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Interview l Scott Robertson

Artist Scott Robertson Website www.drawthrough.com Blog www.drawthrough.blogspot.com Company www.designstudiopress.com Location USA Expertise Concept design Software modo, Photoshop, SketchUp, Alchemy Client list BMW subsidiary DesignworksUSA, Bell Sports, Giro, Raleigh, Mattel, Spin Master Toys, Patagonia, Minority Report feature film, Nike, RockShox, OVO, Rockstar Games, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Buena Vista Games, THQ and Fiat to name just a few

Faster, better, stronger l


Born into the art scene in California, Scott Robertson was destined to become an incredible designer. Lynette Clee discovers how 3D software has helped step his vehicle concepts up a gear

This monster may not have high-tech hubless wheels, but it more than makes up for it with a significant barrierbashing bumper design of its own © Scott Robertson, Annis Naeem

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3DArtist l 29

ie mov a out development books with ! ents stud of k wor the ure Some even feat not ‘art of’ ’re they els. along with self-authored titles Lift Off and Start Your Engines in the same year featu ring professional and personal sketches. conc ept designs and colour renderings of everything from airships to hovercrafts.designstudiopress.Interview l Scott Robertson Faster. California. I wanted to try and rekindle the fun of doing personal work that I used to experience with my friends durin g design school.” Daniel says. Though his fathe r’s path was one in illustration. off-r oaders. which will feature sketches and renderings of a wide variety of robots. stronger l These wheels are of the new ‘B-class hubless’ style. nudging it visually even further beyond our own time and space © Scott Robertson. “He’s always trying something fresh and being so successful at it. Scott’s 20-plus year caree r took off. president of Desi gn Studio Press and director of Entertainmen t Design at the Art Center College of Desi gn in Pasadena. is my long-put-off and overdue educational book sharing the drawing. I believe. why not duplicate it and go racing? © Scott Robertson. So. as Scott expla ins. 3DArtist l 31 30 l 3DArtist . better. Rockstar Games and Sony Online Entertainment. The results of this playful software usage are amazing. Daniel Gardner C After moving the sketch into Photoshop. “By knowing what has been done befo re I can DRIVE Daniel Simon. sleek futuristic moon rovers. vehicle designer for TRON: Legacy and author of Cosmic Motors tells 3D Artist why Scott Robertson’s DRIVE is well worth the investment Where to buy: www. Scott. either.” After a few hours of modelling and rendering in modo. “It was at his funeral when I saw how man y of his fellow artist friends showed up that I took stock of D A lack of fundamental design knowledge. “One is a collection of spaceship sketches and rend erings done with Annis Naeem and Danny Gard ner who helped me wrap up the content for DRIV E. Scott Robertson has a fascinating career story which starts with the influence of his late father. So I sought out the design of consume r products that needed a lot of the styling influences I enjoyed developing for cars during school. Annis Naeem The challe nge of inve ntion Keeping vehicle designs continuously fresh and stimulating isn’t always easy.” Scott says. Annis Naeem B Having made a usable 3D model of the ‘Power Slide’ in modo. is the core weakness of most 3D work online my own professional relationships since graduating from Art Center. To step up his game. “Regarding my next personal books I have three projects in the works. DRIVE ’s broad vehicle fleet includes trashy salvage racecars. lost mon elling any of our books will be major-s very is ter mat successes as our subject e had a hav ers buy re ksto specific and boo ks fit on boo our re whe ing sify clas e hard tim alvisu of their shelves. prin it ing gett ey mon e spend som ks boo of ttes what happens after those pale and ily fam r you land in your garage and y? This is friends have each bought a cop g a small bein of t par d har the where I feel most. “I found that I had become so busy with work that I had really lost touch with the great friends I had during scho ol.cosmic-motors. And. We publish a lot tie-in. We publishing company hits me the in that far so l wel have actually done very e have non and ted prin s title now we have 35 btful that dou is it ide flips the On ey. as well as an insight into the jobs that exist for creative people with the right design and visua l communication skills. but the reality of designing production cars didn’t quite provide the challenge he’d hoped for in the end. Daniel Park and Ben Mauro. Concept Design 2 followed in 2006 after a number of othe r successful releases. nov hic grap not They’re digital art so books and they feature mostly interested that seem none of the art buyers received a ays alw e hav we r. This showcase takes a look at some of Scott’s latest personal work while giving an insig ht into his impressive creative workflow. Now. of k boo a ther toge of work and put but ted. Scott’s passion for trans portation design steered him in another direction at the Art Center in 1987. Through his knowledge of design and drawing he was able to offer Scott the huge boost he needed. like with many of his books. motorcycles and monster vehicles from a whole range of genres. DRIVE is Scott’s latest personal project featuring a new array of fast cars. with clients going on to include Fiat.” Ope ning a design consultancy with Neville Page the day after graduation.” Scott says. rendering and design techniques which I have taught over the last 16 years. and futuristic and retrospec tive car designs. And he’s not stopping there.” Scott reveals. His previous book Alien Race taught us how to use a MacBook camera to create myriad new shapes and characters in minutes.com.” find books from our fans once they A C B A The scale of the vehicle is accentuated by having to walk between the front and rear wheels to get in © Scott Robertson.com “I want to be like Scott Robertson. Scott shows us with DRIVE how versatile the fuel-injected side of his brain is. wheel arches were dropped over the tops of the tyres © Scott Robertson esigner of over 20 years. The book I woul d most like to focus on. “After graduation I found that the idea of desig ning production cars seemed to be a bit too slow for me. though. all of us gearheads have a bad day without ideas once in a while. As a painter and student of the Art Center in the early Sixties. experimentally shaped beauty-coupes and much more. Scott entered the ever-growing 3D community within only two years and fearlessly rocks modo. Howeve quality of the ut abo k bac feed itive lot of pos them. and that’s the day you wish you had a copy of DRIVE to spark a thought. “Most artists can their work. as well as contributions to feature films such as Steven Spielberg ’s Minority Report. Another is a collaboration with John Park. thank you for this book!” See more of Daniel’s work at www. Inspired pub lish ing Speciality publisher Design Studio Press was born in 2001 as a direct response to Scott’s fathe r’s death. Annis Naeem painted over this openwheel sci-fi racer.” And that’s how Design Studio Press’ first title Concept Design came to be. Scott offers centre stage to young Art Center College of Design students to showcase their talents – in DRIVE it’s Annis Naeem and Daniel Gardner – and you can clearly recognise them all on the very cool book cover. recently declassified by the military and now finding the way to many of the privateer racing teams around the world © Scott Robertson Interview Life in publish ing build a body Scott explains. “One way I try to keep my design fresh is to look at work onlin e so as not to create something I’ve seen before. Scot t’s father clearly encouraged his son in the right direction.

The Military vehicles stay matte finish for the most part and are low in saturation compared to. A lack of fundamental design knowledge. “The real challenge is in the range of styles you need to be able to achieve – much like designing for any entertainment experience. On the 3D side I see a lot of beautiful models and nice renderings.” Scott tells us. their fabulous work attitude and ethic were both motivating and inspiring.Interview l Scott Robertson Strengthen your designs Having been watching others share their work online Scott has picked up on a trend that suggests foundational understanding of design will often let good concepts down Scott says. White. but I rarely see stunning designs or compelling scenarios being shown. I must be fast!” Although the vehicles designed in DRIVE have not yet been taken in game. the approach was to conc ept vehicles for the videogame space. It is this exercise of designing the opposites that I find both challenging and rewarding to pursue. “Look at me. Scott always thinks of colour second after value. I believe.” Value and colour are strong visual communicators in the design process. do not control this narrative and everything you design should help to enrich the experience. Annis Naeem Poly modelling is so ‘rubbery’ compared to NURBS modelling. often you are chall enged to create rivalling aesthetics so players can associate with different-looking factions. by setting the levels to lighten the values of the base rendering. the Pro Sports vehic les which are much brighter and louder.” With DRIVE. And collaborations with other artists keep him energised – working with Annis Naee m and Daniel Gardner on DRIVE. Daniel Gardner 3DArtist l 33 32 l 3DArtist . military. which is much more akin to the way I was formally trained D E [avoid] repeating our past while I try to invent my next creation. and erasing it to reveal the colours of the base rendering below The graphics and details are added on the very top layer – many of which are then erased away as well © Scott Robertson. preferring to see the form of a design first. designing for the game space is a lot of fun first Master your foundation skills so yo u will have the communication tools you need to convey your designs to others off. “I really like sharing my techniques with them and seeing the great work they create with the knowledge. “Of course. “Our brains perceive this through value chan ge and not colour change. All of the weathering of the vehicles is done after rendering in modo – none of it is done with texture maps or in the program itself After scratching away the paint. say. better. saying. black and gold metallised glass and a couple of blue or red accents help me to achieve the desir ed aesthetic for that chapter. aerospac e or aircraft museum to shoot reference for future projects helps with creative inspiration too. Scott hopes a few interested parti es in the movie business might trickle dow n into games one day. scratches can be added through the paint to the bare metal The dirt is added in Photoshop through compositing a ‘dirt’ rendering of the vehicle on top of the clean colour one.” Scott adds. Annis Naeem E These sketches explore the design of an off-road. Since you.” Faster. I’m red. stronger l F Interview D A hint of the vehicles’ massive scale can be derived from the size of the windows © Scott Robertson. open-wheel vehicle. adding to the aerospace aesthetic with sci-fi tyres. “The software will never save a bad idea. “After that I pick my colours based on the character or style of the vehicle I am trying to create. the content/ design is driven by the narrative. “Annis and Danny are two of my former stud ents from Art Center and I find it fun to collaborate on projects with my students if they are doing an internship for me. In desig ning content for a game. exploration-style lights and an exposed engine © Scott Robertson F After rendering the ExoPod. so I tend to set up all my lighting this way first.” Always carrying a cam era whenever he visits an industrial. When you design vehicles for a real-world brand you must pay attention to the heritage and all of your efforts go to the refineme nt of the brand aesthetic into the future. the Levels adjustment mask is duplicated and switched to a Color adjustment layer. which is the goal. In the case of the first chapter of DRIVE – Aerospace – the vehic le colours help to give you the feeling of the classic NASA rockets and spacecraft. Annis dropped it into his sci-fi landscape to give us a sense of the vehicle in its otherworldly environment © Scott Robertson. you need to have great rang e if you want to work on more than only one part of a game. as the concept designer. is the core weakness of most 3D work online.” Scott continue s. which gives colour control over the surface revealed under the paint Dirty Work Another technique used is to add a Levels adjustment layer between the two colour layers and. Another very noticeable thing in viewing a lot of the 2D work people post online is that there is a very strong lack of drawing ability being presented.

ellers mod of p grou a to ns desig vehicle t to speed up integration of modo now enables Scot ortions in prop le vehic his workflow by blocking out establish ly quick to s bnail thum loose 3D after a few ess in proc this ed start first “I tion. poss as ly clear as d communicate up for this make can I eller.” Here is a nice example of modo’s new tools being put to good use. After establishin g this scenario for the chapter I was faced with how could we quickly achieve this aesthetic in our rend erings? The basic idea is that by using existing parts – digital or traditional – you can very quic kly build something you would nev er have the resources to do from scratch. “Learn from the past. ” Taking the traditional technique of ‘kit-bashing’. “These items have helped Danny Gardner did a great paintover on top of a 3D model rendering to create the Black Widow in all of its salvaged glory © Scott Robertson.” creat of “Necessity is the mother to ine pipel my of n tatio adap an . creat he h desire to expand the ways in whic says. Scott explains. performed by media modellers for a long time now. etc. avail tools elling mod the on all of ‘rubbery’ through and wing it. I will jump into ct Alchemy and do those. tively intui s work t Scot ugh Altho have that he always tries to follow: “If I could another r faste or r created the same result bette remember and try ld shou I way way then that is the s take “It ins. med al traditional 2D and 3D digit ts. adm t Scot to draw. Following several proje of ber num large very a g icatin he was commun this . A self-taught modo artis are to get softw the with play ff months of on-and-o a model up set ly quick could he e wher to the point which he 301. why didn’t I just use a I s? hour ten for r pute com my at instead of sitting on the Or. is to be able to provide endless design options for all of the things – environments. lots of 3D model parts were kit-bashed into this beast © Scott Robertson. ‘Why did I just paint this whee it in modo in ered rend hours? I could have built and one!’” just not – four all have three and would in the ested inter mely extre and d ahea ing Look . reading the manual and askin has become ram prog the “Now . better. expla t Scot e.” traditional media models in clay.” ls to big shapes and the arrangement of whee re moving befo ns ortio investigate very different prop this start les vehic es etim Som on to the surfacing. at the end of the day. rear three-quarter views by hand cts where them in Photoshop. tions ques plenty of up. modelling and rendering things you personally like. better. “On the modelling side focus to time free gh enou find to longer as I have yet rush just I so able. silhouette still not a I’m ible. Daniel Gardner Faster. vehicles and props – that are needed to support and enhance a narrative. The job.” Scott counsels. stron !” Million Dollar Man This beast was born through the introduction of a huge turbine engine running the length of the car –the driver was forced off to one side to make room for the engine! © Scott Robertson. tools tion use of 3D programs as rapid-visualisa es ibiliti poss the ring Scott hopes to keep explo red books. “Or. of out base ering rend ng looki establish a niceskip and p I add things like the cut lines in Photosho them on the model.” made some nice discoveries in the 3D t about two Scot took it t. practise designing content for stories – not just drawing. characters. “Also its. Daniel Gardner out from the crowd Tips for Stand with design skills you’ll be of. foam. wood een e Mixing it up. r!’ bette h muc so job the done would have l for ten flipside. I really modo. mod nt patie or very clean skills ering rend by falling back on my traditional to is it easy how love inside Photoshop.Interview l Scott Robertson A path of least res istance vated by a When it comes to design. I started a lot of the vehicles in the Salvage chapter this way by buy ing odd parts then digitally modifying and recombi ning bits and pieces. We’d do the sam e process with 2D photography – I’d go and shoot various mechanical parts in places like aircraft museums. direc n his desig to the due o mod to SketchUp. Scot Six the like just – ger simply.” The open drawing proje tunnels for ting crea to e cam it when l usefu was also in rn one project: “I might create a nice patte h in brus m custo a as it Alchemy and then capture to map a Alph long a t pain d woul I Photoshop where rial mate the on mask il stenc a as o use in mod have an shader of a cylinder.” t’s The biggest influence of modo on Scot with on ntati rime expe his been workflow has me to create replicators. Using our painting skil ls in Photoshop we were able to create high-detail renderings wel l beyond what we could have accomplished had we modelle d ever y single part from scratch. I have after r pape and pen to move I then way and program.” futur the to do it in ‘Oh say. Scott shares a few budding proud words of advice for artists budding concept designers “Get to a good school or at least pick up some good books. t Scot ion. The resource I was sho rt on was time. and me taken have d woul it time the would have invested with play to easy so is it . the traditional drawing and rendering back overcome to was ine pipel addition of modo into his drawings hic grap ortho ing creat of the tiring process and front hing matc in s ering rend r colou and final ering rend later . Scott will fluidly mov betw just to try “I ia.” Scott set to r faster and the renders much easie much me taken has it adds.” tanc resis least pick the path of the on ils deta ting swea of ad inste nce. in this case a from ing Com rs. and discipline to look back on a day’s work r pape of piece and pen my. Scott’s designs apply the digital equiva lent KIT-BASHING 34 l 3DArtist 3DArtist l 35 . I did some digg ing on the internet and found a few site s that sell various 3D digital par ts royalty free. Master your foundation skills so you will have the communication tools you need to convey your designs to others. elling compared to NURBS mod build to ed train ally form was akin to the way I .” othe with icate commun ground. men com t Scot e.” cylin bent a only elled mod structure having is one rule there . “Faster. but quickly gravitated the of side ering rend the wonderful ease of use of now way this rking “Wo . stronger l Interview ish a I really love how easy it is to establ o mod nice-looking rendering base out of I would not very complex surfaces and environments tI doub usly serio I otherwise have created. Scott is moti es. and I would then el tunn 3D ing instantly complex. “The premise for this chapter was that the vehicles were created by a bunch of gea rheads who had access to a hug e junk yard of old engines and othe r vehicle parts. “For insta Photoshop model or doing cut lines. within the pages of his future self-autho impact of the sees he how up sum to d When aske es repli t 3D software on concept design. sci-fi-look der. magazines and DVDs on the subject. and get a usable render from version hing watc of top on started out on. And that’s g friends tutorials.” Scot el in place of enables me to provide a rough 3D mod rtant things – impo my orthos ensuring that the most are – e stanc and the proportions. Poly modelling is so much more is h whic . adds t program. Daniel Gardner Kit-bashing was used extensiv ely in the Salvage chapter of DRI VE.

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