The 2014 release of the video game Destiny isn’t as modern as I first imagined, the team actually studied science fiction art from the 70s, which gave them inspiration for the futuristic, yet vintage style game look.
The artists looked at the work of surrealists Zdzislaw Beksinski and Peter Gric, as well as 70s and 80s manga. The team then went from this to creating their own concept sketches, paintings and computer generated art.
This piece of work is by artist Chris Foss and from playing the game Destiny myself, it does have a few similarities with the Tower in the game. For a piece of work from the 70s-80s it does have a very modern interpretation of what space buildings and ships would’ve looked like.
Other images which the creative team behind Destiny drew inspiration were "Untitled" by Zdzislaw Beksinski…
Again potentially ignoring the main central focus of the image, in my opinion, the look of the bricks and the buildings in this piece of work are very similar to the finished outcome style in the final game.
Golden Scarab by Peter Gric…
The last piece of work based on Destiny, immediately you get the picture of the loading screen sequences and other in-game styles from this Golden Scarab piece, the dots and lines, almost like a grid, features in the game quite a lot, maybe one of its most important visual designs.
Later in the first presentation, I discovered the work of Pablo Picasso and his piece of work “Guernica” from 1937. It was interesting to hear the story behind this piece of work… at first glance it looked like the work of a psychotic child, but when you hear the story about how Picasso was contacted by the local people in Guernica, Spain, you start to understand it, after German war planes bombed and killed an estimated 300 civilians, mostly women and children during the Spanish Civil War.
It is interesting to piece by piece look at this piece and you can see the immediate destruction caused by the German bombers in this small town. You can see limbs, people screaming, horses (the transport at the time) and other animals such as livestock. On looking at the painting, you will notice that there is a bull. The bull would usually be associated with Spanish Culture and Heritage, giving me the idea that maybe Picasso was trying to tell the story of how a little piece of Spain, a little piece of Spanish Culture died that day along with the civilians and the destruction of buildings, etc.
It may look strange but does tell a great story at the same time.
Progression from Classical to Modern Day…
It is clear to see after only looking at the History of Art for a short period of time that not much has changed in the way of techniques, styles and what looks good.
Examples were given from as far back as 1498 with Albrecht Durer - St Michael Fighting the Dragon using simple black/grey and white to create an effective piece of art.
You can then see the similarities in the work of Venus by Aubrey Beardsley (1895) where you can see the black/white style to create his interpretation of Venus.
Finally, coming to the the last 20-25 years, Frank Miller’s Sin City (1991) a personal favourite of mine, using exactly the same idea as the two previous.
It shows you that everybody takes inspiration from those that have created things before them. If you see something you like, that you think looks good, you should go ahead and try and achieve a similar style. It is not stealing somebody’s idea, unless you copy it exactly, but by using the same techniques, the same colours and the same effects, you can achieve your own unique piece of work with a bit of inspiration from somebody that has come before you.
Another example showing us that basically nothing has changed is taking The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (1486)…
An interesting task was carried out and a colour scheme was taken from this painting which could easily be used to create a very modern poster, website or painting. Showing us that the colours used back then weren’t dull and boring but they were in fact bright and interesting.
Inspiration for a Blank Canvas
One of the main points taken from the first presentation was the story about Paul Louden Brown- a Titanic enthusiast who had spent his life creating and collecting pieces of furniture, cutlery, badges, etc. from the Titanic. When the Hollywood film Titanic was being made, he was contacted by the director to help him create the set of the Titanic for him, because he knew exactly what way things should look, what should be certain places, etc.
The point I had taken from this is, when starting with a blank canvas, why sit and stress for hours, even days over a new idea or trying to figure out what something might look like, when there is always somebody who has tried to achieve something similar before you. There is always inspiration for the task at hand, you just have to look hard enough and look in the right places. The director of Titanic obviously contacted Paul because he knew how things should look and how things should be set up, rather than stressing and trying to recreate it himself when he was able to get somebody with the knowledge to give him inspiration and the tools to make a better and correct final outcome.