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Welcome to the first part of a new tutorial series outlining the techniques used to create a car, from start to finish. The car in question will be the Bugatti Veyron supercar, but these techniques can be used to model just about any type of vehicle.
Before we begin modelling we must carry out the most important part of any 3D project – collecting references! Without reference images it would be very difficult to produce an accurate representation of whatever it is you're trying to create. So, use Google and any other websites necessary to collect as many pictures from as many angles as possible to aid you in the modelling phase (please visit www.the-blueprints.com for blueprints). Videos can also be useful (especially if you intend to rig your model), such as those found on sites like YouTube. Also, if money allows, an actual die cast model can be extremely useful, as well.
For this tutorial we will be constructing the Veyron from a curve network. This involves tracing the major lines of the car using the EP and CV curve tools to create a 3D guideline of your model, which we will use to snap CVs to. Try to use as few points as possible to achieve the desired shapes. Although this stage is a little time consuming and tedious, it greatly speeds up the modelling stage and yields very clean and tidy results, so try to spend as much time as possible getting the curves just right. Also, don't be afraid to modify and add curves during the surfacing phase.
1. The first step is to find some blueprints (if possible). I found these particular blueprints from www.the-blueprints.com, and they will need to be cropped in Photoshop (or a similar package) before we use them.
We will set the blueprints up so that they reside in a different camera to the one that we are working in. This can help to speed up performance when using high resolution images and is a good habit to get into.
For each of the orthographic viewports, select: Panels > Orthographic > New > and select the respective viewport, which in this case is ‘Front' (Fig01).
2. Next, for each viewport select: View > Image Plane > Import Image (Fig02), and then locate the cropped image for each particular viewport.
3. Bear in mind that unless you rotate the top image in Photoshop, your ‘Front' view will actually be displaying the side of your car. This is nothing to worry about (Fig03). Also note that the ‘Side' view will need to display both the front and back images of the car.
4. Under View > Predefined Bookmarks, you have the option of Left Side and Right Side. The Left Side needs to display the front image plane and the Right Side needs to display the back. The back image plane also needs to be positioned behind the Left Side camera object in the perspective view (Fig04) using the CentreX attribute. This means that the front image needs to be placed behind the Right Side camera.