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Creating A Pontiac Trans Am

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Date Added: 14th April 2010
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The method for modeling the rest of the object is the same. Start with a Line, continue your way to Edit Spline, add, move and shape new vertices and segments according to the image and make a spline cage ready for Surface Modifier to serve you with the third dimension. Set the Steps level to zero and convert the mesh to editable poly. Add, move, and shape new vertices and edges in editable poly mode and use NURBS to smooth the mesh. Finding and using a Front View Blueprint or image is very useful to guide us to how much we should move the vertices along the Z Axis. You can add this image later just to fix up the model and make it more accurate.

So we have this after a few steps (Fig.05 - 06).

Fig. 05

Fig. 06

Section 2 - Modeling the car

In this section we are going to talk about Car Paint Material, lighting, rendering and the Photoshop settings to use to get a good result. These steps lead us to get a good render without using a lot of time. I'm going to use the mental ray engine for the rendering passes, but the method could be used with any other engines too. I've chosen mental ray as it is a part of 3ds Max and so we can easily apply ready to use shaders and settings.

So, let's start with the car body material. One of the greatest materials included in mental ray is Car Paint Material, which could be found in the Materials list if you set the rendering engine to mental ray. So press F10 and in the Assign Renderer tab change the Production renderer to mental ray. Open up the material editor and choose an empty slot. Set the material to Car Paint Material. (Mental ray materials are shown with a yellow sphere).

There are a few tabs in Car Paint Material. Let's have a brief review:

  • Diffuse Coloring: here you set the color of the car body, controlling weight and bias
  • Flakes: here you set the density, color, scale and other options of the body paint through tiny metallic pieces called Flakes
  • Specular Reflections: here you set how the body paint will respond against light and GI
  • Reflectivity: here you set how reflective and shiny your body paint is
  • Dirty Layer: here you can make the surface look dirty by applying a dirty layer
  • Shaders: here you can apply any desired map to any parameter you need to.

We start with setting the Diffuse Coloring for the material. Change the Base Color to our desired one but to get better results let's use a Falloff map instead of a solid color. Also to make some tiny metallic flakes on the surface, set the flake color to a bright one (better use a Falloff map) and control the weight, size and density with the parameters available. This is how the material should look like so far (Fig.07).

Fig. 07

When applying the Falloff map, change the Falloff type to Fresnel to get better results. Ok now let's set the reflections for the material. It's easy; first of all set the Reflection Color. We use a Falloff map for this part again. Remember, the brighter the color, the more reflective a surface we will get. But after setting the color you can change the reflection weight (both on facing and edges) to control how the surface behaves as a reflective object. There's also a very useful parameter named Glossy Reflections Spread, which I'll explain a little later, but just for your information this parameter helps us to make a blurry reflection on the surface, with the sample numbers under our control.

Another useful tab is the Specular Reflections. Here you can set the specular point's size, colors and weight. Keep the first color (Specular Color #1) near to your Diffuse Base Color, but to get different results you may also want to set a different color or weight. In Fig.08 you can check out the settings I've used for the reflections.

Fig. 08

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