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Modelling the Nissan R390 GT

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Part 1: Modeling the Nissan R390 GT in 3ds max 5

>> Section 7: Finalizing

This last section will be quite fast. It's all about adding small details to the car. I will just point out how i started, then you can refer to the images to see the results. If you arrived here, you should already know how to use poly modeling and that's how i did the small details.

Fig.52-53: the windshield wiper: nothing more then bent and tapered primitives! Be carefull in the touching area between the wiper and the windshield

Fig.54: antenna: nothing spectacular here....

1) Windshield wiper: I did this part by looking at one of my car's wipers and making it similar, considering that the one i had to model was a single and slightly different one. As you can see from the image (Fig. 52 and Fig. 53) it was quite easy (even if time consuming): i just created and positioned some boxes with enough setments, then fiddled around with the taper and bend modifier. I then edited some smaller details and added other parts (alway primitives anyway). Just try to be very precise where the wiper touches the glass or you'll mess up the reflections: use a side view to position you vertices correctly.

2) Antenna: This was the easiest part :-). Look at Fig. 54 and don't ask me anything :-P

3) Turning lights: Same as above, just a squashed sphere and an edited chamfer cylinder, look at Fig. 55. Just carefully position them!
4) Engine: I had very little references for this (just a shot from a little plastic model) so i tried my best. I have now a nice image of the real engine (without the car!) so maybe i'll do it again from scratch in the future. So, i tried to figure out the main parts and used primitives and splines with little editing to add some details (anyway nobody will see them from the ouside), and i also used the "grreble" plugin on a couple of boxes to add fake detail. You can look at the engine in Fig. 56 and Fig. 57

5) Interiors (seats, roll-bar, wheel, dashboard): I found some references images of seats and driving wheels, and modeled them with a medium detail as this will be enough. The driving wheel is modeled with the same technique as the rims, with an outer torus primitive and an inner cylinder: the mesh in Fig. 58 should speak for itself. The seats and small details are all built starting from boxes and editing/cutting in poly mode as usual: there's nothing very special about this parts so just take a look at Fig. 59 and Fig. 60.
In Fig. 61 you can see the roll-bar, which is never really well seen from the outside: it's just a bunch of renderable spline. You can also see the other interior parts: very easy box modeling with no particular detail: just make them fit properly.

6) Rearview mirrors: Same story as the other simple part, a couple of edited boxes and a couple of cylinders is all you need. Take a look at the wire in Fig. 62 and a closeup in Fig. 63 and Fig. 65. Just be really carefull in positioning the reflecting surface so it doesn't intersect the outer mesh.

7) Screws: These are so small nobody will notice the difference, anyway i found it nice to model these at an average level. Look at Fig. 64 and Fig. 65 to see some screws (wow!).

8) Refueling inlet: I outlined the thing with circle and rectangles, joined them and added a "bevel" and "bend" modifier. The "bevel" doesn't add any geometry on the front and back face, so i had to manually cut the mesh ("quickslice") so i could use the "bend" modifier. It won't be meshsmoothed so i didn't really care if the cage was a bit messy so didn't waste time in welding vertices or such. I added 2 chamfer cylinders inside the holes, with a snaller radius. Look at the inlet in Fig. 66.

Fig.55: easy details: model 2 separate surfaces with different materials, or one surface with a multi-subobject material

Fig.56-57: the mighty engine: quite believable, considering the only reference image i found.

Fig.58: the driving wheel: similar technique as the rims

Fig.59-60: seats: plenty of references on the net, so it was quite easy

Fig.61: interiors: very fast and low detail parts

Fig.62-63: trearview mirrors: one of my favourite songs from Pearl Jam, and an easy part as well!

Fig.64-65: a screw driver please: quite useless but easy enough to be done

Fig.66: fuel? i had no decent reference for this, anyway shouldn't be too far from reality

Fig.67-68: thiddem parts: don't waste time on these, nobody will really see them!

Fig.69: other hidden parts: the main purpose of these surfaces is to get correct GI lighting on the interiors...

9) Additional surfaces (front grid, bottom, inner mudguard): These are low detail surfaces: nobody will ever see the bottom (it's just there for the GI calculation to be right) and the wheels are covering the "mudguard" parts.
The bottom (Fig. 67) is an extruded spline, i then adjusted vertices and sliced where needed. The mesh is a bit messy, i don't really care.
The mudguards (Fig. 68) are chamfer cylinder primitives, converted to poly. I then deleted the faces i didn't need and moved some vertices to make everything fit correctly.
The front grid is simply a bent plane (i used 2 "bend" modifier for 2 different directions) with many segments, then i added a "lattice" modifier adjusting the settings to have the less geometry possible. I also put 2 similar grids under the small bonnet air intakes, but still i have to find a view where someone can actually notice them ;-).
I also separated the engine area from the driver's area and put a surface in the back under the engine (Fig. 69).


Wheeeeeww!!! This was harder (and longer) than i thought! I really hope you found something usefull to you in this tutorial. Modeling a car can take a very long time, and there's always one more detail you want to add, but you have to come to a stop. I felt this car to be complete for what i had in mind (i actually modeled more than i expected in the end) when i positioned the screws, and it has taken more than 2 months of my spare time to complete it. Anyway when i finally saw the final renders i was really happy for the time i dedicated to this project: completing a big project is really difficult when you come up with a new project idea every day, and that happens to every 3d passionate, i think: i can understand all those never finished wip we see around, i have a ton myself. I found this tip usefull: from the start i decided that i didn't want to post this car on any forum until it was 100% finished. I just got some feedback from friends. In fact, when i post a wip i often loose interest in it, i can't explain why in a few words, anyway maybe it's the same for some other guys.

Some final words of wisdom (not that i feel i am in a posion to offer some, anyway after all this typing some more lines won't hurt...):
If you find a very hard step in your project, keep trying for some time and if you can't solve the problem, go on with another part of your project or take a break and go outside with friends and drink a lot of beers (and don't try to model when you're drunk: you'll think you're doing a great job, but the day after you'll see thousands of errors and you will ask yourself who the hell came in your room at night to mess up your surfaces! I tried it!). Than after a couple of days get back to the problem: things will sometimes appear easier than they did.
And ask on forums for help. There's a lot of great talented people which are there to help (if you already tried it hard by yourself, of course).
Another life-saving tip is: save your work. Now. My save folder for this project has 155 files, for a total filesize of 0.97 Gb: today hard disk space is not a problem, and you will thank god when you will realize you messed up a mesh and you can recover it from a previous save. Moreover if i didn't have those files i wouldn't have been able to get the images for this tutorial!

If you find a difficult section or feel i can correct something or explain better, or for anything you want to ask me, mail me here. I'll try to help as fast as i can.

That's it. Now i need some serious sleep. The next part (painting the car) will be done in a near future (i am already working on it) and will be really shorter (and easier) than this. Stay tuned.


A huge thanx goes to my gf for putting up with me and my 3d illness, which takes up so much of my life: my next short will be in her dedication.


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