Concept sketches are the lifeblood of the automotive design studio. It is the core medium through which ideas and concepts are communicated. sketches inspire, direct, and serve as touchstones throughout the entire creative process. But as important as the sketch is, the rubber meets the road in 3D.
Unlike the sketch, 3D provides the ability to walk around and critique the design from multiple views. As a result, the designer gets a true sense of how volumes, proportion, light and reflection interact on the proposed form. It’s an eye opening endeavor, as unresolved surface relationships are instantly seen, fixed and changed. Often, while working in 3D, happy accidents happen and the theme takes off in a decidedly different and better direction. Ultimately it is in here where a design either succeeds or fail because it is 3D that sits on the showroom floor. There is little doubt that this is the most important phase in the automotive design pipeline.
Currently clay is still the best medium to understand, experiment and refine a design proposal. It’s intuitive and easy to conceptually understand. If a designer wants a fender to bulge more in a certain area, the modeler simply adds more clay. If it’s too much, clay is removed. Simple. And because it’s an approachable and tactile workflow, clay naturally encourages experimentation and serendipitous discovery. Proportion, section and volume are experienced in a way that’s impossible to simulate in digital tools like Alias, Rhino, ICEM or Catia.
But modeling plates and skilled clay modelers are a finite and expensive resource. It can be difficult to allocate clay resources to every single sketch. Sometimes great proposals never make it off of the drawing board.
Enter Digital Sculpting / Polygonal modeling. . . .