- 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.
This year’s Royal College of Art degree show is the first showing the work of the young designers graduating from the Intelligent Mobility course.
It is not only the name that has changed but the timing of the event with the warm summer evenings replaced by mid-February moonlit nights.
So with all that change did the work reflect the shift of emphasis for the better? Well, yes and no. It was still quite clearly at the level you expect from the RCA MA graduates, and the major project seems to have the same amount of background research and thought process, even though the course is now only 15 months long.
The variety of projects certainly shows the breadth of exploration that the students are encouraged to follow with a research focus on innovation and disruptive design solutions. Zi Lin brings a new meaning to ‘car tuning’ with his sports car inspired by / incorporating a grand piano for composers.
To truly appreciate the projects it is important to spend time with the young designers who were all very capable of conveying their ideas and discussing their projects. Rhys Llewellyn had two projects, a new wheel design and Range Rover submersible, whilst the Bellwether industry team presented the hover car, and as with all the students there was indepth research and development backing their designs.
The presentation techniques are the same, with the requisite CG visuals of the digital models and well finished scale models, but perhaps what was not so obviously on show was the initial inspiration for all good design – the biro sketch. Maybe this is where the previously longer course with potentially more quick fire projects encouraged the sketch books’ revealing thought processes.
That is why when discussing the show with the likes of Simon Cox and Mark Oldham that it was the doodle sketch pad of Yuxuan Yang that got special mention.
Pei Chan also has to be mentioned as he was in contact with Drive well before the show, sending information and advice on the various schedules, and an invite as well.
Make the time to visit, you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the work.
Darwin Building RCA Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU
Drive recently demonstrated VR at our studio to a number of our clients.
Attendees were able to experience virtual reality environments created for design review, new yacht interiors and as well as walk around and sit in virtual vehicles.
Drive have been creating both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications for automotive and transportation clients, drawing on our experience of design, digital modelling and high quality CG imaging techniques.
Recent Projects have included a VR train interior for a b2b exhibition, an AR App for the MG SUV launch, car configurator and a b2b sales and promotional App for Mirus Aircraft Seating.
Our creative team embrace these immersive technologies because Virtual Reality as a storyteller, has the power to connect, communicate and engage audiences by enabling them to experience a story in a way no other media can.
CGI animations can be used to help promote a car manufacturer’s products, and this article outlines the process.
Following a briefing, deciding on the objectives of the piece and its intended audience, we work out a story board and get sign off.
On this occasion with the South Downs so close we scouted a location and found a spot that was quiet, allowing plenty of freedom to experiment without interruption. A whole day was spent taking reference shots of the area, trying different lenses and really exploring the road and surroundings, finding interesting angles that would suit the car we had chosen to animate, and shots for the live footage backgrounds. We then refined the storyboard, taking in to consideration the final scene, environment and sun positions, and planned the shoot for the next day.
Weather conditions can cause chaos when shooting out doors, heavy cloud cover combined with strong winds can make it difficult to get consistency in lighting, especially when shooting HDRI domes. Working to our shoot timing plan, we worked through our programme taking back plates, HDRI domes and reflection plates and a few reference shots of cars driving up the road. We now had all the material required to create our animation.
Using our camera tracking software, we captured the back plate camera movement and gathered information that could be used to construct the virtual environment and most importantly, the road surface. Often overlooked it is important to make sure the road surface is defined accurately as the interaction of the car with this surface helps make the movement believable. A simple lighting dome would not be suitable for a moving car over distance so we mapped our stitched HDRI light capture to the environment geometry, regularly checking the effect from various camera shots to ensure realism.
The chosen car data set was then animated using our in house automotive rig. Additional lighting was added for specific shadowing and a number of render tests were carried out to match light levels and motion blur in keeping with the back plate. Multiple passes were rendered for the final composition and depth of field and subtle reflective glow were added to help sit the car in the scene. Finally, a little grading was added to the composition for a warmer finish.
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.
This year’s degree show is the last of the MA Vehicle Design course before it changes to MA Intelligent Mobility. Over the decades many of the Vehicle Design students have been taken on by leading manufacturers and consultancies, progressing to the top of their chosen speciality and going on to become leading figures in the industry.
The private view is an opportunity for former students, their colleagues and friends to view the latest graduates’ projects and catch up in a relaxed environment, with this year seeing a large number in attendance. The exhibition location in the Stevens Building with it’s large rooms and high ceilings allowed viewers space to stand back and appreciate the work, with the view of Queensgate a perfect backdrop.
The project quality is extremely high across all students, a second visit required to truely appreciate the depth of thought and the design details in all the projects.
23 June 2018 to 1 July 2018 – Stevens Building RCA Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU
As a footnote to this piece, it is 20 years since I attended my first RCA automotive degree show as the director of Drive. One of the students exhibiting his work that evening was Andrew Jones MA RCA (below), we later employed him and I am proud to say he is still a valued member of Drive.
I can’t believe it has happened again, Heart breaking. This is my original article I wrote on 28th May 2014.
Reading the headlines on Friday evening I was dismayed to hear about the fire at the Glasgow School of Art, one of the most important and historic Art Nouveau buildings in the UK. It has been admired and critically studied by architecture historians the world over, becoming Charles Rennie MacKintosh’s most famous piece of work despite it being designed early in his relatively short career. It was considered a very bold building when constructed, but many now consider that it marked the beginning of modern architecture with its asymmetrical frontage and complete lack of adornment.
Despite its age though, there is one distinct aspect of its design that still remains highly relevant today : it was the overall coherent approach and the completeness of the design that made this design truly special.
If you were to label Mackintosh or the School of Art a brand, everything about the building was completely on message. From the relatively austere brickwork façade on the outside, to the individual details and fittings that appeared inside, every part of the building was designed to complement other parts. For example, there were no standard door handles, or gutters, or light fittings. At least not the ones on show. All these items were individually designed and manufactured for their sole use in the School of Art. Everything looks like it belongs and has been considered from the outset with the design being seen as a complete whole, not just a building made from a collection of parts. Even more special when you realise the budget was a fairly modest one.
I see cars as being very similar. They have a huge part count, but every part must contribute to the overall story which consistently reinforces the brand message. The form, the materials, the execution of every little part must live up to the customer’s expectations. Even down to how a switch feels when pressed. Whilst this isn’t surprising or revolutionary, it’s all too often overlooked, especially in an age where project costs need to be tightly controlled.
I truly hope that the fire hasn’t completely destroyed the school, and that damaged areas can sympathetically restored, so those that haven’t been able to visit can see for themselves the true depth and coherence that is apparent in this masterpiece.
For more information on the GSA, and the restoration work they are now faced with you can visit : www.gsa.ac.uk