This article is designed to show the general workflow for developing ideas and designs for a spaceship. In a normal commercial project the contextual requirements would be the starting points for the design. In this case I was given completely free reign, with no requirements other than make a "cool" space ship.
With this in mind, I tried to just explore lots of different shapes and design options.
I started by first going completely crazy with thumbnail sketches (Fig.01). This stage can happen in a sketchbook or directly into Photoshop, but in the end it always goes into Photoshop, meaning that if you have sketched it on paper it should be scanned in.
In these early stages there are a few techniques that can be very useful in Photoshop to help you to create interesting concepts that you may not have thought of. For example taking elements from photos, and then cropping and reshaping them, is a great way to obtain original and interesting features.
Another great way of exploring your concepts in Photoshop is by flipping the contents of the layers on their horizontal and vertical orientations. Again this can sometimes open up a fresh idea that you may not have intended. The Flip tool is one that is used regularly to generate new and original concepts, but this can also be used together with our cropped and adjusted designs. You can see all of these techniques and how the can be used to create a previously color of concept in Fig.02.
This is perhaps something that 3D artists may be familiar with, as the same principle applies to 3D techniques. Many of you will take some basic geometry and play with modifiers such as Stretch, Taper, Bend, Twist and Spherize to generate something original (Fig.03). It is the same principle in Photoshop.