Thursday, February 10, 2011

Car Design…

 I don’t really consider myself a “car guy”. I enjoy racing games. I’ve seen the Pixar movie. I know my fair share of the latest models on the street and many of the classics. But I don’t crave them. I don’t talk about them all the time. I don’t care if I’m driving the latest or fastest. I can’t fix them. I’ve never seen Bullitt
 As a designer though, there is a certain allure. I never had the chance to take a legit transportation design class in college, but there was that temptation. That niggling little voice in my head that said, “yeah, cars are cool.”

There is just something inherently interesting about the shape of cars; the whole format; the platform if you will. Four wheels, two headlights, etc. It’s amazing there are so many variants out there. So many interpretations for a fairly limited archetype.
 That little voice told me to give it a spin. Get it out of my system. I started this project, a long time ago. I just had to finish it so I could move on to other projects that I need to get out of my system. So about a week and half ago, I dug out my old files and started over. It’s nice to step away from something and come back to it. You see new things.
 I started with this as my basic idea: make a “super car”. Yeah, I know – cliché, but if you have to get a car design out of your system, might as well make it big and fast (looking). I wanted something that evoked classic 60′s cars (Dinos and Cobras and such) but still feel modern. I always loved this era since car design really was about the shape of things rather than how contorted the sheet metal could be or how many vents something could have (all functional of course!). Keep it simple. Make it nice
 I know there is a lot missing with this one. No side markers. No exhaust (hydrogen power?). The grille isn’t really finished. I didn’t do an interior since I didn’t start from the inside-out and no-one could possibly fit in it… or maybe they could. I took the basic dimensions from a Murcielago; overall XYZ dimensions, the track width and wheel base (although I ended-up stretching it a bit).
 I took this on as a personal challenge. There was a lot I didn’t know about car surfacing and overall proportions, but I know what I like. I like Cobras (as mentioned). Harald Belker’s Lexus from Minority Report is pretty cool. I love the DBR9 Aston Martin. The Ferrari P45 and Enzo are nice as far as super cars go. So yeah, I took bits and pieces from all of these to make my car. As such, I didn’t set out to make it fit any existing brand. I don’t have a name for this car. It’s working title was just J-car in all my 3D files. It could really use a logo on the nose and tail. Details…

As an aside, I should mention that all of this was done in AliasStudio 2008 running on my new Mac Pro. Overall, I am super impressed with the performance. The images are not renderings, but screen captures directly from the CAD application (with a bit of Photoshop for the depth of field and lighting effects). Real-time rendering has simplified my life in so many ways. I love to look at a product as it is developing and evaluate in under a variety of lighting conditions and in different materials. The “image base lighting” features added in the 2008 edition make for some fantastic images. These have a nice airbrush quality to them more than photorealistic. Not hyper real, but convincing. Maybe one day, I’ll do some Maya Mental Ray images of it.

This has been a really fun project. I learned a lot. I learned how many tools are in AliasStudio are tailored for car design that I don’t use on consumer products. I also picked-up some cool shading tricks that I may share at a future date.
Oh, and here’s one for the Cobra fans

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