Sharing the Road
"Sharing the Road," is the theme for the 2007 Michelin Challenge Design™ (MCD) (www.michelinchallengedesign.com
), a year-long transportation design event that culminates at the North American International Auto Show (January 13-21, 2007) at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. This year's entrants - over 260 of them from around the world - addressed cars and other light vehicles, semi trucks and passenger buses as well as road users on two wheels and two feet.
Bob Miron, Michelin's director of technical marketing, notes some of the design solutions selected by this year's eight-member jury - an expert panel of renowned designers, transportation industry educators and safety experts - addressed being "doored."
"The xV concept from Marin Myftiu of Albania features a locking system that prevents a door from being opened for a few seconds after the vehicle is turned off when an object approaches within the door's span," said Miron.
This tutorial covers how Marin Myftiu modeled/created his entry.
Car design technique; Concept to scale model.
During this tutorial, I will explain the whole process I have followed for designing a car. It will not be a detailed, step by step method since it covers many fields beyond Blender or even your own PC. This is an overview of the whole process, with occasional focus on particular techniques. We will start with the concept sketches and end up with a 1:6 foam scale model.
First of all it takes a lot of thinking -> sketching ->rethinking -> re-sketching. Car modeling is the most frustrating thing I have seen in 3D modeling up to now and you’ve got to have crystal clear ideas (or almost) of the ins and outs, solid and voids, bumps and depressions of that surface before you start off; most frequently, big mistakes found during 3D modeling will require you to redo most of the work, that may be whole weeks. So first of all, do a lot of sketches and different views to clarify as many details as possible.
As you might have seen in car modeling tutorials, it always takes blueprints of that particular car and the same is needed for your own concept. For some precise blueprints you can use freeware vector software like Inkscape (like I did). Inkscape alos helped me go one step ahead of my sketches, making a colored illustration. When working on the blueprints, I would advise to keep an existing car blueprint on the background to keep the proportions in check.
Well, assumed that we have done all the above correctly, it’s time to warm up the Blender engines. I am on a 64bit AMD machine and 64 bit system so the x64 / SSE3 optimized build gives a lot of added rendering power (+75%) compared to the standard. I will not cover here, in detail, the whole modeling as it is a tutorial apart but, a few concepts are almost vital when turning your concept into a 3D:
Part Subdivision. Always subdivide your model body into distinct parts (doors, sides, cowling, mirrors etc). Attempting to separate some parts after having done some modeling, by cutting or other methods, will cost you a lot of time and efforts to correct/adjust them.
Grid Resolution. The same is to be said when you model the polygons. The technique I have used is pretty straightforward; Extrude a point following distinct curves on the background blueprint. Neighboring curves should have appróximately the same number of vértices to form as many regular, four vertex faces as possible. You have to set in mind the exact positioning of the main curves since any latter cut or loop cut may seriously damage the surface.
Correct Lighting. Usually I use a traditional 3-lights scheme and play with them to get good lighting and since most often time is a concern so I don’t include radiosity or occlusion in test renderings.
After all the work, the final renderings looked something like this:
When finished with the renderings and photo editing, it was the time to start thinking about the scale model. While I was not an expert with Blender, a scale model was something in which I had zero experience and all I had at my disposal were simple tools like a saw, shaping gauzes, scissors, rulers, a simple caliper and few other things.
The first thing I did was to print all the three main views of the model in 1:6 scale (the model’s real scale). These images on the wall served throughout the modeling process as a 1:1 reference for most of the dimensions; you open the caliper according to the part you want to measure and then compare it with the real dimension on the model, pretty straightforward.
Another trik in which Blender helped me, was preparing cardboard templates of some given body sections. I subdivided the whole length of the xV in 12 sections and cut the car body after those sections. After rendering each section cutout, scaling them in the GIMP and then printing, we only have to stik each section on a cardboard piece and carefully cut the hollow part. After this operation, the only thing to do remains marking the sections on the working board according to the distances of the sections we have in Blender, so we can place the right section at the right distance to chek the worque progress.
And this is the final output. This model will be displayed by Michelin on the North American International Auto Show, in early January 2007. As you could see most of the process, Blender played a crucial role not only in modeling and rendering but alos in putting together a correct scale model and the result was pretty satisfactory.
Marin Myftiu is from Tirana, Albania. He is currently studying Architecture and working part time as graphics designer. He is working in architecture, product design, interior design projects and more importantly seeking an career in car design.