A company that I’ve worked with on a few project trucks asked me to design a GM 2500HD for them. This design was part of a vehicle deck or proposal for a GM dollar car to go to SEMA 2012. After several rounds of discussion, the decision was made to make this a Stealth themed vehicle with armor plated look, flat paint and bullet holes – REAL bullet holes.
This was their sketch that their Art Director sent me:
Thankfully, these guys know what they are doing. When they came to me with a design they actually had a design, not just some half-assed ideas. I have never had a company come to me with such a good start for a vehicle rendering!
First off, I sketch out the general stance of the truck to show the parts, placement, angle and any extra mods that I come up with. These drawings are usually pretty tight but don’t show much value or shading. The goal is to get the client to sign off on the majority of the design before I get into color and value. I have had to start from scratch on a finished piece in the past because the client didn’t like the low angle of the rendering – I don’t make that mistake anymore.
Second, I block in the major highlights and shadows in a rough format. Usually, I just do the large surfaces and body parts that are not going to be modified (usually the doors, quarter panels, roof & hood).
After that, I drop in the wheels/tires and the other aftermarket or custom body parts. In this case, the client knew what tires and wheels he wanted as well as the pre-runner. For tires, I usually start with a photo and paint over it with rough blocks. I like the way that tires look when they are rough – after all, I’m not trying to create a photo. I was lucky enough to find a photo reference of the pre-runner that was close to the correct angle, so I used this as a base for the paint.
Finally, the details like rivets, highlights, logos, headlights and glass are added. The devil is in the details and I spend more time on this part than any other stage of the rendering. One very important thing to remember is that for these proposals, the supplying company (ie Ford, Chevy, Nissan etc) wants to see their logo on the artwork so make sure that the logos are not scraped even if that is the goal with the final build.
Once I have all the details the way I want them, I flatten out the body value and highlight layers and tweak colors and paint schemes on this layer. Always save a copy of the working layers in a group within your body group just in case though I rarely ever go back in and use them.
In this case, the client had no additional changes once I sent him the final. This is not always the case, especially when you are dealing with colors, paint schemes and livery. These guys were easy because they wanted minimal livery and flat black paint.
I love this rendering, I think it looks bad-ass and gets the point of the build across quickly. I look forward to seeing the final at SEMA 2012!