APP1: Developing the vehicle illustrations

After the last blog post that focused on vehicle illustrations, here is where I discuss some of the improvements I have made. Progress has been slow for most vehicles, and I am starting to feel that this project is getting the better of the schedule I have. There is an interim crit very soon, so I shall use this as an opportunity to reflect on the project and re-focus to ensure I achieve the brief in a suitable manner.

Golden Arrow:

Unfortunately progress has been slow, and I am still fighting with the Gradient Mesh tool trying to get it to work. I have had varying results, some almost successful and some definitely not successful. Here is how the vehicle currently looks:

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.44.23 Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.43.46

Despite this, there have been some good improvements though for the rest of the vehicle. The brass telescope that Henry Segrave would have used to see ahead from his low seating position in relation to the vehicle’s panels has been redesigned, with a suitable colour palette, and refined shapes.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.43.01

To achieve a suitable colour for the gradient, I found an image of a brass telescope on Google Images so I could take some swatches from it to use for my gradient.

Reference image for brass telescope
Reference image for brass telescope

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.47.42

Other changes involved some slight refinement to the wheel nuts and the band of light around the edge of the tyre, that has developed from just a thin black band. The big side panel has also been altered, with a more accurate cut-out to fit the shape of the wheel.

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The shadows have also been recreated more accurately. This caused me a lot of hassle as I struggled to achieve an accurate shape but in the end I did. To do this, I copied the circle that constituted the tyre and distorted it to ensure it was the right angle. I then copied the side panel to a unused area of my workspace, placed the edited circle now above the side panel and went to Object > Path > Divide Objects Below. The purpose of this was to accurately cut the side panel to the correct area.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.57.46

Another change I made was to do with the nose of the vehicle. I realised I could do better than I had done before, and noticed the form was different to what I had observed in the grainy old black and white reference image I have had to use. I have now created a much more accurate effect.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 13.58.05

Thrust SSC:

This vehicle has progressed much better, and aside from a few sponsors and errant reflections that need fixing, is complete.

The chrome has been developed, I realised that it should be a lot more vibrant, with the colours changed to match the ground it will be running on, as discussed in the last blog post about backgrounds. It still seemed to vibrant though as there were no grey tones associated with metal and chrome, so I have overlaid the chrome elements with grey and set the opacity to 15%. To get the highlight spot on the engine intake cover, I made an oval, filled it white, and altered the opacity at the edges so it faded out realistically.

As a side note, I also changed the Castrol stripe (red/white/green) so the end was circular to fit in with the blue and white sponsor, as it did on Thrust SSC.

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I also applied a Gaussian Blur of 4% to the Dunlop script on the wheels. It came out way too pale though so I duplicated and overlaid it to produce a darker blur.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.09.52

An area I have been struggling with is to replicate the bright blue reflection of the sky on the black paintwork of Thrust SSC. I think however, I am nearly there, and most likely just need to add a highlight in to finish the look.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.10.07

The sponsors are coming along well, although I am missing a few, but the big difference is replacing the lines I showed from last time. I found these ‘lines’ actually were where all the rivets that held the panels together were placed, so I have been sorting out. The most difficult part is accurately sorting out where they should all go and how many there should be, not an easy task from the reference images I have.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.12.55

An example of the development I undertake when illustrating can be seen below with the rivets. The design on the right is what I started with, but upon finding some high resolution images someone had taken of Thrust SSC at the Coventry Transport Museum and placed on WikiCommons, allowed me to re-design them to what you can see on the left.

Picture 1 copy

Other Vehicles:

Aside from starting Campbell-Railton Bluebird and finally working out how to create Sunbeam 1000hp’s spoked front wheel, no further progress has been made as I have been trying to iron out the issues with Golden Arrow and Thrust SSC, my thought being that if I sort the issues out with one or two vehicles, I will be able to sort the rest out very quickly, as the issues will be the same.

Here’s how far I have currently got with the Campbell-Railton Bluebird:

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To cover the Sunbeam’s spoked wheel, I had a chat with one of my tutors, who agreed with me that I would need to look at other spoked wheels to see how they worked, and added that the formula as such would probably be quite simple. Finding it however, was a different matter! He was correct, as eventually I did find it, as can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.33.24

Once I had created one set, it was very easy to fill the rest of the wheel. I selected both lines I had created, chose the Rotate Tool, which changes the mouse to a cross. Positioning that of the centre point you want to be the axis, and clicking while holding the alt key will bring up a dialog box.

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Entering the correct value in the Rotate dialog box that appears followed by clicking Copy creates a copy rotated at the right angle.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.34.12

To fill the rest of the wheel, I pressed the CMD +keys together which will create copies and rotate them around the axis I created earlier in the centre of the wheel. I am very pleased with the result it creates.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.34.25

Here’s an image of how my workspace currently looks to give a sense of where I am currently at with all of the vehicles for this project.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 14.28.59

With an interim crit now just around the corner, it is time to prepare for that so I can maximise my opportunity to get some meaningful feedback.