Here are some early 2D sketches done in order to discover the design of the "Magellan" aka the "Prometheus". I did a number of these "speed paintings" to explore the shape this craft might have.
I made a number of very quick 3D studies to try and capture the look in the approved painting. The focus was on quick iteration of pure design, as opposed to a lot of illustrative polish. It was at this stage that the variable geometry VTOL engines were introduced.
Below is the final "first draft version" of the "Magellan" - aka the "Prometheus". The concept was developed in 3D to work out the articulation, and to facilitate views from different angles so the ship could be incorporated into key illustrations rendered by Steven Messing and David Levy.
Due to the severe time constraints, the 3D asset was handed off to the other artists as soon as it was deemed suitable to address the immediate needs of producing illustrations for the studio pitch.
But... I really wanted to do some nicer renders of the ship! Later on, once we were past the crunch, I threw some quick textures onto the geometry and put in a sky background to provide some context.
The first pass at the "Prometheus" was envisioned as a significantly larger vessel than the final, and the central hull was a bit longer in proportion, a bit more streamlined. These differences are evident when the ship is viewed from above and from the rear.
The very talented Ben Procter produced all the final iterations and details of the ship you see on-screen - at a later stage in the production cycle. And he did a fantastic job!
The artists at MPC also did a tremendous job of turning concept into final on-screen images that are truly breathtaking. They did all the shots of the spaceship and many of the environments - and really brought the world to life.
I would also like to mention Ron Cobb, who designed the "Nostromo" for the original "Alien" film. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ron on several projects ("Leviathan", "The Abyss", "Total Recall") and he was a de facto mentor to me. Though Ron did not work on "Prometheus", his amazing work for "Alien" and other projects was inspirational to much of the design work done for the film - certainly the human technology.
Thanks for looking!