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Making of 'Heavy Unit Industries F1 Prototype'

By Mike Hill
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Date Added: 17th August 2009
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop
456_tid_fig29.jpg

Introduction

The idea behind this car came mainly from a love of sci-fi and vehicle design. The engineering of F1 cars and aircrafts is also something that always blows me away, so I wanted to try and develop something that would blend the two areas together somehow.

The design started as a really low-poly blockout that I made in my lunch break at work (using 3ds Max). I was literally just messing around with primitive shapes and modifiers such as bend, taper and twist.

The great thing with these modifiers and others is that they are non-destructive and constantly adjustable. With a little care and attention, nice simple and clean forms can be made and then copied and adjusted even further. Throw lots of shapes into loose combinations and its possible to get some nice 3D thumbnails.

A good way to play with this is to make a simple shape such as a cylinder and play with the modifiers in the stack, changing their hierarchy and adjusting the original primitive specs such as size and segments on the go.

Once I started playing with the shapes and volumes, I came up with a file full of subtle variations (Fig.01). My focus at this point was to keep the spherical wheels as dominant as possible.

456_tid_fig01.jpg
Fig. 01

Fig.02 shows a close up version of one of the variations just to show the scrappiness and simplicity of the mesh. From this, I could take the simple mesh and do paintovers to try and play with the design a little bit. This sometimes produces nauseating results (Fig.03) - not my proudest moment, but a development nonetheless! 

456_tid_fig02.jpg
Fig. 02

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Fig. 03


Fig.04 was an attempt to develop the shape while experimenting with some materials. I threw the car into a scene with a brushed metal template from arch and design materials and the daylight system. To get the tyre tread on the wheels I simply took the wireframe out of the viewport and used it as a guide to get accurate diagonals across the surface in Photoshop.

456_tid_fig04.jpg
Fig. 04

With vehicles and anything mechanical I find this is a good method in order to maintain strong proportions. Also, the lighting calculations give a strong base to work from that I could never do in 2D.

The design was looking a bit like a hot dog so I tried to pull a more defined silhouette out of the shapeless blockout and bring in some features to give it more character. I wanted to retain the core cylinder as it seemed like a strong centre for the suspension system and the visual design (Fig.05).

456_tid_fig05.jpg
Fig. 05

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