CG cars assault us from all angles, whether we know it or not. These days, much of what we see in car spots on television is created from bits of data, not bits of ore. No matter, the renderings are still labor-intensive to produce. For spots, the animators are often working with CAD files provided by the manufacturer's engineering department. The ability to create a CG car out of thin air is a boon to the concept-rendering community as well. An obvious example of CG's capability is the recent Superduty Superbowl ad. Less obvious use of CG can be found in Jeep's "Bigger, Deffer" spot, where the entire Wrangler is assembled out of 0's and 1's.
French digital artist extrodinaire Gabriel Rabhi has harnessed processor cycles to create an Audi A7 out of pure conjecture. Of course, there is no such thing as an A7 (yet), but rumors abound. Rabhi created the car as a skill-building exercise, to get a better handle on modelling techniques for complex objects. The multiple facets of an automobile's structure and skin are time consuming and often difficult to model. Cars are created almost entirely out of complex curves, and the only way to geometrically model such an organic form is by using NURBS curves. If it sounds complex, that's because it is.
Conclusion plus more photos after the jump
Complexity aside for a moment, the real key to doing any kind of work like this is a healthy love of automotive form. Being a skillful digital animator is definitely important, but if you don't understand how form works in the automotive world, your cars will never look realistic. Mr. Rabhi admits that his flight of fancy isn't entirely perfect, but its born from a lifelong love of drawing cars. Clearly, he's been practicing a long time. There are some awkward elements, though, like the character line that runs across the upper third of the bodysides. We like the way it suggests motion and musculature, but the way the rear and front arched elements blend into the doors isn't entirely smooth. Of course, the design studio would have a team of people standing back and looking at this thing. For the work of one guy and his imagination, it's extremely well turned out, and Rabhi himself admits that its not perfect. The render is very realistic looking, and the lighting serves to highlight where he got the surface correct, and point up areas where some more definition would be called for were this car non-fiction. Mr Rabhi has expressed interest in becoming a real car designer some day for a brand like Audi. Judging from these efforts, he's well on his way. He can design up our AutoBlog Speedster Special when we get around to building it. In the meantime, he's turned his talents on the much-ballyhooed A1.