Spaceman Spiff

Programs used: Houdini, Blender, Maya, Zbrush, Redshift, World Machine, Substance Designer, Photoshop, After Effects, Audacity

Growing up I read Calvin and Hobbes, a comic book that really resonated with me, and I’ve always wanted to create something that honors that work. I decided to create a fan-made interpretation of Spaceman Spiff, Calvin’s foremost alter ego. 

Some design highlights below:

The large looming Mothership was a design I thought about for a long time. A lot of inspiration comes from NASA’s International Space Station. It’s made as if the tubular structure base was built first, and over the years has been retrofitted and iterated on. The wires and structures were inspired by ISS photos combined with classic Sci Fi book covers and modern Sci Fi art. and it contains a spinning artificial gravity core to house intelligent organisms that lived natively on gravitational planets.

The red mountain scene was largely inspired by this wonderfully drawn panel from the comic. I exaggerated the ship’s destruction quite a bit so it reads better but kept the integrity of Spaceman Spiff and the ship’s design intact. I also took a lot of creative liberties in making the alien landscape, a humid world where hot water churns below and bursts through vast red rock mountains. The idea for water plumes that extend into the stratosphere was taken from by NASA’s Hubble discovery of possible water plumes on Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

The logo design ended up being a much faster and less complicated design due to the minimalism and simple beauty of my reference. NASA’s simple ISS “moonrise” photos as well as the beautiful Spaceman Spiff planet drawing combined well for a satellite view of the red mountain planet with the slowly turning logo looming overhead.

The final scene is a reveal of “Spaceman Spiff” perched on a “mountainous” blanket, ready to cause some mischief in the middle of the night. It’s a simple scene made for Calvin and Hobbes fans, with Calvin’s pet stuffed tiger Hobbes and a 90’s home video aesthetic.

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