Ten inspirational natural rock formations

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 in Inspiration, Uncategorized

As rockwork artists, we often find ourselves searching the web for reference pictures. Matching a habitat to an animal is usually the first stage when developing a project. Matching a species to a geographical locale is a high consideration as is rock texture, form and colouring. Nobody wants to see animals kept in concrete cages anymore and thankfully, forward thinking zoo’s now invest more time and money into species specific habitats.

This early research also works for other artificial environment reproductions wether it be an aquarium, theme park attraction or whatever. Often the client doesn’t know exactly what he or she wants. Gather a collection of reference images and it will prevent a lot of grey areas as the project develops.

The following ten images were accumulated whilst researching a project which required heavily stratified rock formations.


  1. ken tywoniw
    August 24, 2009

    Excellent variety of sediments posted, these would give a client some options to consider, then left up to aesthetic judgment, or what might fit the budget. Some rock types are chosen by how quickly and cheaply they can be performed, yet can still result in a beautiful and naturalistic setting.
    Not staying completely true to the ‘natural habitat’ concept, many clients, even in recent times, have been less concerned with whether or not the inhabitants look ‘at home’ in their native environment, but more emphatic about the rocks not looking ‘out of place’. Subsequently, we are told to simulate the rock types that exist in the immediate area of the project’s locale. We might have scenes of mountain gorillas being contained by tall, vertical, nondescript, concrete-colored coral substrates…which could exist somewhere in the world, I guess!… more likely at a zoo with an inadequate budget disproportionately divided between design over production, and most likely when the rock contractors must bid competitively and accepting the lowest bid is required. Let’s hope this becomes less of the norm!
    Nice research pics, Mr. Skitteral!!!

  2. Koda Creative
    August 25, 2009

    Good points Ken. I suppose our trade is just like any other in the respect that the client wants value for money. It is obvious though that ultimately, hiring the lowest bidder means that some quality is going to slip along the way.
    I agree that some of the low budget theming can look perfect though. Take the extra’s that sometimes happen at the end of the job? Often you have three days to throw up a load of rock and it turns out just fine. But sticking to my original point, good reference images are a must, whatever the budget.

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