The Tomorrow War - White Spikes Design

I had the great pleasure to design the vicious White Spikes for ‘The Tomorrow War’. (Watch it on Amazon Prime Video)

Be sure to read the interview that Pixologic has done with Ken on this topic!

The White Spikes had to be a powerful enemy. Director Chris McKay described the White Spikes to me as vicious creatures that attack and eat everything in sight. He asked for a compelling design that conveyed the hunger and intelligence of these creatures. Additionally, the White Spikes needed to have different abilities such as fast swimming and flying. It was important that they were agile and able to move extremely fast. It was my job to translate all this information into one cohesive design.

Because there was no clear description of the White Spikes, I gave Chris a few different options to choose from in the beginning. In this early stage, it was all about brainstorming and coming up with interesting ideas.

In order to make them more threatening, Chris felt they needed to have some kind of an offensive weapon, and asked for a plausible way of how the White Spikes could shoot at their targets. I came up with the idea of spike-shooting-tentacles and pitched the idea in a sketch. Chris and everyone else loved that idea and wanted me to develop that particular design further. I think it became one of the more memorable features of the design.

After that sketch got approved, I created a 3D model and a few renderings that were presented to the studio.

To my surprise, I was told at the very end that other designers (some I know and admire) already had worked separately on different alien designs, and ultimately it was my design that got picked for the film.

I want to thank Chris McKay, Rob Cowan, James E. Price, Peter Wenham, Randy Starr, Amazon and Chris Pratt.


I did a few render passes in KeShot, which I composited and overpainted in Photoshop.

Some Close Ups of the KeyShot rendering.

I made the 3D model in ZBrush:

Hope you like it!

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I saw the movie and really enjoyed the design of these white spikes, well done Ken :clap: and thanks for sharing the context in which these were created, very interesting.

Thank you Jaime, means a lot!

This is so cool, I’ll have to check out the movie. The spike idea looks really great!

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Great summer movie to watch! Thanks for sharing this and shout to the whole team involved with this!!

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Also big shoutout to the artists and animators who brought them to life: Weta Workshop, Luma Pictures, Framestore, Method Studios and Spectral Motion (for their on-set animatronic).

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ALL champions @Ken_Barthelmey :wink:

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I enjoyed the movie and I thought the white spikes were very cool. Thank you for sharing and great job.

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Lovely design Ken!

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Here is an earlier White Spike 3D Concept. This version had bigger insect-like eyes and longer hind legs.

Some KeyShot renders.


Absolutely incredible work on this creature. Love it.

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i saw this movie and really i was proud of you because the concept and model was fantastic, always enjoy to see your designs dear ken :metal: :black_heart:

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Hello ! i wanted to know if you could give us the Zbrush file of the white spike ! i really want to print that out and paint it !