FEATURES

Interview With Graphic Designer Sally Felton
By James Whittington, Thursday 4th July 2013

We gave Sally Felton, a talented Graphic Designer and Illustrator, the chance to help the CBS Action design team by bringing the bridges from Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Voyager to life for our Trekologist, Raules Davies to walk around. Here the Star Trek fan chats about work recreating the classic designs which appeared on air.

CBSA: Where do you begin when designing a Bridge Background?

SF: First of all I look online for images of the bridge, preferably from a few different angles, just so I can see how it all fits together and work out what goes where. I also try and watch some episodes of that particular series so I can see the characters moving around it. I then begin drawing the bridge using the images as a guide. I divide the bridge into lots of sections and (probably) hundreds of shapes, drawing and shading each one on different layers. If I get bored of doing one element, I switch and work on another part for a while.

CBSA: What software do you use?

SF: I use Adobe Creative Suite. Usually I would draw in Adobe Illustrator, but as the bridge backgrounds need to be as photo-realistic as I can make them, I use Adobe Photoshop instead, drawing and shading each section before importing the finished file into Adobe After Effects so it can be made 3D and Raules can walk around it. I also draw with a Wacom pen and tablet rather than a mouse.

CBSA: Do you have to conform to specific details?

SF: Nope, I just try and make the bridge as detailed as I can and as much like the real thing as possible.

CBSA: How long do they usually take to create?

SF: It varies, I work full-time as a Graphic Designer so I have to fit the bridges in around that. It has taken me a few weeks to do each one, but when you break it down I probably spend about 10 hours working on one.

CBSA: What was the hardest piece that you’ve had to design for the Star Trek links?

SF: I think the Voyager was probably the hardest bridge to draw because it has so many little details and the railings around the raised platforms, so I had to add more depth. The ceiling especially was quite detailed, but at the same time it’s probably my favourite part.

CBSA: What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a designer?

SF: First off you'll need a design/marketing based degree, ideally Graphic Design – although I studied Product Design and then changed industry to Graphics once I graduated, so it can be done! Call up every graphic design agency in your area and ask if you can work for free to get some experience. Just doing one or two days a week will teach you so much. It also shows potential employers how keen you are and gives you something other than University work to put in your portfolio. Finally if someone asks you if you know how to do something (within reason) – say “Yes” and then find out how to do it really, really quickly.

CBSA: Are you a fan of the Star Trek franchise?

SF: Yes! I grew up watching Star Trek with my mum and I've loved Sci-Fi ever since. I'd been watching The Next Generation and Raules Davies links on CBS Action, so I was really excited when I got the chance to do the The Original Series bridge background.

CBSA: So what other projects are you working on at the moment?

SF: In my full-time role I design advertising and marketing materials for a children's book publisher. At the moment I'm working on posters and point-of-sale on everything from Kipper and The Famous Five through to How To Train Your Dragon and The Vampire Diaries.

CBSA: Sally Felton, thank you very much.


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