasn't all as detailed as it needed to be (I've got a huge book of Mead's that has a whole section on 2010 and the stuff looks detailed as hell to me, but Stetson isn't likely to fib about such stuff. Pat McClung said something similar about the SULACO in ALIENS, where he performed a similar task.)

The thing with Berkey's is that if you actually build what is IMPLIED in his art, you will probably come out very nice indeed. You have these boat hull sweeps, but then there are impressions of detail, and by just building little bits you can get the idea across, BUT ... you have to cheat the lighting to make it work. It is kind of hard to explain, but in order to get the Berkey look on a physical object in space, you have to have the traditional heavy key light, but then you have to embellish with bits of light that illuminate underneath those hull curves in those detail areas, enhancing shadows cast by the little filligree bits. Basically, you have to customize lighting to make it look right, but to some degree miniature DPs have always had to do that (like all the dental mirrors to light up bits of the refit.)

That 2cents of advice is based on some half-assed experiments I did in the late 80s and early 90s with scratchbuilds that sought to mimic the Berkey look.

My dream scenario was getting Berkey onboard as conceptual designer for a film around a quarter-century back, essentially to do what McCall began on THE BLACK HOLE, but without the reversal of style that happened there when Ellenshaw came on. Sometimes the doubling back approach works (ALIEN seems to benefit from how Cobb's NOSTROMO art got twisted somehow into what we got), but the idea of a BerkeyVerse really seems like someplace I'd want to go play in with my own concepts. It's sort of like writing scenes while listening to Goldsmith or using Goldsmith to temptrack your cut, it isn't just illustrating what you want, but giving inspiration to embelliish as well.
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