Modeling and Rendering a Vespa in Blender

Learn how to create and render one of the most famous Italian scooters: the Vespa!


In this tutorial I'll show you how model and render one of most beautiful (in my opinion) Italian scooter s: the Vespa 50 Special. These scooters are characterized by their soft lines and distinctive design that have made the Vespa famous around the world. There are many models of Vespa and I've chosen this one because I've got one in my garage, and it was my first love!

Step 1: Blender Windows Setup

First of all, search for some reference images. Open them with Gimp and, if necessary, reduce the resolution - images that are too big will slow down the viewport.

Cut the images (front/rear, left/right) at the same height and width, and save them in a folder.

Open Blender, delete the default cube, change the view mode from Prospective to Orthographic (Numpad 5) and add background images (N key and Enable Background Images). Be sure that all the images are perfectly centered.

Blender viewport

Blender viewport

Step 2: Modeling

In the top view (Numpad 7), add a plane (Shift + A > Plane). Then jump into Edit mode (Tab key), delete two vertices on the left side and add Mirror and Subsurf modifiers (set the subdivision to 2 and enable Optimal Display).

Start to model the body of the Vespa by extruding vertices (E key) and trying to follow the curves of the scooter. Don't use too many points because it will be difficult to maintain the soft curves if you want to make any changes.

Once you've finished the body, extrude the edges of the mesh to create thickness. If you need to, enable MatCap display (N key > Display > MatCap) to check if there are artifacts on the model.

Modeling body

Modeling body

Step 3: Add Details

Model the wheels (add a circle and extrude), tires, suspension and engine.

There are a lot of nuts and bolts in this model, which can be added using the Bolt Factory addon (File > User Preferences > Addons > Addmesh Bolt Factory).

Model the seat, front and rear headlight (start from a plane mesh with Mirror and Subsurf enabled).

Add the cables and a border of aluminum using bezier curves and enable Bevel (set Fill to full). The more details we are able to add, the more realistic the result will be.

Add details

Add details

Wireframe render test

Wireframe render test

Step 4: Material Setup

We will use the Cycles render engine for this project.

The scooter paint is a mix of a diffuse and glossy shader, both mixed with a glossy. The wheels and metal details are glossy materials with different level of roughness. The skin of the seat is a mix of diffuse and glossy shaders, with a voronoi texture as a bump map.

In Edit mode, unwrap the tires and use a footprint texture as a bump map. The headlight is a glass shader with IOR set at 1,45 and a texture as a bump map (see this Blender file for more details).

Material settings

Step 5: Render Setup

We'll use the classic studio setup with a rear plane and 3-point lighting. The floor plane will be slightly reflective to give reflections on the floor.

We'll use extra channels for the post-production, so go to the Render layer menu and enable AO and Glossy Direct channel. Set the Render Samples at 1000 and hit F12 to start the render.

At the end of the render process, save the images (AO, Glossy Dir and Combined channel), open them in Gimp and use the AO and Glossy channel to improve the reflections (set the Blend mode to Add or Overlay).

Scene setup, AO and Glossy layer

Scene setup, AO and Glossy layer

Top Tip 1: Paint Material

To make more realistic paint material, I usually mix two or more colors using a Layer Weight node. Sometimes it is difficult to choose the right value in the node, so I start by using two high contrast colors (white and red) and once I find the right setting I replace them with the final colors.

Layer weight node setting

Layer weight node setting

Click HERE to see the previous tutorial in this series.

Want to start from the beginning? Click HERE to see the first tutorial in this series.

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