One of the tasks required during pre-production of an anime, is the design of various mechanical devices that may be shown featured in the anime. This job is called "mechanical design" and is done by an artist called a "mechanical designer." There are two parts of the mechanical design process, conceptual mechanical design, and mechanical design.
Conceptual mechanical design is the basic stage, where the basic concept of a mechanical device is fleshed out. This may be as simple as one or two pictures. The Conceptual mechanical designer can often be a senior production member such as the director, creator, or art director.
The final mechanical design process is much more intensive and detailed. The mechanical designer creates numerous pictures of the device from different angles, as well as close ups of particular details. The purpose of mechanical design is to provide the animators with reference pictures, showing how the device should look under all conditions.
Mecha Design is a term that is used with different connotations. Sometimes it used simply as a shortening of mechanical design, and other times it is used to refer specifically to the design of mecha.
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