The Bugatti model was my second attempt at any kind of vehicle modelling. I had 2 main aims when starting this project and those were to improve upon what I had created in my first project as well as attempting an interior for the first time. I'll break the crit into several segments and follow my pipeline as closely as possible.
The first issue I had outlined in my Aston crit was that I hadn't focused on reference enough in the early stages and as a result I missed a few details out from the model. This time around my first move was to head to Pinterest, Google images and the Bugatti website in order to gain a broad perspective of the different details that could be included. One thing I noticed was that some of the details didn't translate between all of the images, in the end I took artistic liberties as to which details I would include.
In terms of the modelling I feel there are some definite improvements between this model and the Aston model. The thickness issue in the different segments of the model (ie the doors, roof, bonnet etc) was easily addressed as all it required was a constant value in the thickness tab of the extrude menu.
Another area to look at in comparison was the topology, on the Aston model I messed up the topology at the rear end of the model. In this project I feel like I took my time a little more and made some definite improvements in the area. Overall the topology is pretty good, it sticks to quads all over and flows pretty well. There are still some pinching issues in the model, specifically in the corner of the headlights. The main thing I will say about the topology is that I need to stop being afraid of taking it up a sub division level. Another crit of the topology would be the uneven surface by the petrol pump and also at the rear of the model by the break lights, I feel the issue at the rear is a product of the topology needed to hold the lights and also the area that holds the engine of the car.
The next issue I had addressed was that I had been rushing certain areas, last time I had progressed with certain areas before they were ready to be advanced. This time I was more cautious in ensuring that the early topology was able to conform to certain details when they were ready to be added to the model. The same can be said for extruding the different segments of the model, I waited until I was confident that each piece was ready to be extruded.
One thing I didn't notice until it was too late was the shape of the windows, the actual border of the windows is not properly aligned, so the actual window pain doesn't fit particularly well and needs to be bent in order to fit. I clearly hadn't thought about this when shaping the windows in accordance with the blueprints that I had, however I clearly didn't pay enough attention and certainly didn't think to line them up properly.
The grill is also something that I noticed there was an issue with, this was something that I only noticed in the final renders. When fitting the grill at the front of the model I used a lattice deformer to bend the grill into shape, the issue is that it appears that I didn't use enough segments when bending the piece and as a result there are noticeable bends in the mesh meaning it doesn't quite flow correctly.
Another thing that I mentioned last time was the tyres, I hadn't included any detail on the them last time as the work station I was using was largely inefficient and couldn't handle the increased poly count. After I had finished with the Aston project I did manage to buy myself a new work station, as a result the tyres in this project had a much improved level of detail. I was fairly happy with how the pattern tiled when creating the tyre, however it doesn't connect particularly well when the pattern was bent into the cylindrical shape and I ended up just bridging the gap as I had spent more time than I cared for on this area already. As a future side project will be creating a tyre on it's own and spending more time getting it right, I can then use that model in future projects
Moving on to the interior. This was my very first attempt at creating an interior for a car and as such there is plenty that could be improved upon.
So I'll start where I started, the dashboard. This was created by first creating a cylinder and then editing it to fit the general shape as seen in the reference images. In the end the shape wasn't quite right and as a result a lot of other things got thrown off balance. I feel the main problem is that I rushed the initial block out of the interior not thinking about how the shapes I was creating would effect the model later, this turned out to be a difficult thing to recover from later and as a result a lot of things are out of place and the general shape, particularly the central station, was wrong. One thing I was happy with was the steering wheel, though I did spend more time on that specifically than most of the interior. The steering wheel underwent a fair amount of trial and error in order to get the general shape correct, whereas most of the assets were just one shot models. Considering the extent to which I need to improve upon the interior I will narrow it down into 3 main points.
The dash shape, I know I've already mentioned an issue with the dash and the rushed block out, however this issue points directly to the shape of it. When I created the glove box I quickly realised that it would not be seen in any of the renders as the shape of the dash curves too dramatically beneath itself. At this stage I had already created a lot of the detail on the central console and it would have been far too time consuming to fix.
The door, more specifically the door handle, the shape is off and the surface is uneven. The reason for this is that I attempted to create it along the shape of the door rather than making it flat and then positioning it later.
The seats. Now for me this was the main issue as I really struggled to create the seats. This is something that I need to spend a lot of time on in the future and I will definitely be looking at as an individual project very soon. Although nothing in the interior was close to perfect the seats in particular really let the whole thing down. The main issue with the seats is that I just couldn't get the shape right, maybe I was impatient, maybe I didn't try hard enough, maybe the seats are just stupid, either way it just wasn't good enough.
In terms of the exterior the shading is pretty straight forward, for the most part it was applying a particular shader and just tweaking some attributes with a little trial and error.
The indicators at the rear of the car need to be improved for the next model. The case around the light is too thin in appearance, particularly in the colour, the orange of the case needs to be more dominant.
A large chunk of time, in terms of the interior, was taken up by creating the different textures in Photoshop, ie the speedometer, face of the gear stick, dials on the central console. I'm actually fairly pleased with how these came out as I feel they remain fairly accurate to what I could make out from the reference images.
One oversight here was not creating a bump or normal map for the stitching around the steering wheel and on the gear stick. I feel a little depth here would have made a big difference.
The main texture that covers most of the interior is the leather texture on things like the dash, the upper area of the doors and the seats. This was a pretty simple method and saved a lot of time, however I feel it was lazy and not always the correct choice for the different surfaces.
As I've previously mentioned I feel it's the car seats that let the model down most of all, but it's not only from a modelling perspective that they do so. I also attempted to create a bump map to create the diamond shaped seams that cover certain areas of the seats. These bump maps are not particularly effective as they fall a little flat and fail to create the effect that I was hoping for.
I like to play with my lighting set up at various points throughout my pipeline, I feel like it allows me to spot any glaring issues earlier in the process (not to great effect judging by the above crit).
I tend to start off with a simple 3 point lighting set up, in the case of the Aston project I ended up keeping that set up through to the final render. This time however that set up felt inefficient, so once more I took to the internet to reference some lighting rigs that had been used in real life photo shoots for a car, I then found one that I like and attempted to recreate the effect in Maya.
The frustrating part of lighting in Renderman is that the lights don't display in the viewports (Or at least a way that I know of) so I needed to be constantly re-rendering whenever I made a change. I know that IPR might be a more efficient of testing out lights and shaders but I personally don't enjoy working with that kind of workflow, I just find that it slows me down when it restarts a render with every tweak of a camera.
So below is the set up that I ended up going with for the exterior renders. This set up is vastly different to any lighting set up that I have tried out before
Light A was used as my main light, by pointing it to the top of the studio dome the light that filled the render was created by it bouncing around the studio, this allowed a much softer fill of light. This method avoids having a harsh light baring down on the model and creating unwanted specular highlights or blown out reflections. This also eliminated the necessity for additional fill lights to light the rest of the studio. The B lights were used to create a more dominant effect of the front of the model as well as creating specular highlights down the sides. I feel the effect works pretty well for what I intended, but perhaps it gets a little blown out in the final renders.
The C light was used purely as a fill light at the rear of the model to ensure no detail was lost due to it being too dull.
The other side of the lighting was the set up used for the interior, when rendering before creating any interior lights I quickly found that the interior was very dark and couldn't be seen. It was a pretty simple solution, I added a couple of area lights to fill out the interior as can be seen below.
I don't particularly have too much to say in regards to the renders themselves, they are what they are really. I do like using Renderman as it feels pretty intuitive and not many settings need to be adapted in order to create nice clean renders. Some issues that I found were things such as light flakes, such as the ones I found when rendering out the lamp design, I think I could solve this by simply upping the quality of the renders at the cost of elongated render times. So why not do that? Well another thing that I found was I that I rushed into creating larger renders only to find issues such as the aforementioned darkened interior or issues with lighting, even some new issue in the model itself that I hadn't previously noticed. Then came the other issues, setting the computer to render and leaving it to do its thing only to return to find that the computer had started an automatic updated and restarted in the middle of a render costing me a days work, this actually happened twice. So due to the fact that clearly technology hates me I decided to create the renders at a lower quality opting for 1K renders as opposed to the 2K I had been creating. This appears to be what caused the light flake issues, since they were quite simple to remove in the composting stage I decided to continue with these renders and try for some larger renders when I could spare the time to create them.
Not too much to say here either, the main job at this stage was to remove the light flakes from the passes to create a cleaner appearance as well as removing some light leaks in certain areas. Additionally I blurred some of the mesh lights to give them a softer appearance, more in tune with how they would look if they had been photographed.
Spotted anything that I've missed? Want to share your thoughts? Any questions at all? Feel free to contact me on Twitter or by email.