- ABOUT US _ Drive is an Automotive Design Consultancy building long term relationships with design-driven companies worldwide, designing products that enhance their brand's DNA and position in the market place.
Without a doubt, being based in Surrey, we are lucky to see a fair number of exotic supercars, of which many are McLarens leaving from McLaren Technical Centre, following their test and handling route that goes right past our design studio in Ripley. The 720s remains my favourite in their line up and the discovery of a local disused airfield provided us with the ideal setting to create a completely virtual image showing off the form of the 720s.
We used the latest photogrammetry techniques to digitally recreate the runway. The resultant 3D model of the airstrip was then placed in Unreal and pieced together along with with a HDRI dome for realistic reflections, and a beautiful, if perhaps moody, sunset from a stock image library. The completely digital scene was then refined with additional lighting as well as adding 3D models of foliage, which would help catch the last of the evening rays of the sunset. This provided us with a very stable environment where we could now position a digital car, in the finishes of our choice, and ‘re-shoot’ the scene from any angle.
Our hero shot is a wide-aspect ratio image, with the car shot from the rear and positioned to the far right, with the dramatic sunset providing strong low light to reflect of the highly sculptural body side.
The second in the series showcases the front and plan shape of the car, with the runway lane markings providing the perfect lead-in lines to the supercar. The dim light enables us to utilise lamp glows to add more drama and realism to the shots. [Click on the images to view them larger]
Unreal continues to impresses me more every time I use it, and despite us using it for a number of years, we still discover new tools and parameters to enhance our work.
Unfortunately what you can’t see here, is how spectacular the scene looks through our VR setup. Being able to move around in the scene in real time and interact with the car adds yet another layer of realism and excitement. I only wish it was truly real so I could jump in, turn the key and drive off.
If you think filming or photographing of your car is impossible in the current situation, then why not have a digital shoot instead. Whether we’re working in the studio or working remotely, our team can bring your advertising or marketing ideas to life. Every shot created is different and every car has certain angles that show it off at its best, Drive’s team of creative visualisers and automotive designers combine to create and ensure great results.
Take care and we look forward to hearing from you. Darren
Over the last 30 years, 3d artists have relied heavily on alot of computing power to render animations. Not so long ago an animation of a minute or so, might take days to output on dozens of computers packed out in air conditioned server rooms. Once the rendering is done, a whole load of post production has to be done afterwards to fine tune and colour grade too. Hold on a minute, not quite right? Need a last minute change? The product has been updated? Back to the farm it goes for another couple of days.
In my previous blog explaining the creation of the scene here I showcased a few images I put together in Unreal of my favourite Mclaren, the 720s. Following on from this, I’ve now produced an animation . The camera pans, edit and tonal adjustments were all done in Unreal and outputted in near real time.
Beyond that, the scene is ready for interaction too. Need a configurator or a VR experience? No problem.
Being able to render this animation in near real time is without doubt a real game changer and all on one fairly average PC too. Outstanding! It’s changing how I work dramatically. It’s now possible to sit (and view remotely too!) with clients to make changes on the fly and see final results there and then.
And I’m not even touching on what’s just around the corner too. The 3d industry has been on fire with news of Unreal 5. It’s jaw dropping and all in real time. I’ve been waiting for this development for decades and it’s finally here.
CG images can be used to help promote a car manufacturer’s products, and these two have been screened grabbed from the above animation.
Every shot created is different and every car has certain angles that show it off at its best, Drive’s team of creative visualisers and automotive designers combine to create and ensure great results.
SAIC have an advanced design studio on prime Maryleborne real estate in the middle of London. The open plan arrangement with designers’ zones, review areas, chill out space and groovy chairs provides a creative environment with which to attract design talent to ddefine the future SAIC Group products.
When I started Drive and was shown impressive facilities of OEMs like Volvo or engineering firms like Magna, it made me wonder how a design consultancy like Drive can compete with the major automotive manufacturers and their studios.
The answer of course is we don’t.
Major car companies carry out most of their design work themselves, with dedicated design departments capable of handling every aspect of the design process.
But few car companies do not use the services of external car design consultancies for some smaller projects or as a validation of their internal designs, whilst many smaller niche car companies use such consultancies to supplement their more limited in-house design facilities on larger design projects.
In most cases the reason we get shown around a company’s design facilities is because Drive is working with them or about to. They see that Drive has something to offer them and they want us to work with their teams to stimulate creativity and maximise the design output. Whether it be for market insights, a fresh design perspective or simply additional digital resource we are able to provide focussed and professional expertise.
As with the studio space, I question ‘how can we compete’ when recruiting creative talent, when automotive OEMs can offer so much in terms of employment, facilities and certainty of projects well into the future.
Again we don’t compete, what we have to offer is different.
We are an efficient studio that has a welcoming, creative and professional atmosphere. We work with numerous brands so it is unlikely that we will designing a similar face of a car or grill for long. The type of work is varied, and is more likely to be concept ideation than production detailing. The projects will cover a large spectrum with mobility solutions, aircraft interiors or maybe another supercar inspired Track-tor (see here) being as likely as the next production SUV.
A consultancy environment like Drive’s isn’t for everyone, but the constant change benefits our creative team keeping them fresh, interested and gaining a breadth of experiences that differentiates them from other designers. The very skill set that many design chiefs look for in their next hire, indeed two former Drive employees will be able relax at the new SAIC coffee bar.
It is the diverse experiences that attracts our clients and benefits their projects as they get new perspectives, fresh ideas and insight from our broad knowledge gained across different industries and clients.
So if you are looking for some creative input for your next project or if a consultancy environment is somewhere you would like to work, come round for a chat. We don’t have a coffee bar but we do have a fantastic café around the corner.
(SAIC Design Advanced London top image – photos source SAIC)
Virtual reality is something that is allowing design teams to develop concepts quicker and resolve issues earlier and here at the Drive Studio we now have a fantastic Virtual Reality design set up to which we are all becoming accustomed to using in our day to day work.
So how have we facilitated the use of the VR set up within the studio? We are always finding new ways to use it, but within the realms of being a beneficial tool rather than being a slave to it. A good example is this Bugatti concept , that enables us to show off the benefits of using VR to our automotive clients.
Projects like this are an important to everyone at Drive, with our passion for automotive design and especially for anything that goes fast is in our DNA. With the initial concept penned everyone was unable to resist getting involved with something as extreme as this. The team worked together to design, resolve and refine the concept simultaneously combining our work flows through Photoshop, Alias and VR.
The use of VR is a great tool to check the design through the modelling development process and helps both modeller and designer. An instant tool at our finger tips that allowed us to critique and rapidly develop the concept, producing a better result in a quicker time frame. As a tool VR makes you aware of the digital model issues you normally only realise when you are standing in front of a full scale clay. I am a firm believer in the development of a physical model, and VR is a benefit to allow any studio to start physical modelling stage from a more advanced point, speeding up the process and saving time.
We use various systems from Autodesk VRED, Unreal Engine and Unity to create the Virual Reality experiences. We will be very pleased to discuss your requirements and support your adoption of the technology into your work flow.
The Drive Sketchbook Award winner was revealed at the Coventry University’s 2020 Automotive and Transportion On-Line Degree Show, on Thursday 18th June 2020.
Following the high level of response to the online voting, there were 4 designers who were clear favourites with the voters. They were Jordan Barnes, Amar Chana, Tadas Malinauskas and Ben Tennet.
Jordan Barnes was a deserving winner, the examples of his work below clearly showing his sketching skills to illustrate and communicate his ideas.
Well Done from the whole Drive Team.
Coventry University Automotive and Transport Degree Show On Line Thursday 18th June 2020