The Blade Runner Spinner by Syd Mead

Syd Mead, futurist designer, has few peers in the fields of industrial design and commercial illustration. And he accomplished all that before he worked on Blade Runner.

This year, a new edition of Blade Runner was released, and it included a Spinner model that was much closer to his original concept illustrations than what was actually used.

I created a scene with the model to see how it might have looked.

Blade Runner Spinner by Syd Mead

Syd Mead’s illustrations show a darker, sleeker Spinner that would have blended into the landscape a lot more than the brighter blue film version with flashing police lights

Blade Runner Spinner Filming Model

The filming model, photos by Jean-Marc Deschamps

Blade Runner Screencap
Blade Runner Screencap
Blade Runner Screencap

Blade Runner Spinner Setup

After rigging up the model in the soft box, I set up the lights. The left light was bounced off a mirror for under lighting, and the one on the right-hand side was for basic modelling.

I took a variable-intensity multi-LED light and made a mask for it, fitting coloured gels to the openings to mimic the reflection of city lights. A cheap single-LED flashlight was for highlight effects. It’s blue tint would add some colour to the grey of the model.

Blade Runner Spinner Photo Shoot

Blade Runner Syd Mead Spinner

Source image and enhanced version

Blade Runner Syd Mead Spinner

Inserted into a scene from Blade Runner


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