Steampunk Inspirations

A list of ideas and inspirations, from 3d items to Photoshop Resources to Name Generators, Stock Art... anything that we thought that might help for those who may be stumped or wanting to see whats out there, or what they might already have available, or what they just havent thought of yet.


Lessa 14 years ago
What is Steampunk?

This is off the link above.. but for those who dont wanna click links , Im posting.. cause it answers alot of questions I keep seeing.

I absolutely love this descrption, its so good!

What is “steampunk?” No, seriously. Fifty words or fewer. I dare you.

Steampunk is a style (of books, clothes, video games, movies, etc.) that draws its inspiration from old science fiction stories. By “old” I mean Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, and their ilk. Steampunk art is often (but not strictly always) indicative of a place and/or time wherein steam is the dominant form of high technology. Or at least it usually looks like it is. [Whoops, that's more than fifty words. But not much more.]

Okay. But why?

Because it’s fun.

Also, it’s a reaction to the school of design that says all tech must look flat and shiny and inscrutable; it’s a rebuttal of disposable culture and wasteful consumption; it’s a rejection of history books that only tell stories about rich dead white dudes; it’s indicative of a desire for technology that’s easily understood, easily repaired, easily maintained; it’s hands-on; it’s a creative outlet; it’s pretty.
So “steampunks” are all about Victorians with ray guns? Because that’s kind of what it looks like.
Sometimes, but not exclusively. I would argue that steampunk has its roots firmly entrenched in the 19th century, yes — but there’s oodles of room for it to stretch its legs. Some people steam up WWI tech (for example, see Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel by Guinan and Bennett), or let the aesthetic influence stories and artwork even farther down the time line (see Mignola’s Hellboy). Aviator/aviatrix-chic is quite popular in steampunk fashion circles, but the early days of aviation represented are typically from the 19-teens to the 1940s.
There are scores of “second world” steampunk settings — which is to say, pretend places that look very much like the 19th century did here in the real world somewhere on planet earth (i.e., the “first world”.
I’ve also seen people push it back the other direction a century or two. These stories or costumes (reflective of periods before steam power was in common use) are often referred to as “clockpunk” instead.

Where did the term “steampunk” come from, anyway? I’d never heard it before, and suddenly I’m hearing it everywhere.

Actually, the word has been around for a while. It is generally-agreed-upon that “steampunk” first appeared in a letter written to Locus magazine in 1987. Author K. W. Jeter was looking for a general term to describe his material (as well as the material of some of his contemporaries) set in the 19th century or 19th-century-like worlds, with strange tech and wondrous marvels.
He said: “Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like ’steampunks’, perhaps…
His usage here was a riff on the label “cyberpunks,” a then-newish and very popular genre that was very science-fiction-forward, loaded with bad-ass hackers, virtual reality tech, and (frequently) predictions of a dystopian future.
So what do steampunks … um … do?
Most steampunks have a jolly old time handcrafting jewelry, trying on corsets and cravats, building robots, turning squirt guns into ray guns, writing retro-futuristic fiction, having great big meet-ups, taking pictures of each other, and doing all sorts of other marvelously playful, resourceful things.
Also, we hold down day jobs, have families, clean litterboxes, meet deadlines, go shopping for groceries, vacuum under the couch, eat cupcakes, read books, moisturize, and just about everything else that everybody else does all the time.
That’s just how we roll.

I must know: Why goggles?

Goggles are fashion shorthand for ACTION, ADVENTURE, ACTIVITY, and other words that don’t even necessarily begin with “A” but definitely ought to appear in all-caps. They imply motion and maybe dangerous work — which means that if you’re caught wearing them, you’ve been interrupted while doing something wild.

Besides. They’re cool.

So, can you name or recommend some things that are steampunk?

Sure. Lots of people think that Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine deserves an early mention, and it no doubt does. And in addition to the aforementioned Boilerplate and Hellboy, check out fiction by Tim Powers, James Blaylock, Michael Moorcock, and K. W. Jeter; or some of the more recent stuff by Jay Lake, Ken Scholes, Ekaterina Sedia, China Miéville, George Mann, Stephen Hunt; look into nonfiction works of Jess Nevins (his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations, and The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana for starters); for that matter, pick up the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic trades (though for the love of God, skip the movie); check out some of Joe Lansdale’s “weird west” material; visit also Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s anthologies; look into the webcomic Girl Genius.

Watch the old Wild Wild West tv show; turn off the sound and watch the 1999 movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline. View Steamboy; Howl’s Moving Castle; The City of Lost Children nails the sentiment nicely. Play the video games Arcanum, Final Fantasy VI, and Bioshock (which nails the vibe without the time period). Listen to Abney Park and Rasputina; tune in to the Clockwork Cabaret. Play Unhallowed Metropolis.

Or don’t. Maybe just poke around the internet and see if there’s a steampunk group or club near you, and swing by a meet-up. Look online via sites like Steamfashion or (for U.K. readers) the Brass Goggles forums. Ask around. Steampunks are increasingly visible, and they tend to be a pretty inclusive lot — happy to proselytize and welcome newcomers.
(Really, though — everything mentioned above is just for starters. There’s scads more out there, and it’s usually not too difficult to find.)
Kethaera 14 years ago
Hopefully this is the appropriate thread for this. If not, you're welcome to move/delete and tell me where is!

I created a simple Steampunk Gear background prop in anticipation of this event. It comes with a rusty texture, but of course you may use your favorite shader if you like. It's rigged for Poser/DAZ Studio, but may be imported into any program that uses 3D .obj files.

It is hosted at DeviantART, just click the "Download" link on the left hand side to download the zip. You do not have to be a dA member to download, although I think most of us are.

Let me know if you have any questions or problems with it. It was created in DAZ Studio, so Poser users may need to do a bit of material tweaking.

quiarrah 14 years ago
Can you give me the link hon??
ROzbeans 14 years ago
I put it in the Steampunk folder at Tac-Club, too.
Kethaera 14 years ago
Can you give me the link hon??


Sorry, that's a FAIL on my part!

Here's the link
Lessa 14 years ago

Someone at DA sent this to me via note.. If you scroll down the page there is a steampunk tutorial for Photoshop for text and other effects
Eve 14 years ago
Oooh thanks for reminding me! I actually have that issue
ShutUpSara 14 years ago
Thanks for that epic link of photoshop tutorialness!! They have a lot of nifty things there ^.^
Lessa 14 years ago
Parliament & Wake

I found this really great site/community while goofing around on fb.

Its a very in-character steampunk storywriting, picture taking costume making everything community. There is some really cool lore, images, and tips on this site. Highly reccomend checking it out if you want some ideas on writing style or just inspiration for your story/character!
Nianya 14 years ago
Some pictures to help inspire folks to get in the Steampunk mood and help those of us not too familiar with it...

Winners from a past contest on on CGSociety ..

Some of them are amazing! I only wish I had half the talent with other programs like some ofthese people.
Kethaera 14 years ago
By the way, I updated the Steampunk Gear to fix some issues and make it more versatile. I overwrote the old file with the new one, so you'll just need to the visit the dA link again and redownload it.

Here's a couple of promos for the new gear. The texture has been redone and the gear scaled smaller. Also, as shown in the second image, the teeth can now be hidden for a smooth gear look. The brass finish is NOT included, it's a free DS Shader by Georgehaze that can be found on ShareCG.
ROzbeans 14 years ago

ROzbeans 14 years ago
There are more textures for them from Kaleya.
Eve 14 years ago
I would have been more excited over an actual scene for a steampunk saloon LoL That's prolly too much to wish for at this point tho huh?
Nianya 14 years ago
Omg I saw a cool looking bar thingy that would work for a steampunk like saloon. Would have to add little details, but it could work. Now if I can only remember where the hell I saw it. LOL
ROzbeans 14 years ago
Daz had that medieval tavern - that could maybe pass for a saloon?
Eve 14 years ago
Oh I have the one from Faveral at Daz, I have the old west saloon one from there too now since Lessa kept pointing stuff out to me the other day, and I splurged and got Merlin's new one at Rendo with the coupon couple days ago LoL I have plenty to work with, just wanna see what someone would come up with specifically "geared" up for steampunk
quiarrah 14 years ago
For Inspiration or general use. . .. .A friend of mine in one of my groups does some wonderful poser tubes and she has a western tavern set that could possibly be used for the Cog. . . .You can find her western stuff here:

Western layer(s) 1

Western Layer(s) 3

Layer 2 is more of a Kitchen so I am not including it. . .. but you can check out her blog to see if you can find anything else useful
Kethaera 14 years ago
A new outfit and hair with some Steampunk flair (ooh, I'm a poet and...yeah, I knew it) just hit DAZ!

Scarlet Nights outfit:

Scarlet Nights hair:
Eve 14 years ago
LoL Just saw that when I woke from my nap and was gonna come post bout it Good call!