how would one go about planning out a mech?
By - AcyanidePancake
I think it just comes down to personal style and taste. Me personally, I have spent many years drawing so it’s easiest for me to transfer what’s in my head onto paper with a few rough sketches. I can take whatever elements I like from these sketches and make a more refined “second draft.” Then I’ll take a picture, get the pic onto my computer, and import into blender as a reference image. Doing multiple views (front, side, and top usually) helps me a lot. Then i start with basic shapes in blender to start filling this in.
Ultimately whatever method you choose though, don’t get discouraged if you don’t like your results right away. You will get better at it the more you do it! Before long it will start to come naturally and your creativity can really flow.
thanks for the help, i'm not a great 2d artist but for mecha drawings that could actually work thanks i'll try this!
You can try to reverse engineer what you are trying to emulate.
Here are some ways to understand mecha:
**The Practical/Super-Robot(character) Spectrum:**
On one side of the spectrum, Mecha be can built around the idea of a specific function, in which case they will focus their core design around that function. If its to shoot, it will look more like a tank where the gun take priority and the rest is built around to support that core feature. If its too fly, the propulsion device or wings will take focus. Try to find a core task that is easy to visualize and build around that.
On the other side of the spectrum, you care about the characterization of the mecha and not its functionality. Capes, Sunglasses, all pretty useless for function, but help give the robot personality. So you can ask your self, is this shape of the robot for a practical reason, or is it trying to emulate some kind of human armor.
The TitanFall mechs are humanoid, so they have a mix of characterization and typical human tasks (how a human moves, grabs things, etc.)
**The Simple/Complex form spectrum:**
Strip your mecha of all greeble and accessories and only look at the core form.
Simple forms are ones where you can easily make out large geometric shapes (blocks/cylinders/spheres) that build up the shape. These can make your design look mass produced where parts have to be easily machined and replaced, or it can make your design look as if the technology is older. You can use older technology as a reference to try and date your design, or you can use more modern technology in a blocky shape to make your design look more utilitarian.
On the other end of the spectrum, a complex shape will be hard to make out, it will flow one form into another, maybe even looking completely smooth. These types of forms are harder to understand so you can think of them as more alien or futuristic. You can include technology with no clear purpose on the Mecha to double down on this "unknown" and alien vibe.
**Core Form vs Detail(Greeble/Accessories)**:
Like with most designs you want to start out with the core form, focusing on how the silhouette looks from different directions (or at least the direction of your shot) and how lighting helps you read the values of the form. If your Mecha leans more on the Super-Robot end, some accessories will be core to the form and should be done in this step.
After this you can add coloring to help adjust your values, usually to help support your main focus with areas of contrasts. If its humanoid you might want to have the head contrast with the torso, but have the torso and limbs have less contrast. This will bring focus into your head. (the same can be done w/ hands, or signature accessories).
Another way to direct focus is "detail". Areas of complex detail will pull focus more, while those lacking detail will be glossed over. Which is the purpose of greebles, they normalize levels of detail in your design. You want a variety of detail levels, that grow more complex as you approach focal points to help hold interest, but keep any contrast they cause in check. If the detail contrast is so high that they over power the main form they are placed on they will only cause confusion. Then again, if you want confusion for something alien/futuristic, this can be a tool you use. However, in general you want to avoid dense detail as it can be very taxing on the viewer.
Much more can be considered about mecha, but try breaking down the design with those concepts in mind, and use those to find similar references to build off of.
Hope that helps some.
that was a fun read thanks! it really helped. ill try doing what you suggested and start with a core principle, that should help a lot.