Sunday, 12 February 2012

Vehicle Design Porject

During the Christmas break we were given a few weeks to produce a vehicle design of our choice, its use (sea/land or air) was also up to us as long as this vehicle housed 2 or more people. I personally really like vehicles in any form and I have had a big interest in cars from a very young age so I was quite excited to begin. I straight away went for the speed factor (typical, I know) and I decided to make it off road. Now knowing a little about off road racing such as the Dakar rally I know it is an extreme challenge racing these vehicles because the terrain is not forgiving. I developed a few mood board to help me focus onto something specific, it also gave me something to fall back on if I was to ever get lost throughout the designing process. I found it important to also get grounding from nature, as I believe many of the first and even today’s designs involving any hard surface subject firstly is derived from nature; I also believe some of the most perfect designs are Mother Nature’s. 

I began coming up with thumbnails using a basic marker and ballpoint pen, coming up with basic forms of very large wheeled trucks, as these designs went on I added vents, intakes and curves to give the idea some uniqueness, suggesting aggression and speed. I added a sense of scale on all of my thumbnail pages so I would always have an idea of how large my designs are, scale should be an important factor from the beginning of any design process. A few of my favourite designers/artists are people who specialise in vehicles such as Daniel Simon and Scott Robertson, and in one of Scott’s Books “Lift Off” he actually explored his left hand ability’s; so I chose to do the same for my project because I have not trained my left hand to any specific rhythm considering drawing it is very free and this I found to be a very interesting experiment. 


I eventually finalised my thumbnails using grey markers to get a strong outcome of where I wanted to take the design, there were many different problems that occurred during this part of the project because I used influence form F1 as they are one of the fastest vehicles in racing. Large vents would cause a problem off road as dirt would attack the area very quickly, I also was attracted to the idea of an open cockpit but once again, off road terrain could put the drivers at risk. Knowing this I still pushed forward the design seeing how I could modify it without taking away the aggressive appearance. I started evolving the design into a 3D perspective to obtain a better viewing angle, I did these drawings many times on scrap paper to understand the method to a decent degree before putting it into proper practise because I wanted the quality of this project to be as strong as I could make it. After deciphering drawings from Daniel Simon’s book “Cosmic Motors” I began to educate myself on drawing symmetrical objects in 3D. 

I followed this up with segregating parts of vehicle such as the front vents, side intakes, rear exhaust system, an engine study and wheels/tyres. I did this to get my head around each part of the vehicle equally so when it came to finalising I could go back to these drawings and mix and match anything I liked. This part of the design process was kind of therapeutic because I had a strong backing of what I wanted, so this was only a bonus to do. Due to this I had no stress or worry and I could almost go into auto pilot mode when doing these drawings. I also hinted on the interior, this was important to me as an open cockpit vehicle would also show some interior, plus exposing your brain to the inside of a design just allows you to be more confident when finalising in my opinion. The engine study was done because at this point I wanted a semi exposed rear engine to convey large amounts of power, I did it really quickly as I knew there was a chance it may not even make the final cut but was simply exploration of “what if”.

After this I decided to work into colour, racing vehicles are always covered in sponsors and signs on top of their multi coloured paint jobs so this seemed like a important step. Using traditional media gave me a very messy, blending outcome which is exactly what I was looking for. There was no point adding in vehicle details or wheels or anything as this was simply a colour experiment, I really think the paint job of any racing vehicle is very important considering aesthetics so I gave myself strong variations to play with. 

Right, now I was finally satisfied with what I had and it was time to finalise the design to obtain somewhat of a functional outcome. For these finals I still added some open cockpit designs just for variety but focused more on the close cockpit, buggy like designs as these for me were the most appropriate for off road racing. Suggesting drivers inside the design was also essential in order to understand scale. I treated this like I was presenting it to a client, giving at least 12 finalised and different designs for the client to think about. They are not polished or perfect drawings but there is enough information for someone to make a decision on, plus mixing and matching can still be done at this stage which I also believe is important. 

Well, I finalised something I thought was strong enough to exist in a functional environment, so the cockpit had to be closed, the huge vents needed metallic mud flaps, a large wing was significant to convey speed; wheels needed to be bulky to reflect durability, and strong exposed suspension bars indicated functionality in any environment. I was satisfied with the outcome but there are always improvements, I didn’t get a chance to finish the final digital paint up of the final design but it wasn’t all bad as I got it to a toned level with clean line work so I can go back anytime to polish up the paint job.

A project this broad is annoying because you never know where to begin as the horizon in which you must act is too vast, I believe that if our tutors want us to be able to “concept” unique designs, they must give us limitations considering the brief for example, ‘a vehicle that has to be land and cannot be 4 wheels, also it cannot utilise a combustion engine’. Something specific like this would give us a “problem solving” state of mind where things that wouldn’t normally be used in vehicle design could be combined and a unique outcome could be produced. I still learned a lot and have decided to do more vehicle designs throughout the summer break which I look forward to.

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