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FEATURE LOCK Inspiration project design overview

Japanese Robot Design Features vs American Robot Design Features: A design reference for FEATURE LOCK

My inspiration project will be an artistic challenge for myself, as well as an interesting opportunity to review the design stylings of robots from around the world, creating a unique character model by combining the best of both Japanese and American robot design principles. This page is an unordered list of design principles of Japanese and American robots, to be used as a personal reference during character creation, as well as a detailed list for anyone else attempting the same in the future.

For starters, many Japanese robots possess either anime-style girly eyes or glowing pupil-less eyes, when seen in a more realistic context. If shown in a more cartoonish light, the may have more basic, black pupil on white eye designs.

Very rarely, a Japanese robot will have a technical-looking eye (although these examples have had American influences, so not sure how accurate this fact is)

Many larger mechs also have large, battle-style helmets with lots of decoration, reminiscent of the grandeur of Japanese military helmets.

Most of their robots make up one of two categories: Very blocky or very smooth, with almost no in-between.

If humanoid in proportion (and not a small child), almost always has a collar that’s tight and covers their neck, at least partially (notable exceptions being celebrities, mostly)

If feminine and humanoid in nature, the robot may or may not have a large mechanical apparatus for hearing instead of normal ears (or simply no ears showing at all). these are typically called horns, although they vary in style greatly from that of a monster's horn.

However, in one way or another, Japanese-styled robots almost always have some definitive humanity-linked feature, whether it be a humanoid body, emotive face or eyes, or voice. In contrast, most robots of western nature have less foundation in human traits and are more grounded in militaristic, tank-like traits. A good comparison here is mechs versus mechas: While one looks more tank-like (treads, no hands, large cockpit in stead of a head) The japanese robot features nimbler legs, controllable arms with hands to pick up objects and a mechanical head at the top, instead of a cockpit.

If they are a more humanoid robot, they are normally used as either a fantastical helper or they are the enemy of humanity, but almost never would you find a humanoid, especially a feminine, humanoid robot as the hero in an American robot story.

My inspiration project will be an attempt to unify these two subsets of robot design, as I plan to create a robot that, while being feminine in personality, doesn't entirely fit into Japanese robot design features for a robot with a distinctly female gender. This robot will be much more mechanically based, with the female personality of the character being forced into a much more industrial design. However, it will also have some links to it's Japanese influences, such as an emotive face, decorative helmet and humanoid design, despite it being more blocky and built for business purposes.

My current robot design, codenamed HERMES

My inspirations come from two places. One is obvious, Japanese robots. I've always had an interest in robots with human personalities, and want to give this character the personality of a leading female. However, the actual design of the robot strides a middle-ground between Japanese and Western styles, with a humanoid design but grounded in mechanical, more believable physical traits. My Western design influence comes from 2 VR games, both of which feature more mechanical, Western-styled robots.

robots from Robo Recall and Stormland

The two games are Insomniac's Stormland, a game coming out next year for the Oculus Rift, and Epic Game's Robo Recall, one of Oculus Touch's release titles. The robot designs from both games take a more industrial, present day robot approach, with minimal focus on smoothed materials (despite the Robo Recall robots' plastic outer shells) and rather focus on mechanical features surrounding the entirety of the robot's body, from capacitors and carry handles everywhere on the Recall robots to detachable broken limbs and camera-style eyes on the Stormland bots. the robots in FEATURE LOCK will retain the more mechanical-based body style of these two games, while taking the emotive face and slightly slimmer neckline of Japanese design.

The goal of this project is to finalize a 3D model of a robot character not only fit for use in VR, but capable of showing a robotic future with robots grounded in reality but capable of showing emotion, empathy, and personality.

This is the driving force behind FEATURE LOCK!

Credits:

Created with images by Darren Coleshill - "Scooters in front of graffiti"

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