Category: Science Fiction

Syd Mead Tour Down Under..

Howdy Designer lovers!

Syd Mead is coming to Australia. My mate Paul is organising the Sydney leg and so I thought I’d give a quick shout out and post the details. So if you’re in Sydney, come along, it should be an awesome night!

For those who dont know Syd Mead.. SHAME on you!! Here are the details:


The Syd Mead Australian Tour 2010

Syd Mead is the most celebrated concept artist in the world today.

He was the artist behind some of the most influential science fiction of the 20th century:
BLADE RUNNER, TRON, ALIENS, STAR TREK, 2010 (to name a few).

The tour is being organized in conjunction with the CG Society, and the inaugural event in Sydney is set to be a spectacular visual experience:

On the night of Thursday the 18th of March, the premiere of the award winning film, Visual Futurist: the Art and Life of Syd Mead, will be screened at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne.

The screening will be followed by Syd Mead live on stage, interviewed by Jamie Leonarder (The Naked City, FBI / previous host of The Movie Show, SBS).

Syd will be available for signings after the event, and there will be very special limited edition Syd Mead Australian tour t-shirts and dvds on sale.

Come and pay tribute to the man who, for the last half century, has played such a pivotal role in the design of science fiction in film, and who’s genius has inspired countless artists around the world.

Immerse yourself in his world, and meet the man himself.

Book your tickets here:

It is advised that you book early to avoid disappointment. The tour has already generated a great deal of interest.

contact Paul with any inquiries about the tour:


And for those who still dont know Syd Mead’s work, here is a sample.. enjoy!

More Optical Composites.. Cira 1985 – 1992

Variations on the theme of last post.. I couldn’t quite get perfect comps using this optical process, could have been my dodgy carpeted bedroom – makes for a bad studio – or that I was using an on-camera flash head – hand held – to expose the lith film in the laundry, may have all had something to do with the misalignment of the two elements. Still, I managed.. 

But as I said in the last post, Photoshop came out and I had to learn a whole new world.

Building the model kits was half the fun of course! 

Compositing.. The old fashioned way! 1985-1992

Ah.. the good ol’ days of imaging yore and a little Star Wars miniature photography. Are you tired of computers and long for a return to simpler times? I’m tired of computers but there is NO way I would go back into a darkroom just to comp two images together and wait a week for the result!
Here are some of my early attempts at image compositing – created WITHOUT a computer, using optical compositing tools, ie. cameras and film.
I used a 4″x 5″ view camera, litho film (as a mask), paper punch, a pin registration system (to keep the film aligned), a dark room and lots of patience!
Not sure if I still have it but I wrote up a manual on how to composite multi-element images together using a 35mm slide copier, lith film way back in my 9th and 10th year in secondary school.
The Process..
1. Beauty shot.
2. Is the same model, same position only backlit and all modeling light turned off.. (could have done better here and saved myself time in the darkroom later..)
Get those two shots processed at the lab and wait for their return…
From here I would painstakingly align both the beauty shot and silhouette shot together and tape them together.. Then I would punch them with a paper punch. If this was out, the whole thing would be out!
3. Is a Lith Film contact print of #2. Lith film is a super high contrast, super fine grain orthographic film. ie Pure black against clear film base. Which gives you a MASK!
4. Is #3 taped up with black tape and/or matte black paint to create a garbage matte.
5. Is a Lith contact of #4. Every time you make a lith contact you get a negative.
6. Is a lith contact of #5
** What I haven’t shown here is the BG image, which I cant seem to find unfortunately.
Okay, so I have a Beauty shot of the model, a BG image and two lith masks. All of these are pin registered and in alignment (hopefully) together.
7. Is the #1(Beauty shot) pinned onto the board and along with the lith mask #6 over the top of it.
I then shoot this with my 4″ x 5″ large format camera. I re-cock the shutter and leave the film in the back. Only the portion of the frame that has the model in it is exposed, the remainder of the frame is still UN-exposed.
8. Is the same as #7 except that the BG image has lith mask #5 placed over it. Then another exposure made onto the same piece of film as in step #7.
9. Final composite after it has been returned from the lab…
No sooner had I started to come to grips with this process, I found Photoshop!