Noupe Editorial Team July 15th, 2013

Steampunk in 3D Design: 40 Fascinating Time Travels

Today we have true inspiration for 3D designers, or any designer even. We collected 40 Steampunk designs to send your mind on a time travel back to your childhood, when you were dreaming of becoming Han Solo, Darth Vader or - who knows - Chewbacca. Dreams can get hairy, can't they? The following collection shows how much fantasy can be contained in one single designer. Admirable...

Steampunk: Est. 1987

Whaaaat..? What is ‘steampunk’? Definitely, most of you have had some dreams and fantasies in the childhood, where you were time travelling dressed as an astronaut with a steam-powered jet-set and a bag full of coal to launch it.

Originally the concept was brought to life with a letter sent to science-fiction magazine “Locus” in 1987 by American sci-fi and horror writer K.W. Jeter. He was trying to distinguish himself and his fellows, who were in love with sci-fi technologies in retro style, from the futuristic cyberpunks by saying:

“Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on a appropriate technology of that era; like “ steampunks” perhaps…”.

And…bang! Right there it emerged from the depths of the history.

Jules Verne, H.G Wells and Mary Shelley were the ones to create the best scientific novels of the 19th century. Actually the whole stream of steampunk is highly influenced by these texts. Well-known “Metropolis” made by director Fritz Lang in 1927 is a movie to be treated as the single most important early film, extracting steampunk as a an emerging stylistic genre. It is betrayed in the artwork with the old extraordinarily fashionable costumes, top gear accessories and mystical atmosphere, that grabs and brings you “20’000 Leagues Under The Sea”.

So, steampunk is a symbolical form of romanticism mixed with technology, seeping both into arts and culture since the 1980s. Aesthetic British Victorian era, American “Wild-Wild West” lunacy, steam-powered technologies – all of these convey direct inspiration to nowadays. This particular genre has conquered all possible forms of art.

Misty and mysterious atmosphere, mean lighting, steam engine based technologies, pre or post-apocalyptic environments, war, space invasions, demented experiments, futuristic characters, wearing incredible diving-suits or vintage aviator glasses, inhabiting a skin made from billions of screws, pins, nuts and helixes, are anchored in a gilded age, but transcend the bounds of time, space and measurement.

Past combined with the future always affects the present. In order to reveal how different the genre of steampunk is, filtered through the mind of a particular 3D designer, we represent an inspirational list of steampunk in 3D artwork. Charge yourself as much as you can, letting your fantasy flow to the quasi-reality of science-fiction in the majestic Victorian era.

40 Steampunks in Action

Star Wars Steampunk
Artist: Nikolai Miroshnishenko
Why it is stunning: A retro version of “Star Wars”. It cannot be not stunning.

© Nikolai Miroshnishenko

Steampunk Cockroach
Artist: Skif_Nomad
Why it is stunning: Admit, this is the only one cute and clever cockroach you have met in our life.

© Skif_Nomad

The War Machine
Artist: Ted Terranova
Why it is stunning: This rendering perfectly conveys the anxiety of war by providing the clear portrait of the war machine itself.

© Ted Terranova

Steampunk Brawler
Artist: Paul Large
Why it is stunning: Who said that this would never work?

© Paul Large

Artist: Laurent Pierlot
Why it is stunning: Because you have to be crazy or have lots of freaky nightmares to come to such ideas.

© Laurent Pierlot

R2D2 Steampunk
Artist: Denis Anfilov
Why it is stunning: It bribes with realistic steam, lighting and cold. You just cannot stop looking.

© Denis Anfilov

Stream Flower
Artist: Denis Anfilov
Why it is stunning: a) It proves that anything can be steampunked. Even a greenhouse. b) It combines two opposites: nature and machines

© Denis Anfilov

Artist: Kazuhiko Nakamura
Why it is stunning: Concept. Details. Atmosphere. Feeling in steel. This surreal robot is a torture machine disguised as an antique mannequin.

© Kazuhiko Nakamura

Artist: Kazuhiko Nakamura
Why it is stunning: It combines a vast variety of stylistic genres: steampunk, surrealism, conceptualism, grotesque. And totally captures you for a while. Doesn’t it?

© Kazuhiko Nakamura

Artist: Kazuhiko Nakamura
Why it is stunning: It is inspired by the extraordinary work of Raoul Hausmann’s “Mechanical Head” and Photomontage art of John Heartfield.

© Kazuhiko Nakamura

Artist: Kazuhiko Nakamura
Why it is stunning: It is a biomechanical motif of a legendary movie “Astro Boy” covering an adventurous story of a cute robot guy. Look at this one – it blows my mind.

© Kazuhiko Nakamura

Requiem for Industry
Artist: Kazuhiko Nakamura
Why it is stunning: This extremely detailed architectural portrait commemorates the end of the industrial era.

© Kazuhiko Nakamura

…dry dock…
Artist: Adam Tredowski
Why it is stunning: Because you can never guess right where does it take place: in the post-apocalyptic world, quasi-Victorian era, a colonised planet or a gap in between there and here.

© Adam Tredowski

Steampunk iPod
Artist: Oscar Blanco
Why it is stunning: This iPod looks like a golden compass and obviously is magic. Okay, it is not a compass. It is a golden iPod, that is even better. You would never feel ashamed showing it off in public.

© Oscar Blanco

Hall of Miscarried Runagrounds
Artist: Ryan Moeck
Why it is stunning: If it was a house, Jules Verne would definitely inhabit it.

© Ryan Moeck

Johnson‘s Depot
Artist: Ryan Moeck
Why it is stunning: Because in the style of steampunk, even Disneyland can turn into a factory, drowned in black steam. Producing candies, let’s say.

© Ryan Moeck

Steampunk Cathedral
Artist: RedHotCG
Why it is stunning: Now I can clearly imagine Judgement Day.

© RedHotCG

Steampunk Desk
Artist: Michael Grote
Why it is stunning: This is an SLR style camera, constructed from gears, pipes, brass and copper. If we can take pictures with a box of matches, why shouldn't we photo-shoot with steampunk cameras?

© Michael Grote

Artist: Fabricio Moraes
Why it is stunning: Imagine (Steam-)Geppetto as a mad and lonely old man. Using no magic or abracadabra stuff, he makes an alive friend with the power of steam.

© Fabricio Moraes

Steampunk MINI Countryman
Artist: Carlex Design
Why it is stunning: If the Titanic had been built the Steampunk way, would it ever have been broken?

© Carlex Design

Artist: Toni Bratincevic
Why it is stunning: This one was designed in memory of a man sick with Alzheimer. When he keeps forgetting, this rendering will forever preserve a particular moment of his past.

© Toni Bratincevic

Artist: Toni Bratincevic
Why it is stunning: Because this creator always digs deep. This rendering is made to be the proof that a life is more than just a collection of matters.

© Toni Bratincevic

Artist: Aleksandr Kuskov
Why it is stunning: It claims that reality has too many restrictions, while fantasy is boundless. The artist offers to switch reality into fantasy. It is easier, he says.

© Aleksandr Kuskov

Artist: Aleksandr Kuskov
Why it is stunning: It awakens loneliness and makes you think. Thinking is not that stunning at times.

© Aleksandr Kuskov

Gold Fish
Artist: Aleksandr Kuskov
Why it is stunning: This one raises the problem of ecology, calling everyone to imagine a life with millions of endangered species. I cannot. Can you?

© Aleksandr Kuskov

Coca Cola Olympic Games
Artist: Aleksandr Kuskov
Why it is stunning: It portrays a factory of capitalism’s symbol Coca Cola during the Olympics. Genius.

© Aleksandr Kuskov

Artist: Aleksandr Kuskov
Why it is stunning: It perfectly illustrates technological evolution.

© Aleksandr Kuskov

Chopper Steampunk
Artist: Aci-Roy
Why it is stunning: Because it is not just another Harley Davidson.

© Aci-Roy

Artist: Dmitriy Filippov
Why it is stunning: This rendering is an illustration for Gemini Zodiac sign.

© Dmitriy Filippov

The Time Machine
Artist: Dmitriy Filippov
Why it is stunning: Because some clocks never count the time.
© Dmitriy Filippov

Steampunk Desk
Artist: Leticia Sartor
Why it is stunning: An artwork by an VFX student. It won a prize for best textures.
© Leticia Sartor

Artist: Daniel Arnold-Mist
Why it is stunning: Because it took 26 hours to render it.

© Daniel Arnold-Mist

Artist: Pascal Blanche
Why it is stunning: It is a modern interpretation of the Greek myth about Sisyphus.

© Pascal Blanche

Artist: Vladimir Petkovic
Why it is stunning: The artist has his imaginary land of steampunk and in this rendering there is the capital of it – Cuberia. Welcome.

© Vladimir Petkovic

Artist: widi5006
Why it is stunning: Because each of us knows this feeling.

© widi5006

Alice’s Adventures in Steamland
Artist: Guillaume Dubois
Why it is stunning: Alice from Wonderland is recognized as a masterpiece of steampunk.

© Guillaume Dubois

Last Travel
Artist: Laurent Antoine
Why it is stunning: The author brings you back into 1850 and tries to portray a vision of the future by the past generation. He recreates daily life, conquest of space and traveling to the moon. Your last trip.

© Laurent Antoine

Music Engine
Artist: YongLiang Bao
Why it is stunning: Because these small details of the old sax seems to remember all the notes it was playing during the lifetime.

© YongLiang Bao

Spider Robot
Artist: Adrien Lambert
Why it is stunning: Special lighting and dust in the background. I love spiders, even the mechanical ones. These also bring luck.

© Adrien Lambert

Little Elephant
Artist: Gherardo Zurla
Why it is stunning: Hey, would you not like toys made from gears and residual pieces of metal?

© Gherardo Zurla

About the Author:

Victoria Samarinaite is a journalist, traveler and has a passion for great imagery. She also writes poetry sometimes. At the moment she works at the community-based online platform for 3D artists CGTrader, where they can sell, share and buy 3D models.


Noupe Editorial Team

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