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  • Modeling A Formula 1 Car In 3D

    [08.29.19]
    - Aditya Rajani
  • In this article, 3D Environment Artist Aditya Rajani goes in-depth in how he created a Ferrari Formula 1 car in 3D using Maya and Quixel. He shared insights on how to avoid some common mistakes while modeling and texturing and achieve realistic results.

    Background

    Aditya is a highly skilled 3D Environment Artist who has worked on some of the most well-known productions in the nation, among them, CREED: Rise to Glory, CARS 3, BATTLEWAKE and SKYREACH. Widely in demand across multiple industries for his expertise, Rajani has served as a Lead Artist for Warner Bros. Games, Survios, Ten O' Six Productions, built Augmented Reality e-commerce applications for Vertebrae Inc., developed art on an award-winning E-learning mobile app for Tiered World Studios, and collaborated with Moriyama Studios/Visual Homes as a 3D Artist for their cutting edge architectural visualization designs.

    Rajani has also shared his expertise and advanced skill set at the flagship industry event E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) as a Survios demo guide in 2018, helping guide hundreds of attendees to get acquainted with VR technology. He has also led classes at the University of Utah Summer Camp, teaching 3D Modeling, Sculpting, and creating art using Unreal Engine for aspiring video game professionals.

    Breakdown

    Step 1: References

    The Formula 1 car is a complex machine. The sheer technical aspect of constructing a Formula 1 car is immense. Weight Distribution, Aerodynamics, Engine Power, Hydraulics, Downforce - all these factors change the complexion of the game. And so, to build a Formula 1 car in 3D, collecting reference images is key. It comprises of so many little parts, that having a few good reference images can really help push the realism further.

    There are several websites where you can grab reference images from - google, pinterest and most important - blueprints.com. To match the photorealistic aspect of a real F1 car, having orthographic views of a previous model is extremely important. With the help of the front, top and side view images, you can trace the car with the exact size and scale just like a real-world car.

    Step 2: Modeling/UV unwrapping

    Once you match the overall size and shape with the references, then you can start adding more details to the model by way of subD modeling i.e, by adding subdivisions/edge loops. It's important to stress that by adding too many unnecessary edge loops, the model can become quite high poly fairly quickly and practically unusable.

    One quick tip that I wanted to share is that with models like cars or other vehicles and weapons, there are so many little objects and keeping track of them can be a bit of a headache. Naming them appropriately can go a long way in saving you time later down the line. It's fair to assume that naming objects is something that can be completely overlooked while modeling or grouping objects, but by developing a habit to name those, it'll save you precious time which can be focused on other tasks.

    It's also important to plan ahead by looking at textures before you add details. In this case, since the car had different colors on the same part of the mesh (red/white patches), I made the faces/edges follow the color pattern so I can quickly mask it by assigning a material ID to it. Little things like these will save you a lot of time and often times, fixing it later will cost you more time and effort than recreating it so having that awareness can help you grow as an artist.

    With a model like this, unwrapping everything into a single texture map was going to be impossible because you can lose a lot of texel density by forcing all the objects into one sheet. So, I quickly grouped elements that were similar in material types and assigned them one map. For unwrapping objects, I used standard methods like planar, cylindrical and spherical mapping techniques.

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