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Creating A Pontiac Trans Am

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Date Added: 14th April 2010
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Fig. 01


Hello everyone. In this tutorial I'm going to explain the process of creating a Trans Am. Before I start let me give you a brief review of this tutorial:

  • Section 1 - Modeling the Car
  • Section 2 - Car Paint, Lighting and Rendering

Section 1 - Modeling the car

First of all, let's talk a little about the blueprint or pattern we are about to use. When it comes to car modeling, some people always recommend using all three or four blueprints of main views. Well, in this case we are modeling a car whose blueprints are difficult to find. So we're going to try to get the idea from pictures instead of blueprints. I used some images as reference; generally the side view is always needed. You can try to figure out how the model will look in other views according to other images you're using as references. For my own way of modeling, I use only side images. Now this might seem difficult but when it comes to a model with no blueprints or a concept car with undone sketches it's great to have the skill to "imagine and design" the missing dimensions.

You have only got to set the images in the Max viewport. Just create a plane with the size of your image, and start modeling as described next.

The modeling method we're going to use is a simple and effective one. First focus on the part you want to model, and then start drawing on the side view with a simple Line tool. Fuse the end vertices, and easily try to make a wire patch. Take a look at the image below to get an idea what your spline should look like. Remember to create polygons in edit spline (by polygon I mean an area made with four segments and fused vertices) so that the Surface Modifier can turn the spline polygon into a 3D surface.

After creating the wire model apply the Surface modifier to the spline and set the Steps level to 0. Don't worry about the mesh; it's not supposed to appear nice and smooth. When everything is okay with your Surface applied mesh, right click on it and choose Convert to Editable Poly. At this point you're facing edit poly vertices. The key to success is the Cut and also the Quick Slice tool. These tools are active in any sub-object level. Use cuttings to make the model more and more similar to the main one (Fig.01 - 02).

Fig. 01

Fig. 02

There's something important about using the Cut and Quick Slice tools. Try to keep the mesh clean. What I mean is, don't use the Cut tool more than it is required. The more a surface is divided into polygons, the sharper result you'll get after smoothing, which is an advantage if you need some lines to appear sharper. But you are the one who controls this balance, so when you need a Hard Edge or a sharp line on your surface, use the Cut or Slice tools around that edge to make the smoother behave harder on that edge. Take a look at this image and notice the number of edges used to make the model appear non-smooth one around that part (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Alright, let's talk about the smoother a little bit. When you're editing the mesh in Editable Poly mode, there's a tab named Subdivision Surfac". Find it and check the Use NURBS option to smooth the model, with level one at least and level three at most. You can uncheck this option to continue editing, but do it every few changes you make to check out how your final result will look. Remember that the NURBS method performs a perfect smoothing on the model, but if you want the surface (especially a car body surface) to look nice, control the edges and polygons with the tools mentioned above.

I kept modeling a little more with the same method to get the result seen in Fig.04.

Fig. 04

continued on next page >

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