Check out some sleek, beautiful spaceships from our distant interplanetary future. Concept artist Colie Wertz developed some incredible ship designs for After Earth, for the near future "abandoning the Earth" sequences as well as the far-future space wars. Even if you didn't like the movie, Wertz's designs are really sweet.
Here are some of Wertz's spaceship and hardware designs, along with some of his commentary on them.
According to Wertz, he was tasked with designing hardware for three time periods: the near future (50 years from now), the somewhat distant future (a few hundred years from now), and the distant future (a thousand years from now, when the movie takes place.) Here's what he created for each time period.
The "Flotilla Ships", or NOMADS, are near future. These craft were to carry the inhabitants from Earth, thru space, searching for a habitable planet. I referenced the international space station and extrapolated from there. Star Destroyers and the Galactica were also ref'd (by me). I gave it a sub-like bridge and had a happy accident modeling it where I rotated/duped 2 more at 120 degrees and liked the combination. It gave the splindliness of the space station more mass. From there I added the circular ends for docking/module coupling. Few more circular elements along the side of each ship and the "cluster" of NOMADS started having some life. These were developed at the same time as the Docking Bay. It was a good mix of 2D marker sketches and 3D modeling to get it to final. My primary contact, Jonathan Rothbart, the VFX supe, was a great guide, as he and the director were very in sync. It made for a very smooth process.
The "Hovercraft" was the next period of time I addressed. These vehicles were set a few hundred years in the future. Tom Sanders, the Production Designer, explained that the inhabitants of the NOMAD ships would have made technological advances while aboard these ships over time. The Hovercraft reveal that. For inspiration I took a look at cargo planes, cargo helicopters, and jetboats, as these things were going to be over water for the shots. I tried to give it a hunched personality (offensive), but have a lot of glass (cautious) as these things needed good visibility as they sniffed around potential inhabitable planets. Graphically, the glass helped, too.
According to Wertz:
The "Frigate" is a vehicle current to the action in the movie. Tom Sanders (the production designer) had a very specific set of rules governing the propulsion and skin of the ships. Very organic, almost a "grown" skin, and no rocket propulsion (they wouldn't have fuel). The hero ship, the Hesper, was already designed, so I got a lot of clues and cues from it. The Frigate was to be much larger. I tried to introduce more aggressive, contradictory lines in some areas to break up the larger form and referenced a Remora (fish) for a large viewport on the "head". I also pushed wider and deeper cuts in the skin to help the overall breakup. The propulsion system was going to be sonic, which is how their weapons would work, too, so it didn't have to be super-external... just integrated into the swooping shapes underneath.