Security Unit Vehicle

by | May 2, 2020

Security Unit Vehicle, from scratch to 3d print. This is the journey of the Security Unit vehicle design and production for the 3D animated short film Traces Retraced. We will update it as the process develops. Check back soon, but not daily! It takes time for development to happen. Final step will be to 3d print and sell copies on the Film Store.

And watch out for Isidro and Jara, they are loose and messing around on the site.

Security Unit Vehicle Background

When we started thinking about vehicles, we were not planning on working in their creation. After all, it was just a short 3d animated film. Instead we were still working on TV Story Boards to make the necessary decisions on the views for the scenes. I acquired the concept of this Security Unit vehicle (not a car, not a boat, not an airplane but all three) from “doodles” made while exercising our hands before an illustration session related to the 3D animated short film.

As I was drawing the doodles on the paper to warm up, I started to see shapes and made the doodles more systematic on a grid format. As a result of this, many other vehicles started to come to life. So on the page below you can see the first vehicle, a security unit, like a first responder. I am dedicating this journal page to the full process from concept to reality including a small test animation of its parts, like wheels, doors and engine exhaust.

I (or whichever artist I end up tasking with its final creation!) will dedicate time to each to show the process.

Screenshot after 6 hours and 27 minutes into modeling the emergency vehicle.
Sketchbook Page of Doodles for vehicle designs

Here is the sketchbook where the doodles were placed until I started seeing vehicles. The initial accident of a few turned into purposeful experimentation of shapes to creatively create new options. This process is now standard operating procedure in the studio. I plan to create a lesson of this process, maybe a course to teach this process to the new artists of the studio.

After all, we want to have an animation school in the future.

Progress Views of 3D Modeling and Production

Firstly, one needs to prepare the orthographic views of the security vehicle. This process is heavy on the creativity side. It is an item that does not exist. Many times parts do not agree with each other even when they do look correct. For instance, the windshield might look great from the top view but when you make it from the side view you realize people would not be able to see anything.

Using graph paper, one can generate a decent model but not necessarily be correct. It might look awesome and great on paper, but once you get down to the details, things tend to show their true face! Then below you can see the steps of its development.

Video progression of modeling process

The workflow starts with creating and or blocking the mass body of the vehicle that will be part of the science fiction themed 3d animated short film Traces Retraced. Blender 2.8 was used to create both the assets and edit the video of the screen capture.

Second on the series of screen recordings of progress of the production. It certainly is fun to see the body shaping out in 3D. One thing is to imagine and visualize it, another to realize it in semi-concrete form. Spent already 1 hour and 24 minutes up to the end of this video (not counting video edit!).

Continuing the creation of the body parts that will be used to shrink the individual parts, here in the 3rd video of the series I set the wheel arms and suspension system. This workflow is great for adding the minuscule details later with strong fidelity. Up to the end of this video it is 2hrs and 24min spent.

Next in the series for the creation of the body parts that will be used to shrink the individual parts, here is the 4th video. You can see that I prepare the frame of the windshield and the glass transparency. It occurred to me as I edited the video that I will be replacing that glass most likely, and that the transparency was not really necessary. Oh well, good practice never the less. Up to the end of this video it is 4hrs and 38min spent.

Now on the 5th video I set the window frame and final touches for detailing later. 5 hours 37 minutes up to this point.

On the 6th video I start working on the “skin” parts . 6 hours 27 minutes up to this point.

Continuing on the 7th video the “skin” parts of the nose are developed. 7 hours 44 minutes up to this point.

After some skin on the nose area, then moved to the rest of the body on the 8th video. 9 hours and 1 minute up to this point.

More to come soon, stay tuned!

Working the feet and hands of my characters is always the most enjoyable. Hands and feet are generally speaking, the most difficult parts to create. It is probably that challenge that attracts me the most.

The time I spent at Pratt Institute library just sketching from the masters’ journals was well spent. I only use references anymore when I get stuck with a part that doesn’t quite make sense. It certainly helps to make sure my characters do not resemble any particular model. But it took a long time to get here! I encourage all my students to spend time just recreating the masters’ works.

That left hand gave me a lot of work. I could not work it out from imagination (or memory?) and had to search for references. It went through a number of revisions before I settled on the current version, and the arm itself had a couple of revisions too. But I certainly love that right hand! It gives the feeling that he is really concentrated.

There is little particularly impressive on this one, but that head rest started looking good! This the last time I worked on the file before it corrupted.

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