During the time I was working on my imagined worlds I took time to research various concept artists who have done work that could be linked to cyberpunk, and futuristic themes. Ryan church is one such artist. Church is best known for his designs of vehicles, planets, and architectures as a concept design supervisor on George Lucas’s Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and of the alien tripods in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. Church also worked on James Cameron’s Avatar and is responsible for the newer design of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek films. In 1994 Church started a full time scholarship, majoring in transportation design, at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. “I wanted to make sure I learned the nuts and bolts of industrial design as well as the illustration skills to be able to create a vehicle or an environment that makes sense and looks good”.
Churches style and technique involves a lot of pre-existing textures and images, he is very resourceful when it comes to re-using both textures, and older images, mixing them with newer work. Creating a sort of matte painting type concept that also has a mix of traditional art included. Church’s vehicle designs have quite a mechanical feel to them, which make them really feel alive and part of the environment, as if a lot of thought has been put into how the vehicle will work, not just how it looks.
I have looked at all the major and smaller movies that church has worked on, and both Tran and James Cameron’s Avatar are by far my favourite. So, these two movies are the ones I decided to review. Starting off with Tron, there isn’t too much concept art for Tron by church, however Church clearly focuses on two different points within the scene the rocky environments and Tron’s city, even within only a small amount of concept art. Church shows clearly exactly what he envisioned Tron’s city to look like. A ‘high sci-fi’, clean smooth environment. However, the rocky environments around the city are bumpy and rugged, the opposite of the city. The rocks around the city are created using matte techniques. Which adds to the complexity of the art. The same goes for Avatar, Church clearly shines when creating vehicles within a set environment, this is not shown as much in Tron. However, in avatar Church has created concept art for mechs and several different flying vehicles. The insides of the vehicles were created using other images and sticking them together, at least in the vehicle cockpits, another use of matte painting techniques. Overall, I like the concepts that Church has created. I enjoy the complexity of mixing digital painting and matte techniques, as it adds to the complexity of the images and makes them feel more alive and ‘fleshed out’.
Church’s work has clearly influenced both movies. This clearly being more prominent in avatar, as most if not all of the vehicles he concepted were used in the final movie, with not much about them being changed. Most of the fauna and flora he created were used in the final movie. The general look of the environments he created were also used, however not many of the environments were taking into the movie looking exactly the same. However, it is clearly visible that he influenced the look greatly. As for Tron, the general look of the city and surrounding area was quite similar, the clean city and rugged outskirts were kept. However the city itself was changed around, the second city in the sky was taken out and replaced with a much more full and living city down below. However once scene in particular was clearly influenced by church’s work. The area where the main protagonist reunites with his father, is almost a copy of the cave scene that church concepted. Just a few things like bookshelves and a pool were added.