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Early Spline Based Modeling

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Creating Photo-realistic 3D Renderings using Advanced 3D Modeling Techniques with 3D Splines

 

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Initial 2D Design

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[2D Design]

After researching various contemporary cars, currently on the market, we designed a custom sports car using splines, directly in Macromedia FreeHand. FreeHand’s spline drawing and editing tools are more sophisticated and flexible than those of most 3D modeling programs.

Creating 3D Splines

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[3D Box]

We then imported the 2D EPS profiles into Macromedia MacroModel (Today we create most of our 3D models in Form-Z) where we placed them on grids located on the faces of a box where we would sculpt the actual model.

[3D Front]

Since we were most interested in the front view, we drew the first 3D spline from a direct front view with perspective turned off. This enabled us to trace the curve as if we were still in a 2D program. We didn’t use the original spline, because we wanted to position our points in strategic locations to facilitate the modeling process.

[3D Left] [3D Top]

Next we cloned the spline and distributed new copies along the entire front end section. By alternating views from the front, side, and top we are able to accurately position and orient the splines. It is easiest to use copies of the same spline so that you have the same number of points, in the same order. Once the splines are positioned to match the 2D profiles, we move the points to line up with items of the profiles where they will be cut. For instance, we had located points in the gutter between the hood and the fender so the separate body panels could easily be cut from the splines.

Skinning 3D Splines

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[3D Ribs] [3D Skin]

Once we were satisfied with the positioning of the splines, we then cut the splines where separate panels would be formed and the corresponding splines were then skinned to create the body panels. By creating all the panels from the split splines, we were able to have all the parts flow together smoothly. This would have been virtually impossible if we had attempted to model each panel separately.

[3D Quarter]

We then continued this process to create all parts of the model that would be visible from our front view point. Since we were only interested in a single view for this particular image, we weren’t concerned with modeling the remaining portions of the car. At a later date, we did return to the model and create the rear view and a wheel, all of which can be seen in the finished renderings.

Photo-realistic 3D Rendering

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[Wire Frame Scene]

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Once we had completed the modeling phase of the project, we imported the model into Macromedia Three-D (Today we do most of our 3D rendering & animation in Electric Image Animation System, Lightwave 3D and Strata Studio Pro). This is where we set up the scene for actual rendering. Lights and cameras are positioned, reflections are cast and the image is finally rendered. As a final step, the rendered image is brought into Adobe Photoshop where we perform any minor touchup that may be necessary before the final printing process.

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