The Pacific Rail

Rail Station


Story pitch of this personal project: In the near future, imagine a utopian world where a bullet train island-hops across the Pacific Ocean joining Asia and North America. A pair of high speed trains glide both ways on a couple of rails a few hundred feet above the water. Frontier towns have developed along its route dressed in a mixture of Asian, American, and Polynesian cultures. The train itself mirrors the wealth of the great cities it connects—A sleek ribbon greatly contrasting with the rough nature of the sea and its planer developments. As an unregulated neutral zone, this newly populated ocean has created a new bread of sea pirates that are highly skilled and organized collaborating with informants in the mainland cities. Despite the heightened measures in security, train robberies remain a common occurrence as pirates continue to gain leads as to who and what will be taking the route. Sci-fi futurism and sea pirates are joined by spaghetti western tropes and overall theme.

The scene above is one of the Pacific frontier towns which the rail makes a stop. With the rail as their lifeblood, the townspeople hire a gun to stop the criminal network who’s frequent robberies threaten to shut it down.


The environment and prop callout seen above is the Aveline’s General Store & Saloon. Located on a remote frontier town in the middle of the Pacific, Aveline’s shop needs to stay well stocked as it’s one of the only sources of goods around. Being this far out along the rail, the abundance is a welcomed sight to see.

The shop is an frequent quickstop for many of the townspeople for food goods, tools, and an occasional drink. Space is limited on the frontier so Aveline has to make the best use of what’s available in her humble shop—and home; She resides in the upper room to better prevent the occasional late night thief.


A character sheet showing the hero fully rendered with several character sheet details and the full character lineup.

His shadows were created on two separate layers, 1. for form shadows and 2. for occlusion—shown separately in the white figures to the left.

The upper scene shows the ordinary world of our hero, a brooding private eye inspired gun for hire. Strung out across the wall, we can see his long history in searching for his missing partner—a forgotten case.

The lower scene is the hero chasing down his partner who—over the years—had gone rough developing a dangerous pirate organization along the rail.

Frontier Town and Mainland City thumbnails

Shown above is another angle of Frontier Town showing the dense population on the small island. The citizens came out here seeking to make a simple life away from the towering cities which cover the mainland. Although this may be considered a developed city, the people continue to use the terms ‘town’ and ‘frontier’.

On the right is the isolated and hidden pirate base of operations. The pirate network organizes train robberies and terrorizes the frontier.

Pirate Outlook

Rail Dock

Above is an early rendition of one end of the rail entering California north of San Francisco; Across the Pacific Ocean, the other end crosses over Japan ultimately reaching Shanghai.

On the left is a render from Maya—this was my first time using 3D software for a paint over! This is a technique commonly used to quickly iron out the perspective of geometry and is something I've wanted to get into for a while now; I love 3D modelling and digital painting, so this sort of approach is perfect for me. It would have helped a lot and saved time if I had done this with the first scene—the struggle in figuring that one out prompted me to construct this scene's geometry even though it's almost a profile view. 

My Academy of Art Visual Development MA Thesis Book: