Robot Character – Research (part 1)

In Tony’s class, we have been tasked with a new project: we will design a robot with a specific theme in mind. We’ll show this theme through the use of colour, design, logos, etc. and use inspiration from other pieces of work/sources to come up with a final robot design.

The first part of this will require some research, put together via a mood board. This is a fantastic way to think about the style and theme you would like to do as you pull ideas to gather inspiration for a project. A majority of the robots are mechs, which I’ve narrowed down to being the type of robot I would like to make. I’m thinking of making it with multiple limbs (at least quadrupedal, but possibly more). I’ll go through each photo individually and highlight the parts that draw me most to their design.


I love this piece of concept art. The plating reminds me so much of the robots from Portal. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would have said it was something pulled straight out of the game.

It has four limbs, with multiple joints, which is definitely something I want to focus on. However, I don’t plan on making mine a hovering robot, it’s a concept I’m willing to try in the earlier stages of design.

A lot of the robots have the same ocular style – a singular glowing eye, which I think works well on a mech robot. I don’t want it to look humanoid, but very much like an AI robot.




Aigis is a character from a video game called Persona 3 that was on the PS2 (although I played the portable version of the PS Vita) and immediately she was one of my favourites. Her android look is fantastic and I think the colour scheme compliments her design.

While I’m not planning on doing a humanoid robot, there are parts of Aigis that I would love to incorporate into my final design: namely, her leg and arm hinges, where the intricate detail of the gold metal acts as a type of shielding and I think they really draw the eye.




While I’m not keen on the industrial look of this robot, it’s the head and arms that are my focus of this inspiration. Much like the first robot, I like the multi-hinged arms and the claw-like fingers. If I’ll be making a mech robot, the dexterity and nimbleness of the final design will be really important.





I think this piece of concept art is so similar to the AT-RTs in Star Wars, very combat heavy and built for a singular purpose.

The rocket launchers (I’m assuming that’s what they are, given the size of them) are what I really like on this. They’re quite simple, but stream-lined, which I think would mix/match with the other pieces I’m thinking of based on the other robots I’ve been looking at.



This is one of my favourite designs out of the ones I’ve picked. It’s feels like it’s been inspired from nature, like a beetle, and shows off what I’d consider the insect’s thorax. This is something I hope to achieve through some of my rough designs, seeing if it works with the other parts I would like to use.





Much like the robot design above, this one has to be inspired from another insect. The abdomen is my favourite part, making the robot immediately recognisable as a flying insect (such as a bee or hornet) and the curved legs compliment the sinister look. However, I think the design slightly fails on the placement of the weapons, which I would heighten or centre and lower, to avoid the front legs being clipped.



The head of this robot is very similar to what I would like to achieve – a single viewing source, possibly looking like it could swivel around 180 degrees like this one seems designed to.

Adding a few more legs onto this design would be closer to the look I now have in mind, possibly giving it six or eight legs. Those extra limbs would be designed to handle more delicate operations, while the remaining were for movement, much like this robot’s legs.



When I initially found this robot, it wasn’t actually for the design, but rather for the way it’s presented. It is a piece of concept art in a style I would like to manage.

However, upon closer inspection, I can see why I picked it: once again, it looks a lot like the robots I love from Portal and closer resembles a walking variant of the first robot I chose for inspiration.

Someone put some effort into its design. To me, it has the same basic shape of the silhouettes we made with the loop tool in Photoshop with the details added in on top.



The broad-shoulders and mid-section are really appealing in this character, although it does give it a more humanoid look. In my mind, I add extra limbs that are more spider-like and it becomes closer to the look I would like to end up with.

Once again, it has the sort of head shape that makes me feel it is more robotic, but still could be an AI rather than a manned machine.



I merely picked this robot for the colour scheme, as it’s the one I would like to use. Most of the robots I’ve seen here share the same colours: I would like white/grey plating for the majority of the body, while I would like the highlights to be yellow/gold.

The stabilising feet are also quite an interesting look. In my opinion, they resemble something amphibian (probably because of the circular shape of the toes) and dexterous, rather than the huge/clunky/unrealistically proportioned feet I’ve seen in some other designs. This may be a good thing to see if I can do with some of the legs I would like on my robot.


shimmering_sword_07I actually didn’t choose this robot for its design or colour-scheme, but rather the way it’s drawn. It reminded me so much of something you would find in a Borderlands game, with that very heavy outline mixed with lighter colours. Since I’m wanting to use whites, greys and golds, I think it’s the sort of texturing/painting I would like to use, rather than trying to make something that looks more realistic.



The moment we were told that we would be designing our own robots and we should look at other designs and artists, my mind immediately went to GLaDOS, Wheatley, Atlas, and P-Body. All of them have their own distinctive designs, giving life to their personalities and making them more human, even though as robots they are unable to emote

I’ve been referencing their design throughout most of this post and hope to use the same kind of colour scheme combined with the look of their plating. I don’t want the robot to seem completely armoured when I’ve already thought of it as a multi-functional mech. Most of the Portal characters have exposed hinges or parts, showing how they’re put together. They also all share the same single eye design, which I do think looks less humanoid and sets them apart as robots.

There are so many different kinds of robots and designs out there to draw inspiration from that it’s difficult to choose only a dozen. I think I’ve come up with a list of what I’d like to incorporate in my design(s), thanks to this mood boards:

  1. A single, glowing eye, which is set apart from the body and can move across a larger field of vision than a human’s eye could.
  2. A colour scheme of white, grey, and gold.
  3. Exposed hinges and parts, with more elaborate overlays to add detail to the robot’s design, rather than having things drawn on it.
  4. It should have four legs or more, so it resembles something from the insect class rather than a human. I could have multiple joints, with larger legs for stabilisation and smaller ones for dexterous manouevres.
  5. I would like there to be a smaller weapon, for use in serious situations – most likely this will be a shoulder or back-mounted launcher or gun.

I’m sure I will come up with more ideas in the next step of this task: drawing some thumbnails! I’m looking forward to taking the ideas that I’ve gained from looking at these designs and putting pen to paper (or mouse to canvas). I’ll update again once I’ve come up with something!


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