Friday, 21 October 2011

Whale Airship Silouettes

In this post are images of silouettes which I have made using photoshop to give me an idea and shape of what my airship could look like. I experimented using different shapesand manipulating them in order for me to come up with unique design ideas.

The first two sheets were mainly used to experiment with certain shapes and also take a look at what the ships could look like if they were powered by different methods of fuel. For example, the images above have hydrogen baloons, zeppelin type baloons, sails and propella based engines.

The next two images are more defined to the specific design in which I want my project to go.

Different Whale Species

For my project I need to know what type of whale I will be using as the fuel source for my engine. This post is a quick introduction to what a whale is, and what different species could best fit in with this project. 

There are many known species of great whale and several species of smaller whale. Some of the species I am interested in are listed below.

Sperm Whale (Physeter Macrocephalus) - The sperm whale is the largest toothed whale of all the whale species. The sperm whale has the largest brain of all mammals weighing around twenty pounds (9kg). The sperm whale has a single blowhole shaped like an S and situated on the left side of its huge head. The adult species of whale grow to be around to be 50-60 feet and weighing around 40-50 tons. The females are however a bit smaller, around 33-40 feet long and weighing only 14-18 tons.

Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliea) The Humpback Whale belongs to the Baleen whale species. Male adults grow to an average size of 39-52 feet. The Humpback Whale weighs approximately 79,000 pounds. The Humpback has a distinctive body shape; it has unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. 
Blue Whale (Balaenoptera Musculus) The Blue Whale is a very slender and long whale. This particular whale is the largest of the three in length at a massive 98 feet. The whale weighs between 180-200 tons, making it the largest known animal to have ever existed. 

There are two charts below, the first shows different parts of the whale and what they are called, the second diagram lists more whales and a brief description of them. 

Whale Research Images and video -

Whale Research Images

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Why is Hydrogen important to my Project

How will I use Hydrogen to fly my airship?

Whilst researching for this project I have been trying to work out how its possible for me to fly my whale airship.
I will be using the same concept in the book about DNA manipulation and applying it to my project.
In the book Leviathan, the airship has been manipulated to exhale the element Hydrogen. Hydrogen is lighter than air and helium which is why Leviathan is able to fly through the skies.

Option One – To allow the whale to fly through the air as an airship I need to harness the hydrogen exhaled from its body so that it reacts with the other elements allowing it to fly. My first thought was to use air pockets from the whale and funnel them into the balloon above, much like an air balloon. These pockets will be sealed off until the ship needs to ascend. When the whale needs to descend, pockets in the balloon open, allowing this to happen.

Option Two – Another option which I can use to fuel my airship is to use an internal combustion engine. “The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel (normally a fossil fuel) occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high temperature and pressure gases produced by combustion applies direct force to some component of the engine, such as pistons, turbine blades, or a nozzle. This force moves the component over a distance, generating useful mechanical energy.”

Option Three - The third option which I could use to fly the airship would be fuel cells. “A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used. Fuel cells are different from batteries in that they require a constant source of fuel and oxygen to run, but they can produce electricity continually for as long as these inputs are supplied.”

Monday, 17 October 2011

More Art Influence

This post is a collection of air based vehicles designed for the playstation game Final fantasy twelve. The reason for me choosing to research into this game is purely for its vehicle design. Final fantasy twelve in particular features a cast of heroes who travel using different airships of incredible design. It is for this purpose which I have chosen to use them as an influence throughout my project. 

I really like the first of the three images. Out of the three I believe that this most resembles a vehicle which was based around a creature. This vehicle reminds me of a combination of sea creatures. The front end of the vehicle looks like the front length of a blue whale. I found that looking at the picture you can see an organic influence flowing through the rest of the design. In particular, the body of the vehicle starts off slimmer than the rest but as you move down it you can notice it begins to thicken up and slim again once reaching the back end. In the middle of the vehicle I noticed small wings which reminded me of whale fins. Once at the back you can see strands of material flowing from its tail end, this reminded me of a jellyfish or an octopus.

Final Fantasy Airship Research

Thursday, 13 October 2011

History, Science and Rules

For the outcome of this project to be successfull I need to delve into my source material and gather as much information as I can in order to create something within the bounderies of the book. Therefore I am researching into the rules and methods which the auhor has used to create this world.

For my minor project I’m using the book series Leviathan to create a vehicle based within Scott Westerfelds early twentieth world during WW1. 
Two things I need to know about this world; the first question I need to ask myself is what the world is like? Secondly and most importantly I need to know how it is possible that the beasts in the world have been manipulated for the use of the Darwinist empires. In particular, to create an airbeast based around this world I need to know how it is possible that they can live in this environment, and how it is possible they can fly. 

Westerfelds world is set in an alternate history, some of which is factual and some of which is fantasy. I have found that the interview below answers some of my questions about the novel.

The British alliance were Darwinists, with the conceit the Charles Darwin discovered DNA and was able to develop the technology to harness it to the point were the British were able to fabricate their own biological ecosystems which served their needs. 

This manipulation was harnessed into creating Leviathan which wasn’t just a “flying whale” but a living and breathing ecosystem which was able to make its own food and generate its own internal environment. 
An ecosystem is a biological environment which consists of all the organisms living in one particular area, this is known as a community. This explains how the airbeast is able to create its internal environment.

Three things about Leviathan and the Darwinists – 

Point One – The faction known as “Darwinists” use animals (beasties in the book) as forms of weapons and transport. An example of this is Leviathan.

Point Two – In short, the Darwinists create these creatures through DNA manipulation and a long incubational period depending on the complication of the cross breed of animal.

Point Three – To keep these creatures in working standard there are certain maintenance requirements. These beasties require an organic food supply and a certain amount of healing time to recover from any injuries sustained during battle.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Keith Thompson

In this post I have chosen to showcase some of Keith Thompson’s illustrations because I have found them very inspiring. The illustrations have been very influential in helping me decide how to develop this project artistically. 

Keith Thompson is best known for his illustrations within the Leviathan trilogy. The images below are from the first book Leviathan which is the source material for my minor project.

The images which are above are based on real creatures which the author, Scott Westerfeld researched and wrote into his novel. 

The first of the images is an air-beast called Leviathan. Leviathan is a hydro-beast more commonly known to us as a whale. Leviathan in the novel is head airship of the British air fleet. 

The second of the images is the Huxley ascender. The Huxley ascender was made from the life chains of medusa (a generation in the life cycle of a jellyfish), jellyfish and other venomous sea creatures. To us a Huxley would more commonly represent a hot air balloon.

Keith Thompson Artwork

I have chosen a few extra pieces of Keith Thompsons work which I really find inspiring. Only a few of the images are from the Leviathan series, but they still really stand out as original and unusual pieces of art of high quality.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Leviathan Book Notes Part One

Leviathan Notes – 

The notes below have been selected from numerous parts of the book Leviathan. These notes will be able to help me establish certain key points which will help in the development of my project.

Research Material

- Zeppelins (air ships)
- Main Characters – Deryn/Dylan Sharp
- Aeronautics
- Aerologist
- Darwinists found that wolves were easy to tame, unlike airbeasts which were trickier. (pge 29 & 30)
- Huxley ascender (pge 31)
- A Huxley ascender, one of the first Hydrogen Beasts...
Giant Airships of today had Gondolas, engines and observation decks.(pge 32)
- A Huxley would work by tugging on one of its tentacles which would allow the beast to release water making it lighter and more able to float to higher heights, much like a hot air balloon.
- Most importantly! Hydrogen breathers didn’t breathe hydrogen, they exhaled it into the air. It is burped into their gas bags, the bacteria in their stomachs breaks down the food and creates pure elements such as, oxygen, carbon and most important, lighter than air hydrogen. (pge 41)


The book in which I will be basing my third year minor project on is a steampunk novel written by the American author, Scott Westerfeld.
The first book of the trilogy, “Leviathan” was released on the 6th of October 2009 and won the Aurealis award later on that year for best young adult novel.
The triology consists of Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath, all which are set in an alternate version of world war one.

Synopsis from the back of the book

“Two opposing forces on the brink of war
The Clankers, who put their faith in machinery, are squaring up to the Darwinists, who have begun evolving living creatures into tools. Prince Aleksandar, the would be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, comes from a family of Clankers, and travels the country in a walker, a heavily fortified tank on legs.
Deryn Sharp, a girl disguised as a boy, works for the British Empire. Crewing an airship made of living animals – the ultimate flying machine. Now, as Alek runs from his own people, and Deryn crash lands in enemy territory, their lives are about to collide.”

Clanker – Clankers are countries that use steam-driven iron machines who are more commonly referred to as Clanker nations. The main Clanker nations are Germany and Austria Hungary, the central powers.
Darwinists – Like the name, Darwinist countries employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. An example of this is the British airship Leviathan, which is a Whale airship. The countries of this faction include Britain, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia and Japan

Idea Development Week Two

Over the last few weeks I have been researching different mediums of work from film and T.V too Books and Comics. Whilst looking for a theme for my project I came across a novel called “Leviathan” written by an author called Scott Westerfeld.

A little about the Author -

Scott Westerfeld, an American born May 5 1963. Westerfeld is an author of Science fiction novels for adults, but also an occasional ghost writer. He is also known for writing three sets of books for young adults, the first of the three novels is called “Midnighters”. This book is a tale of five teenagers born exactly on the stroke of midnight, for which time freezes every night, revealing a dark and terrible hidden world.
Another Trilogy which he has written is called “Uglies”. This book is set in a future world where cosmetic surgery is compulsory when you reach the age of sixteen, making everyone beautiful. However, there are some people who would rather keep their own faces, going against everything everyone believes in.

Original Idea for Minor Project

Over the summer break I have been trying to come up with ideas for my third year minor project alongside trying to complete/ start my dissertation. I have completed half of my dissertation over the summer break and also Co-wrote a script with a friend based around the Sci Fi genre.
The Original Concept
My original idea for my minor project was to create two characters, an environment and vehicle all based upon the story in which I had written over the summer. However, after my first meeting with Alan, we decided that for a minor project alongside writing a dissertation I would be taking on too much.
After discussing this further, we narrowed down the different areas we talked about and came to the conclusion that I should base this project around vehicle design.


Welcome, I have decided to create a new blog for the duration of my third year minor project.