Assignment: Model an archeological item from another planet, future, dimension, or alternate history.
Can you avoid sci-fi or fantasy cliches? Can you imagine a world around it? Does the object suggest its own use?

Technological Dream Series: No. 1, Robots by dunne & raby (2007)

Speculative design is the use of design tools to challenge preconceptions, raise questions, and provoke debate.

The related discipline of design fiction is more geared toward envisioning futures and discuss ethical implications of emerging technologies.

Let’s be a bit more rigorous: if cows had tools how would they actually look like? Why would they need tools? How anthropomorphic would they have to be?

Midjourney interpretation of “cow tools”





Affordance is a property or feature of an object which presents a prompt on what can be done with this object. In short, affordances are cues which give a hint how users may interact with something, no matter physical or digital.

Affordance are a relation between a designed object and a feature of the user:

The concept of affordance in design was popularized by Donald Norman in 1988.
The cover features Jacques Carelman’s “Coffeepot for Masochists” (1969).

This is basically a prop design assignment and in movies, comics, and games props are designed primarily to communicate narrative ideas via tropes.
45 degrees corners, blue screens = future.
Detailed surfaces (greebles) = gritty / dystopian / cyberpunk


Make a list of mass produced objects: tools, apparatuses, devices, machines, toys, furniture, etc.

Imagine being an alien archeologist discovering them. What are these objects saying about our culture?
(eg: a teapot suggests that we drink, we relax, we enjoy/need to alter our mood with caffeine, and that we developed a colonial/trading system to move tea leaves around the world)

List some of the human features (physical, psychological, behavioral) that inform the design of those objects. Redesign the objects with a what if scenario. (eg how would a gun work if we had one finger per hand?)

Make a list of animals of the most disparate species. Imagine they evolved human-like brains and consciousness occupying the place humans occupy in the world (without anthropomorphizing).
Cross this list with the object list and redesign a functional object in this alternate world.

Let’s get back to the human world: what are some emerging needs that will require new tools?
Think about climate change, global crises, but also hopeful scenarios, shifting cultural practices and so on.

Remember you are making an art, so pick the ideas that are the most interesting visually.
Bring a few concept art / sketches.
The detail level depends on your ability, taste, and career interests.

Exercise: Box Modeling

Watch this intro video:


Recreate these shapes in Blender starting from primitives (cube, cylinder, sphere, plane) without using booleans or merging multiple objects.

Speed Project: Abstract Sculpture Series

Watch my Intro to Box Modeling in Blender and somebody else’s intro to sculpting in Blender

Make a series of 3, or more, abstract or semi abstract sculptures starting from a primitive and using primarily box modeling tools (edit mode).

Make another series of 3, or more, abstract or semi abstract sculptures starting from a high poly primitive and using primarily sculpting tools (sculpt mode).

Each of them must be a single, “watertight” mesh.
Make them interesting from all angles.
Give them a distinctive silhouettes.
They are series: develop a common visual language.
Start sketching on paper.
Give them individual titles, or name the whole series.
Try to keep them under 2000 Tris or export low poly version.

make them more game friendly by following this tutorial (decimating, normal baking)

You have to learn to sketch in passes starting from the basic shapes. Tutorial
Try to sketch your artifact like a product designer. Tutorial

Some prompts



The best virtual sculptures and artifact will be collected in a virtual museum
Shiny materials and museum package here


Cloud gate by Anish Kapoor

Kan Yasuda key to a dream

Minimalism, smooth

Richard Serra

Industrial aesthetic and materials, monumental

Barbara Hepworth

Arnaldo Pomodoro (original from the 60s)Hollowing, surface vs interior

Umberto Boccioni Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913)
Louise Bourgeois – Nature Study (1998)

Bodies abstracted

Constantin Brancusi, bird in space

Nature abstracted

Peter Randall

Primary form + patterning / detailing, biomorphic

Zhan Wang’s artificial rocks
my personal universe by zhan wang
Karma by Thaddeus Mosley (Pittsburgh based)

Nature abstracted / reworked

Stuck? Find some inspirations at


When you are done sculpting try to  and apply an interesting material and put your best sculpture in engine.

-If it’s still bare geometry do a simple unwrap and apply an interesting material.
Look for fun shader on the asset store or PBR materials on

-You can Try these abstract shiny materials (for standard rendering pipeline)