Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Saratoga NX-3842, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Guartho

    Guartho Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A design is more than the sum of its parts and I think you both know that. The question is disingenuous because I'm sure you can find a modern example of any one specific thing that someone attempts to toss out.

    Lets take the satellite dish as an example. I'm sure that comes to mind for a lot of people when you say "dated things on the original Enterprise." It'd take you about 5 minutes to go outside and take a picture of a satellite dish and post it saying "This dish is no more than 5 years old."

    Big deal. It's all the little things like that taken together that make it obvious that the design is 60s era.






    That being said, I will now agree with you on at least one level. I am 25 years old and I think the original design can work on the big screen with little changes. Why? Because industrial design can be cyclical too. I have on my desk a shiny new (less than a year old anyway) Mac Pro. It is extremely well designed and it's basic exterior appearance was designed in 2004. But, had you seen it on the bridge of the Enterprise in 1967 it you probably wouldn't have noticed it (assuming it didn't have the big apple on the side which would have made you ask "Why is there a big apple on the side of that thing?")

    Here's the basic design circa 2004..
    [​IMG]

    It's very TOS in that it's clean, simple, and very "form-following-function (which isn't always Apple's design mantra)
     
  2. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Your point about design being cyclical is entirely valid.

    As an example, go to the local appliance store (or Best Buy or Search or Home Depot or whatever). Look at what all your new appliances look like.

    They're almost all brushed stainless or something in that vein, aren't they? That's the "artistic" style element that people are calling "modern" today.

    Now, go back and look at the style of appliances which were being sold in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. And what do you see? You see stuff which is almost INDISTINGUISHABLE from the current design styles!

    Of course, the underlying technology has changed, in some cases with minor tweaking and in some cases in fairly dramatic ways (glass-top radiant stoves, for instance... that's an actually innovation and a damned good one at that!). But the STYLE is simply... well... a matter of artistic taste, not functional design.

    I'm glad to see that this topic is finally getting some rational discussion... to those of you who've attempted to seriously answer (instead of what's always happened in the past... ie, just more unsupported "well if you don't' get it, you're part of the problem with Star Trek" stuff!).

    I don't necessarily agree with everything being said... as a major "form follows function" sort of guy, and a fan of the "modular" design which MJ had in his mind when he laid things out... I've never had any problem seeing a reasonable design looking at the TOS E. I've also never had any problem with any of the Probert work on the TMP E... though I've never particularly liked the engine nacelles we see there (a lot of detail, but most if it seeming to be there to "look cool" rather than to serve any rational function... tiered skin structure and so forth... FINS, for crying out loud... and so forth!).

    You're right, Dennis, about being able to tell which era different ships came from... but I'd argue that it's not so much a matter of being in line with the prevalent OTHER design philosophies of the time.

    If the design of the 1701 had been made with 1960s aviation ideals in place... it would have been bare metal in appearance and more "dart-like," or perhaps with a big "scoop" up-front. You can't draw any parallel with 1960s naval design... because naval design still looks almost identical today. However, there are STRONG influences of naval vessel design which are very evident in the 1701 design. You can't draw any parallel with space vessel design, either to contemporary real spacecraft or 1960's era space vessel concepts. The ship doesn't resemble either... which makes sense, since none of our current past or current spacecraft designs really have ANYTHING to do with the sort of ship Trek is trying to present... it's like comparing a log raft to the Q.E.2.

    Then, you can look at "popular" styles. This is most commonly reflected in automobile designs. Well, cars in the 1950s and 1960s tended to have lots of fins, bulges, and so forth which provided no function except to "look cool." (Sort of the like the 1701-refit's engines, really.) Today we've got a "retro" design chic which gives us some of that, again... but with a subtly different spin (Dennis' car example is a great example of that... two cars which are very similar on first glance but aren't quite identical). But the things that these cars share in common are the "non-functional fins and bulges" aspects... under the hood, they're very much different.

    For me... the idea of engine nacelles being generally cylindrical makes perfect sense. The idea of having them be mounted at a distance from the hull makes perfect sense. The idea of not having lots of nooks and crannies (aka "stress concentrators") in the exterior of each principle section makes perfect sense. The idea of having two separate hull sections makes perfect sense as well. And the logic behind having as little on the outside (read "in a hostile environment") of the ship as possible is, I think, unassailable.

    If I were going back and redesigning the 1701 with MJ back in the 1960s, the only real changes I'd have suggested would be to increase the design robustness of the separate section interconnections. That is... change the engine pylon and primary-secondary-dorsal elements.

    If I were doing that, I would NOT go with a TMP-style "aft-swept" engine pylon... which is really weaker than a similar-mass rectangular one like seen on the TOS ship! What I WOULD do is make the pylons about two and a half times longer, but with the same thickness,and keep the (structurally-most-practical) rectangular cross-section. They're essentially BEAMS, after all... the strongest beam is the shortest one, all other matters being equal. Put it in at an angle and you've got a longer... read WEAKER... beam! Make it wider in cross-section (ie, along the length of the vessel) and you dramatically increase the structure's strength with even a small increase.

    As for the primary-to-secondary "dorsal" interconnect... this is really a pretty bad design, honestly... if I were redoing that from scratch, I'd have TWO "dorsals"... going from the centerline of the secondary hull upwards, at angles, to intersect the saucer in two locations. That would result in any bending moments between the primary and secondary hulls resulting in only tension or compression in the dorsals, not in torsion at a narrow joint! (I also think that this would have given a design which would be every bit as reminiscent of "tall ship" sailing vessels, and would have had a nice parallel between the dorsals and the engine nacelle pylons.)

    That said... the design is the design. It is what it is, and it's so widely recognized, worldwide, that any change to the design will inevitably result in people not seeing it as the same ship. It might be a BETTER design, or it might be a worse design, but it's not the SAME design.

    See, nobody's claiming that the original design is perfect. We DO claim that it "looks great" (and that's a matter of taste... so nobody can say "you're wrong"... only "I disagree"). And nobody is claiming that other designs can't be made... only that you can't replace one design with another and expect people to accept it as the same thing. And nobody is saying that the design as it was originally presented on 1960s TV screens was perfect... some of the "superdetailed revisions" we've seen over the past few years have illustrated that nicely... same ship, same design, but much improved presentations.

    The one thing that I still don't accept is that the design has 1960's specific design elements. (You can argue that the interior sets do... that's a different conversation, though.)

    Simple shapes, to me, does not "date" the thing to the 1960s... quite the opposite, in fact. "Curvy, fin-ridden" shapes with blocks of contrasting colors say "1960s" to me.

    When I see the big, broad "graphics arts" panels on the 1701-E design... you know what it makes me think of? The big inset wood panels we used to see on the sides of station wagons! VERY 1960s! The simple shapes and coloration of the 1701 makes me think "modern" far more than that does.
     
  3. Eric Cheung

    Eric Cheung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    From what we've seen they seems to be maintained as design elements.
    Well, that seems like it look off, even if it's a more realistic design. I think that form can't completely follow function in the case of a ship representing the United Federation of Planets. It is after all supposed to represent the Federation and Earth. To that end it makes sense that it convey the aesthetic sensibilities of its citizens as well as its functional engineering expertise. There will always be a Tom Paris that wants to put fins on a Delta Flyer and a Tuvok that argues that it diminishes warp field efficiency by some fraction of a percent. It's just a matter of balancing those design economics.

    And another point I thought of that places the TOS ship at least some time in the past in terms of sci-fi design. The blinkies that don't seem to have much of a function. I liked what "In a Mirror Darkly, Part II" did with the computers by ret-conning them into sort of ENT's computers with TOS's color scheme.

    Also, in terms of design modernism generally reflects a movement that lasts from the industrial revolution to the 1950s and 60s (modernism in art has a starting point of a century earlier). After that it begins to fade as post-modernism takes over. Ironically post-modernism is a movement that focuses a lot more on form, in large part because of the technology available. Designers can afford to spend some more time spreading their wings, or pylons, creatively.
     
  4. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Probert did not design the TMP E's nacelles.
     
  5. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    I know... that's why I said I never had any problem with HIS work on the ship. The nacelles were done by someone else, with the intent not to make them look mechanical but instead to make them look "art deco." (which is an early-20th-century artistic style)
     
  6. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    I'm sorry, but what you propose here really makes me shudder.
    The design of the Enterprise may be impractical in places but at least it looks good on the screen.
     
  7. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    It was Matt Jefferies himself who redesigned the ship for Phase II.
     
  8. TeutonicNights

    TeutonicNights Commander Red Shirt

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    An Enterprise redesign beyond the level of TMP would be totally inacceptable imo. If you throw away what works, you show you don't respect the original.

    If a redesign on the bridge occurs, I'd rather have it more in the style of Aliens or BSG instead of them flying around in big cosy living rooms and everything like in TNG will make things worse.
     
  9. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Thanks for reminding us old-timers why the :rolleyes: was invented.

    :techman:
     
  10. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    What a load of ...
     
  11. Sheridan

    Sheridan Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I think actually the Enterprise(exterior and interior) looks less dated than it did 10 years ago since design trends have gone back to the look of the 60's. What we see today is an emphasis back on simplicity. We see this in technology(Apple for example), car design, etc. And simplicity was one of the things Jefferies had on mind when he designed the Enterprise. You can read about the design process in the book "The Star Trek Sketchbook". So, I could easily see the TOS Enterprise on the big screen. They're probably going to update a few things in the interior and exterior design but overall its probably going to have the same design style that TOS had.

    If you take a look at a design site such as http://www.yankodesign.com/ you'll see lots of concept designs for technology that would fit in perfectly in Star Trek TOS era.
     
  12. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    People who feel this way are going to scream blue bloody murder when they finally see the thing. :cool:
     
  13. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Obviously I'm not proposing changing the "old" design (though other people are).

    But what, specifically, about that "makes you shudder?" I'm not talking about altering the shapes of major elements, or the arrangment of those element relative to each other, or the "style" of the various elements. The ship would be almost indistinguishable from what we have now (far closer than, say, Gabe Koerners version was).

    I'm just talking about things which could be done to make it make more mechanical sense in the few less-functional-seeming areas of the design (ie, the "weak points" people keep bringing up... a VALID argument if there is one!)
     
  14. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    'Let them scream!' :D
     
  15. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    No... it was not. First off, there was no "Phase II" ever made... they had some sets partially built, did some costume tests, and so forth... but it never made it much further than, say, the Desanto/Singer BSG did.

    The "revised enterprise" did involve some input from Jefferies, but they didn't build his version. And LOTS of other folks had a hand in it. Mike Minor took Jefferies' sketch and did a series of (evolving) paintings (or, you might say, just a couple of paintings which got reworked frequently.. I treat 'em as different even if they were on the same canvas, though). Then the "Magicam" folks got involved... lot of other folks...

    THEN the whole series idea got scrapped... and they went back to the drawing board, taking bits and pieces from the evolved "Ph2" design but radically altering many others. Probert was the key guy in laying out the TMP Enterprise (with the exception of the nacelles which were done by the art director... presumably less as a matter of interest and more a matter of pay/credit).

    So, to say MJ "designed" the revised E is... spurious, at best. He just did the very first pass on it, that's all.
     
  16. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    We are talking about a 400 metres-long, FTL-capable starship from a SciFi-show...
    To be honest, I don't really care how functional or practical it looks as long as it looks good.

    What you would like to change (double connecting dorsal, wider (on the z-axis) pylons) would destroy all visual elegance the design has.
     
  17. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Waitaminute... am I missing something, or aren't you one of the guys who was saying that the ship is GOING to look different in this new movie, and that you welcome the change?

    I'm not saying I want to change the original at all... I see it as "established art" and as such I think it should be left alone. I only discussed what I'd have done differently AT THE TIME, had I been there in the mid-1960s working alongside MJ.

    And as for how any of that would "destroy the elegance" of the design... I don't agree in any way. SO... prove it. I'm not able to do the graphics stuff I'd need to right now, but later on, I might. But maybe you can do a quick markup of what you think I'm talking about and show us all how it would "look worse" while far more extensive changes were made for the TMP ship which you seem to like even MORE than you like the TOS ship (if memory serves).
     
  18. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    And yet, what they started to built for the new show looked remarkably like Jefferies proposed re-design.
     
  19. Eric Cheung

    Eric Cheung Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  20. ST-One

    ST-One Vice Admiral

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    I was.
    I do.
    Why the confusion?

    So, you do want to change 'established art'

    I'm not going to put any effort in the sheer butchering of the Enterprise you would like to have done.

    The changes made to the Enterprise for Phase II, and later TMP, made the design even more visually pleasing, more elegant - great work by great designers, who knew what they had to do to improve the design without destroying or disregarding it. They knew when they had to let form be form and to ignore function.
     

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