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Streamliner Toy Car

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Date Added: 13th July 2010
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This tutorial is intended to guide you through the workflow of creating a streamliner toy car. The difficult level is intermediate, meaning you need to have a basic understanding of the process involved in modeling and rendering with Autodesk Maya 2010.

This tutorial consists of three parts:
  • Modeling
  • Scene set-up and lighting
  • Rendering and composition

Make sure you are working on a New Project. It should be saved correctly and set to Current Project. Applying Maya's incremental save feature is strongly recommended.


We are sticking with simple shapes, primitives as in spheres and cylinders. I have created a template to help you start. The template is saved in a separate layer to show our restrictions and the units are set to centimeters (Fig.01):

Fig. 01

Cube XYZ:
  • Placement: 0,0,0
  • Scale: 6,3,3
  • Subdivision Width: 2

  • Place the cylinder as shown in Fig.01
  • Scale: 0.7,1.7,0.7
  • Subdivision Axis/Height: 10


Start by creating a polygon sphere; it will work as the chassis part of the cab. Make sure you are only working with the necessary resolution necessary (see Fig.02). Place and fit the sphere according to the template, making sure that the middle edge of the sphere is running along the middle edge of the cube. Delete the bottom part of the sphere and the upper right part as well.

Fig. 02

  • polySphere
  • Subdivision Axis/Height: 10

  • polyCylinder
  • Subdivision Axis/Height: 10

Go to Create >Polygon Cylinder and place one cylinder on each side of the chassis. Make sure the cylinders fit the template in size and rotation. Next go to Mesh > Combine to combine both cylinders. Delete the history on the chassis and the wheels, making sure that both parts are set to FreezeTransformation. You are now ready to do a Boolean operation.

Bolean Operation

  • Step one: Select the chassis
  • Step two: Shift-select the wheels
  • Step three: Go to Mesh > Booleans > Difference

The chassis should now have the wheels' shape incorporated into the mesh. Now comes the cleaning up part. Booleans give you unwanted edges, so make sure you keep the shape of the wheels and go through the model and EditMesh > Delete Edge/Vertex for all the edges you don't want to keep. Also make sure you snap and merge all the vertices to avoid complications.

Keep in mind that we want to keep our mesh smooth and clean meaning quads are preferred. Keep triangles in places that won't affect the overall smoothness of the chassis. Use Edit Mesh > Insert Edge Loop Tool and Split Polygon Tool to connect everything up.

Quick Tip: After deleting one half of the chassis go to Edit > Duplicate Special, choose Instance and make sure you duplicate in the negative Z axis. Now all the modifications you make on one side will automatically be applied to the other half.

Have a look at the chassis and apply more resolution where needed. Once you are pleased with the shape go to Mesh > Combine to combine both sides and merge the vertices.

You are now ready for the second Boolean operation for the sitting area. Create a polygon cylinder, keeping in mind how you want the edges to flow, and place it roughly in place.

Sitting area:
  • polyCylinder
  • Subdivision Axis/Height: 6

Follow the Boolean operation for the sitting area - it's the same principal as above (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

continued on next page >

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