Extraterrestrial environments in movies

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  02 February 2013
Extraterrestrial environments in movies

Hi everyone

Iīm doing some research in environment design, especially extraterrestrial landscapes in feature films.
I have some hard time finding relevant information, because if i search for environment artist, i mostly find game related stuff.
Is there a special term for environment artist in movie productions?

Can you point me to some interview or books (or any other resource) of some recognized artist?
I already read a lot of the "production focus" articles on this website and know looking for more information regarding landscape design, vegetation, lighting, etc..

For example i read a article about the lighting in "Green Lantern" some time ago. The artist said, they just altered the sky-color to purple to get a believable alien planet atmosphere.
Unfortunately i canīt find this article either.

Pretty sure some of you will know more about this stuff and hopefully can help me out.
  02 February 2013
Usually that would fall under Production Design, you could also look for combinations of concept art, or especially matte paintings.
  02 February 2013

probably google their name and add the word "interview" or also search on youtube "making of s" or "behind the scenes" videos
  02 February 2013
The films I would look at for alien worlds are:

- Red Planet
- Prometheus
- Mars Needs Moms
- Alien 1/2/3/4

And others... Hope that helps...
  02 February 2013
H.R.Giger is a vast resource for example, he had number of interviews, books.
  02 February 2013
Wayne Barlowe. Concept artist for film, TV and games.


Along those lines and like Giger has done a bunch of crazy looking creatures in a lot of crazy looking worlds. Hell even 'Hell' is crazy if you can believe it.

Barlowe's Inferno is awesome.
  02 February 2013
This is semi-related, and I guess would be better suited for a beginner, but James Gurney's "Color and Light" is a fantastic real-life guide on using color and light with both characters and landscapes. It's primarily directed to painters, but has many applications in the other artistic realms.


Plus, two thirds of his example paintings involve dinosaurs.
  02 February 2013
James Cameron's AVATAR

David Lynch's DUNE

However.... the first response to OP is succinct. It's all "Production Design". And by that token the logic of what makes a "correct backdrop" means the logic for making an alien world is the same as making the city in Blade Runner, or the Crab Key Island and Toppler Beam base in "Dr. No".

So in reality you can say... look at how the UFB and Colony backgrounds for the recent Total Recall film look... and surmise the design cues in there... and you'll see many "alien world" applications use the same things...

Sometimes it IS as simple as tweaking a sky to purple... it depends on what the Story requires.
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
My ArtStation
  02 February 2013
Yeah, first thing is to clarify whether you want environment design or the people who turn the design into finished shots, which is basically modellers, texture artists, technical directors (TD's) and matte painters. There is some cross over but a lot of the time concept artists will design the stuff separately to the artists that turn those visions into an on-screen reality.

Nick Marshall
Head of Environments / Generalists
Double Negative :: Vancouver
  02 February 2013
Hey man,

There are some fantastic real images people use as ref. Most people seem to base their alien worlds off things they see on Earth though. http://passportto.iberostar.com/201...ade-in-tunisia/

Only image from the surface of Venus (colour corrected):

Atmosphere of Titan:

Martian Sunset:

And of course all the wonderful Mars images from Curiosity, Spirit, Opportunity, and Viking.


Last edited by AJ1 : 02 February 2013 at 08:10 PM.
  02 February 2013
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Tatopoulos < you can scavenge for dvd specials (some are on youtube) and interviews to the man.
He has one of the most varied portfolios between contemporary production designers, plenty alien worlds stuff too.

He's known for more than a bit of fashion-y or kitsch in some productions, but nowhere near as much or bad as some of the more flamboyant production designers like Messina. His architectural and landscape work is usually brilliant.
Come, Join the Cult http://www.cultofrig.com - Rigging from First Principles
  02 February 2013
Thanks a lot everyone. Thatīs some really helpful information.
  02 February 2013
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