Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Iron Man suit early development

The suit design process involved a lot of ideation before settling down and refining the final Mk3 design. Below are some of the sketches from that exploration. This was kind of a shotgun approach, trying out a lot of different aesthetics and rendering techniques.

This first one was an attempt to try to update the color breakup of the original red and gold suit. This one is a lot more of a bruiser than the final production model, and I was exploring some form ideas to try to give the impression of solidity to the sheet metal, shearing off organic forms to create flat surfaces defined by strong edges. This was an approach that we ended up adapting to the final design in areas like the forearms & legs.

The next one came from the concept of "wearable ordinance" as an alternative to the more streamlined "wearable aircraft" approach that had emerged from Adi's original sketch. I referenced modern tank ablative armor, as well as medieval and roman armor. It had an interesting aesthetic, but ultimately wasn't iconic enough.

This was an attempt at a more modular and organic approach, that would have used Electroactive Polymer Actuators (real-life artificial muscles that are being developed by JPL and NASA, using plastics that contract or expand when current is run through them.) Jon noted that the audience expectation would be more mechanical, with miniaturized pistons, actuators & servos to connect with the metaphor of Iron Man. I think he went in the right direction.

A more streamlined and athletic approach that tried for thicker overlaps between plates. Jon felt that this was too much of a "swimmer's body", rather than the more powerful boxer's build he was looking for. As I think we all expected from the beginning, an evolution of Adi's wearable airplane design was ultimately the way to go.

I also spent a lot of time in this phase working on a Mk 4 suit which would be a militarized version (can you say War Machine, anyone?) that was ultimately cut from the script. With any luck it will turn up in the sequel!


Kimberly said...

I really like how the first version of the suit looks. It looks the most like the classic red & gold suit.

Hao Wu said...

very nice designs, and great approaches. *war machine* indeed.

Ғhαel•CЯavo said...

ow! I prefer to see the evolutions study, more than the final concept... Its interesting to see how differents solucions emerge in the design way...
what software do you use in the process??


Phil Saunders said...

Thanks, Kimberly! I liked that one a lot, it had an attitude I kind of liked.

Hao - Maybe someday I can put up my version of War Machine. I was the most pleased with it of anything I did. Hopefully it will make its way into IM2

Ғhαel•CЯavo - (thank god for cut and paste!) software was mostly prismacolor pencil on Clearprint velum, scanned, and then colored & painted in Photoshop.

Nathan Fowkes said...

Phil, good to hear from you and thanks for the SF tips. I'm completely with you on Scalzi, knight and the gang and am going to pick morgan up again on your recommendation.

Great stuff here! Looking forward to more.


serafin p g said...

wau! son impresionantes esos modelos de Iron Man, saludos!

Hadrian Khoo said...

Hi Phil, I am currently working my way to becoming a concept artist, and your work really inspires me to become better.
I just got the Art of Iron Man yesterday; the work that Ryan Meinerding, Adi Granov and you put in truly did justice to the character, and it's wonderful to see it all coming together so well on the big screen. Really remarkable work by everyone in the team.
Thank you for your generosity in sharing your work.


Chris Armstrong said...

Great stuff Phil! I remember your work in the Buried in Time pc game years back when I was just a kid. I bought the the game just because I thought the suit and futuristic designs in the game were so cool. It's great to see that you're doing such spectacular work on projects like Iron Man!