Jun. 01, 2018
Automotive Materials: Prototyping
Car Prototyping Materials
Today, we introduce the Substance Source automotive release, with a selection of the first 45 materials associated with concept cars prototyping.
Artists and designers can have a photorealistic vision of pre-concepts at the earliest stage of the design process. The materials we offer are those used in the creation of mock-ups.
The production of a car model is a long process. It begins with an extended period of iteration around the shapes and volumes of the car. Once this has been validated, and to get an impression of the final vehicle, modelers build 1:4, then 1:1 scale models.
It is important to note that mock-ups aren’t always created using the same process. In fact, since they anticipate the validation of visual cosmetics, the process varies according to the part of the car constructed. Designers need to use rapid prototyping techniques, automated multi-axis machining and hand modeling of plasticine.
Clay is the reference material in the design process of a car. Its neutral aspect is ideal for the comparison of different concept-car shape proposals.
We created digital clays reproducing the material surface, taking into account the impact of the various tools used to shape, cut and smooth the model. You will get an ultra-realistic look and feel.
Digital artists can now use digital clay textures over 3D speedforms at early stages of design to compare the digital model to the physical clay mock-up.
Full-scale models are created in clay. They usually consist of a wooden or iron frame, which modelers then cover with styrofoam. They then smooth clay over the foam. After this, modelers use various tools and slicks to finalize the shape of the car.
Later on, the design process prototypes test takes place with the cars wrapped in crazy checkerboard or swirl patterns.
The level of preparation that goes into such seemingly haphazard patterns is considerable. Car makers assign engineers to be in charge of developing bespoke camouflage for each new model. They work in conjunction with the vehicle’s designers to erase character lines almost as soon as they are drawn. Future models must be kept secret.
So today, in Substance Source, we introduce vinyl camouflage materials, with eight completely procedural patterns. This allows artists to adjust patterns directly on the 3D car model – or even to design new patterns with the .sbs graph.
While clay might be the material of choice for the main body of the car, prototypes of additional parts may be produced using composite materials.
The composites have several uses. You can create communication visuals to demonstrate the design process of a show car, for instance, or you could get a glimpse of the component before even launching fabrication of the mock-up.
Artists now have access to materials such as carbon and glass fibers, woven composite textiles, and felt. And each of these materials is completely procedural – and therefore customizable.
Metals and Coatings
Finally, prototyping calls for the creation of metallic structures. They will be used for the reproduction of the surfaces of cast and machined metals, as well as for baked metallic paints used in low-volume manufacturing processes.