Monday, February 6, 2012

OPUS V Design

I've been getting asked a lot about the aesthetic design of the octopod which always triggers a little anxiety.  This usually stems from the fact that I consider myself more of a builder than a designer.  I am most comfortable when presented with a mostly finished design that needs to be built and elaborated on rather than coming up with my own thing from scratch. It's just how my brain is wired. But I wanted to challenge myself and chose to try and design something from scratch.  I have been pretty comfortable with the actual modeling and mechanical design and stalling a bit with the aesthetics.

From the beginning I knew I wanted a nuts-and-bolts, mechanical design.  My first thoughts were WWII and  Cold War era design.

In the end, I think I drew the most inspiration from the Nautilus design from Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  It perfectly represents the aesthetic I wanted with a very mechanical design which mimics an organic shape.

I really wanted my design to mimic an octopus as much as possible and gathered a lot of references.

When I was designing the tentacle, my first sketches were round arms. While octopi do have tentacles that have a round core, they flair out at the bottom, making a somewhat triangular shape. I tried to capture that idea with my design.

Another feature of the tentacle array which I felt was necessary to capture is the "webbing" between the tentacles.  To capture the look of the webbing and remain functional I want to try using rubber netting that will attach between the tentacles.

I plan on using rubber netting like this but form it into triangular sections like below.  I will model in attachment points to connect to the tentacles.

I plan to to continue closely patterning parts on real octopi while also maintaing a mechanical design that's functional and aesthetically pleasing.