Thursday, August 13, 2015

That 60s Space Opera Chic

Here we are again, RocketFans, rapidly approaching our September 1st deadline for The ABCs of Space Opera, Vol. 1.  Fortunately, the work is going smoothly, with the main chore at this point being final editing.  I expect no problems.

One of the reasons this project is going so smoothly now is the long lead time involved.  The beginnings of this book were discussed way back in May, after I mentioned to Rob  that he should be writing Starships & Spacemen stuff.  Since Blue Max Studios already had a license to do so, It just seemed easier to hire him to write the stuff I wanted to read.  Of course, by doing so I've saddled myself with the chore of making the books fit into the Blue Max Studios design family of books while at the same time breaking new ground in production design.  Again.

I had a similar problem task back in 2011, when working on our Ships of the Galaxy line. Just as the galaxy far, far away has its own unique look, the final frontier has an iconic look that sets it apart.  Especially from my library of existing production designs for the Hard SF peri-Singularity setting Black Desert.  To make matter worse more complicated, I'm not only making a production design for this book, but for any and all future books we write for Starships & Spacemen.

No pressure.

The look of the original Star Trek, what I'm dubbing "that 60s Space Opera Chic", is certainly different from the work I've done before.  For one thing, the next time you watch an episode TOS, assuming you do, take a good look at the color scheme.  There's no blue. Except for the shirts on the science department, the color blue is apparently missing from Star Trek's original color palette.  Those of you who are familiar with my work know that blue is a big part of it.  Heck, we are Blue Max Studios, after all.  The colors are more in the "traffic light" range of the spectrum, with yellow dominating, red secondary, and green an accent.  Background colors are grey mostly, except for computer consoles and other tech tools, which are uniformly black. 

But that's just the colors - there's the whole interface scheme to worry about as well.  By that I mean the way the information looks on all those computer monitors.  Of course, in the original series of Star Trek, there was no information on those displays, just flashing lights.  But a couple of years back, CBS studios released a digitally enhanced version of the show, with a CGI Enterprise, realistic looking planets, and computer displays that had actual information on them. With this new resource as an inspiration, and a lot of experimentation, I finally nailed down a look for our S&S product line that is evocative of Old Skool Trek and easy to produce and layout in for PDFs.  Below is an example of how it all comes together, in the form of an actual image from The ABCs of Space Opera Vol. 1.  This image also exemplifies the sort of tongue-in-cheek look homage to the source material we've been aiming for.  Hope you enjoy.

By Blue Yellow Max Studios

1 comment:

  1. Interesting.

    I read in an article a few months back that most futuristic screens depicted in sci fi movies, etc. tend to be mostly blue. You can check out the article at the link given and it does cover Star Trek in it.


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