Hi! My name's Riza ( group: hi riza ! )
Let me show you briefly how did I create the model of my vehicle, Pivot :
My very first concept is a Roadster, then decided to went retro style because......I never make one :) At this stage, I researched and learnt many styles from old cars and also new car to try grabbing the feeling of classic-in-modern style. One car I respect so much is '68 Morgan Plus 8, I really love its grill design. Faboulous and vertical line, which I, in otherhand, love vertical lines, don't know why...
Then I skecthed some rough images with pencil ( Though I use computer, I really can't leave my primary tool...a pencil is always the best ). I always try to make distinguish shape whenever I designed something. For this car the shape is 'Double penetration'...wow, some words eh? ;) Basically it's double shape confronted and intersected each other. Why is that? A designer answer is that two shape is a representation of classic and modern era then blended into one....
While an honest answer would be : I simply like those shape, no particular reason :)
As you can see, primary shapes took place in below image.
Then I sketched a rough 'Final' design, a guidance for overall design.
After deciding this shape, I went to measuring effective shape now, means try to match it with more technical reason, such as, putting balance within center, wheelbase, width height length, cabin size, ergonomic and the biggest problem : automatic roof mechanism hidden in back trunk. Fixed measurement was not made in this stage.
Then I created low poly object in Lightwave 3D Modeler, which help me feel the compositions, shape and size of this car. In this stage it's often I do many improvement from original sketch. After many improvement, I decided to make width 1.8 meter, length 4.2 meter, height 1.25 meter, wheelbase 2.7 meter.
Then I use this version to create details. I printed it, then do some sketches. Really handy technique :) At first I made open roof version only, like Suzuki GSX R4. Put headlight above the front grill, charger style hood and big double barrel muffler ala street fighter bike. This stage is very important for locking design direction as I used this sketch to model 3D car. But after a while, it looks not like a retro style...but I just go on...very common in design I face this, temptation to make something else...
I modelled 3D geometry then made many improvement. Like changing roof design to become automatic panoramic roof, designed lamps placement, accentuate form with different colors, rear diffuser ( I like rear diffuser, looks aggressive )
Then I created more detailed versions. Thanks to Subpatch feature in Lightwave 3D, I can create low poly then turn easily to high poly interactively, back and forth. In this working stage I made some changes like removed sign light, added front air inlet, designed rear automatic roof mechanism, front head lamps, front low projector lamp, changes rear light placement, etc. Then I stopped designing for a while. It's very common for a designer that his/her head become 'dirty' and tends to become subjective to his/her own design. I took time a while to step back and see my design from different perspective.
After a while i continued designing the car. Then I realized front section is not what I want. Too sharp, boxy, simply ugly. I made some modifications so that now the front section transform to the shape I want. Below is Radiosity lighting testing. As you can see, I put headlight on the hood in this stage. Also fixing automatic roof mechanism, very difficult if I may added. Realizing it in 3D model is not like sketching on the paper...I can imagine how to make that mechanism really works in real car....more difficult i believe...heheh..
Then setting color and material shader...
In the meantime, I also create surface texture, mainly in photoshop. I use simple planar, cylindrical projections, and a bit UV. I grab some ortho view from side, top and back view accordingly then place it in photoshop to draw some lines using Pen tools.
Back to modelling, now I feel that those headlamps looks funny. Out of place and context. Ugly. Bad. Back to my research....then after watching many design from past, I found something interesting from American muscle car era. Phantom style headlamps. Basically a grill that surrounding headlamp. Though personally I thought that it may lower brightness of the lamps, it simply looks cool. This is a prototype car so theoritically I can do anything, now slapped it on! Hehehe...
Okay, the colors looks ugly. Not elegant. Too heavy. Some of my friends also suggesting I change the color ( Thanks Rey! ). So it is, I change the color...
Now you see more streamlined hood, put the headlight behind, previously, air inlet ( I lower the air inlet surface area ). Hmm but I still feel not right about the color...
Ah...I could go on for a while. Let's have some fun adding details...and tweaking material shader. Tweak tweak tweak...
I use gradient in incidence angle in reflections to have fresnel look. Now I think the color is not look right, I change it again become silver, but simply silver is not looking fabolous, so that I made Silver Chrome looking...and I add many details such as bumpers, side muffler and configuring roof top as you can see in below image.
Hmmm...the roof is not looking right. I decide to change it later with Black soft Vinyl material.
For lighting, I use Overcaster plugin from Eki ( thanks Eki! ). It basically creates spinning lights to get soft shadows and lighting to mimic radiosity looks. You can also see there's a circle where I 'borrow' from Menithings folder in Lightwave folder. It creates good shading in car's speculars and reflections. I put wrapped images around the car using Image World plugin then using HDR maps.
Now put more details like door handle, removing rear bumpers because it looks odd, and many tweaks for lighting and material until I get the result and you see it in the gallery...