The second big still-image project I did in Blender was the creation of a Concept Car.
Although I didn’t really have much experience with the design of cars at that time, I tried to draw some Blueprints of the car, fromt side/front/top, to make it easier to model the car.
This was, as I experienced, a good idea concerning the modelling and the reason why the result was relatively good concerning the subsurf-modelling. Especially because it was my first complex subsurf-model.
It was a bad idea if you look at the design of the car itself, since the design is obviously flat from the side, then more or less extruded to the side and only modified from both the front and the back. This is something I never became aware of, simply because I did only draw the blueprints, meaning that the first time I saw the car from a non-flat perspective was inside Blender. And this is one of the important things I learned from this project.
Because I was relatively proud of my model, I definitely wantet to finish this project and avoided stopping it because I didn’t like the shape any more. At the same time, I did my first tests with other renderers than the Blender-internal one which made me chose Indigo Renderer for this scene, not because I knew exactly that it was the best one for this purpuse, but more because I liked it and I wanted to learn how to handle it. Nearly a year later, I see back and recognize that it really wasn’t a bad idea. Probably it was the best choice possible for the presentation of a car.
I then thought about the presentation of the car. For the environment, I thought about different ideas like the place in a showroom or museum, concentrating on the simplity of the environment, making people focus on the car itself, and about the car on a bridge, driving, which I gave up because I had no idea how to create good motion blur in Indigo.
Then the architecture of Santiago Calatrava, and my fascination for it, made me try an architectural, modern background, which I developed and improved until I liked it. Nevertheless, the left building never became really nice and stayed more or less a work of some minutes, an object with the simple purpose to hide the horizon which I didn’t know how to create in a plausible way.
I filled the artificial lake in the foreground with two pieces of simple art, one with the intension to make the picture more balanced by giving a second possible focus point for the eye, on the opposite side of the car.
Now that was the result. The sky was a thing of post production, which was quite an interesting construction.
If I used a Skymap for the lightning, I would get nice clouds in the background and the reflections, but too soft shadows because I had no HDR-Skymap and so the sun simply wasn’t bright enough compared to the rest.
If I used the built-in sky simulation of Indigo, I had a nice sunlight with the fitting shadows, but no clouds in the reflections and the background.
So what I did was: I rendered it once with sunsky and once with the Lightmap, then I did a blender-internal renderer showing all the reflective areas of the scene and finally combined everything so that the reflective areas where a bit (not fully) cloudy and the rest had hard shadows.
The background was added in Gimp then, combined with anoter mask rendered in the internal renderer.
I don’t think the image is perfect, and I really didn’t succeed in getting photorealism here, but I learned much and got much closer to realism and good modelling and texturing than ever before, so it definitely was a success for me.