Another fun project I was working on for my own. It was a exciting challenge considering the limits of reference images are out there on this bike. Since it is a concept electrical bike by Ford they have only put on limited angles of the bike and the details.
I had to improvise a lot, which was where I found it being the most enjoyable part of it. Because I had to explore and use my artistic skills bit more than just go off of blueprints. This is also my submission for Academy of Art Universities Spring show 2012.
MODELING: - Usually starting with curves and working with NURBs at the beginning gives you lots of flexibility and a good base for the model. 90% of the model was build with curves and NURBS. Rest of it was modeled with polygons such as the disk breaks. After creating a shape with NURBs I convert them to polygons and refine it afterwards.
TEXTURING: - After the model being done and everything named properly to be as organized as possible and the UV's has been unwrapped I collect references. Here I had to improvise as well. For the labels on the wheels I tried to find pictures as close to be flat against the camera view as possible and then after masking it out in Photoshop I threw it in to Illustrator to make the bitmap to a vector map so I didn't have to think about the resolution and pixelation in the poor reference pictures I originally found. Then I put it in to mudbox and painted it to the spot I was happy. Painted some specular, and slightly varied shades of darker grays.
RENDERING and LIGHTING: - I tried to stay as close to the references as possible. Which was originally shoot in a studio environment so I decided to make the lighting as close to studio lighting as possible. I found that it is important to understand the form of the model you have, and planning head of time to what you want to emphasize on the model and its details. I found that about 5 lights are a good number of lights for a bike like this. One key, one fill/bounce, one key/fill kick and two rim lights since it is a thin and somewhat long object.
I chose Vray render engine to render the model, simply because it is easier and faster to catch the realism which I was shooting for, however, I do use mentalray as well but more often for CG artistic animation looks, because you can break the physical laws in a good way which Vray is more in driven by physical laws in my opinion. I always work with multiple rendering elements such as diffuse, specular, reflection, zDepth, Ambient Occlusion, RGB mattes and if I can I do break up each light for its own as well, in that way I get more control of the lights and can therefor change intensity of the light I want in composition.
COMPOSITION: - I chose NUKE because it is very comfortable to composite in a node based program. It is in the comp where everything really starts to pop. After some color-corrections, vignetting and chromatic adoration I was satisfied for now.
Feel free to ask any question, I'd be more than happy to help to answer your questions!