“Well it'd be stupid not to try right?” this is pretty much what went through my mind when I read Tom's Brief for the BMW internship. I immediately started drawing up a 'master' plan to secure the place. I initially intended to do both options and produce and vehicle and place it in a scene I had created. The vehicle would be a BMW X6-M, chosen purely because I thought it an interesting design, a sort of mix between a 4x4 and a saloon car. The scene I had in mind was a quarry, full of mud and dust. Mud and dust that I intended to spray all over the car.
So with a great deal of excitement and anticipation I began modeling the X-6. I started very low poly around the front wheel arch, there were maybe 6-8 sides to the arch at the start. I then built the front wing, with most of my concern on keeping good clean flow lines. I built the rest of the car using this method, following the lines of the car in a smooth and effective manner. Once this was complete I deiced to try and up the poly count and improve the over all silhouette.

I used the turbo-smooth modifier to achieve this. Usually I wouldn't use turbo smooth but since this model was only being used for production and final renders, not games I felt justified . Initially turbo-smooth caused many problems and seemed very messy. After some reading online I refined the mesh by chamfering edges to achieve the hard lines and smooth curves I required. However the chamfering required a lot of forward planning and fine tuning to make sure is was left with clean topology. Once I had gotten to grips with this method the car really began to take shape and I started work on an interior. I didn't want to spend too much time making the interior super detailed, as the main focus would be the outside.
After I'd got the interior out of the way I began fine tuning the outside.
I had a lot of trouble with the shapes in and around the rear bumper. It has a lot of hard edges and changes in direction, which when chamfering and smoothing can get a bit confusing. After sorting that the front bumper was less of a challenge, and with that done most of the challenging shapes where complete.
I did quite a few test renders just to see how it was looking. These highlighted a few areas that needed work, the door handles for example were not smoothing in the right shape.
I want through this process quite a few times until I was happy with how the car was looking.
I had quite a bit of trouble balancing the brightness and contrast. It was either coming out too dark and undefined or too bright and washed out.
For the final renders I tried to place the camera in positions that replicated advertising images used by car firms. I think the low angel shots were particularly effective at making the car look aggressive and imposing.

I wrapped up my 5 best renders in a PDF and sent an email with all my fingers crossed.

John Hilliard

John Hilliard is an artist that uses photography and explores the ways a camera can distort your perception of a scene. This is quite interesting as it is commonly perceived that a photo tells no lies, whereas traditional painting can be easily distorted or changed especially when representing a scene. Photo's can often be seen as 'fact' were as paintings a mere 'interpretation'. ‘Cause of Death’ is a perfect example of this. This is one photograph of a body lying in a field, but the cause of death is open to interpretation. The photograph has been cropped in four different ways and each time there seems like there is an obvious explanation for the death. Drowned, Crushed, Fell, Burned. This questions the truth of a photograph and also could be a comment on the impact media manipulation can have on our understanding of events. They also also show how important composition is in how we understand an image. This is something I want to try and really begin to explore in my visual design work.

‘Camera recording its own condition’ is another work by Hilliard consisting of 70 photographs of a camera. Each photograph is slightly different according to the conditions under which the camera’s settings have been changed. Many of the photographs are under exposed contrasting with many that are overexposed. The aim with this piece is to show that an image can be manipulated and distorted even with just the use of light and the lens. There are many possibilities for error when taking a photograph and a photograph can never be a true representation of an image or object. Colours especially can vastly change. This in particularly becomes important to remember in visual design, there is no substitute to on site observational drawing. (happy now Chris?)

I find Hilliard’s work very interesting because, maybe previously I have rarely ever questioned the truth of a photograph. Perhaps a little naivety on my part, but now that I can see how manipulation can be so simple and have such an effect.