Even if Retrofuturism seems like a new term to you, you’ve definitely encountered it before.
Technically, the Retrofuturist aesthetic has been around as long as people have made artwork that anticipates the future, but retrofuturism didn’t gain wide traction until the middle of the 20th century.
It may sound confusing, but it makes some sense — ‘retro’ refers to looking backwards for style, whereas ‘futurism’ refers to looking forwards. Retrofuturism is a style that examines what the future looked like to the people of the past (and in some cases, what the past will have looked like to people in the future), and it turns out it’s a pretty cool style.
Retrofuturism has honest enough roots: the future is a major motivator for science, technology, human progress, and artwork. Of course, pretty soon an established style emerged that consisted of round and colorful spaceships, bubbles over character’s heads or homes, or even unimaginable (at the time) robotic vacuum cleaners.
To be fair, some visions of the future were pretty dang close, minus all the wires. Retrofuturism is even responsible for the aggregation and inspiration of most -punk styles, including steampunk (think Wild Wild West), cyberpunk, atompunk (think Fallout), and dieselpunk, as well as a host of other now-distinct dystopian aesthetics.
Take Your Art Back to the Future
How do you make your Retrofuturistic 3D art? Daz Studio is the perfect place to start. Not only does the Daz Shop have a host of characters, outfits, and spaceships to fit the bill, but taking part in an ancient tradition — like making art — from your desktop or laptop computer is, we would argue, Retrofuturistic in itself.
Here’s what you need to make an awesome Retrofuturistic scene:
- Whimsical Characters
The characters that often populate Retrofuturistic art have something unique or whimsical about them. They’re people that may look like an everyday citizen, but they come with quirks, peculiarities, and lots of eccentricity.Maybe because so much else in Retrofuturistic art is foreign — like flying cars, oddly angular buildings and novel fuel sources — the characters need tons of expressive emotion.
- Outrageous Outfits
Fashion may rarely seem to make sense, and more so in the future. Because no one knew what the world would be like, no one could have supposed what changes would happen to the fashion world.Combine that with exploring other worlds, new atmospheric suburbias, and novel color schemes, and you have the perfect recipe for some outlandish clothing.
- Daring Design
Mid-century Modern is soooo yesterday.Retrofuturism took the concept of design to a new height as rounded spaceships and eccentric furniture started to star in retrofuturist artwork. In fact, Retrofuturist design even started inspiring IRL architects, and a few cities still have stunning examples of Retrofuturist buildings.
- A ‘Splash’ of Color
Color palettes in Retrofuturism are vibrant and intense, but often of a related color-scheme. Clothing and spaceships usually only come in a few colors that mesh together.We suppose it has something to do with the preponderance of flower prints, paisley, and plaid in the 60s and 70s that led Retrofuturists to believe those in the future would go for simpler materials.
And if your current spacesuit’s colors don’t cut it, the Daz Shop has tons of shaders and other quality materials that you can choose from to perfect your colorful Retrofuturistic scene.
- Familiar Non Sequiturs
Last — and this one might be the hardest to completely pull off — Retrofuturistic art often includes familiar non sequiturs, or, small included features that seem like they wouldn’t correspond, but that actually help to ground the art.Take, for example, a popular cartoon about ‘life in the future’ with flying cars. Oftentimes the family would sit down to a dinner with meat, vegetables, and potatoes. The familiar non sequiturs are, of course, the meat, vegetables, and potatoes, which don’t make as much sense in a highly-organized and futuristic society. Where did they come from? Who, or what, farmed them?
Find something to ground your scene as human and familiar. Remember, even a Retrofuture spaceship has to come with familiar foods for your astronauts of the future-past to eat!
Don’t forget that Retrofuturism exists outside of time, in a world that never quite got to come into existence — when you make Retrofuturist art with Daz Studio, you get to create an entirely new universe that operates on your timeline and with your aesthetics.
Find your perfect Retrofuturistic character and start rendering with the always free 3D art software.