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Car Design Online > Design > Sketching


The earliest stage of the design process is the creation of initial concept sketches. The sketches are a relatively quick way to visualise ideas, themes and styles. In a typical design studio, a team of designers may be asked to submit initial ideas for a vehicle which will subsequently be narrowed down and further developed. Often, a dozen or so initial ideas will be evaluated, with further development of two or three before a final solution is chosen. At each stage, designers whose work is not chosen will be redeployed to assist in the development of the chosen ideas or posted to another project. Typically, one team is responsible for the interior whilst another takes charge of the exterior.

As the sketches develop, more time will be spent on creating resolved an accurate views. These drawings will form the basis for a simple package and, in the later stages, will be developed alongside a scale model clay or CAD model.

The interior rendering above is a hand-drawn, highly finished view of the dashboard of the Avantime. Following initial ideas, after resolving the view, proportions and perspective a rendering like this is produced. It is drawn lightly in pencil before colour is added using markers. This illustration uses mainly light yellows and cool greys. The metallic effect is achieved by banding white with very light blues. Additional light, shade and line definition is added with coloured pencil. Light mapping lines (as visible vertically on the driver's door) are sometimes used to help illustrate changes in form in addition to colour and tone. Image courtesy & © Renault.

Image courtesy & © Ford Motor Company

This illustration of Ford's Mustang GT Coupe concept has most likely been developed from a sketch and then reworked in a programme such as Adobe Photoshop.

The image is particularly powerful because of its crisp lines and blurred movement effect. Creating this effect is arduous with traditional airbrush techniques but is far more straight-forward in Photoshop.

First of all, an image is scanned in and cleaned up, removing unwanted elements and adjusting the brightness and contrast. To create the airbrushed effects, a path is drawn around an area - accurately demarcating the section to be airbrushed.

Then, the path is made into a selection marquee, a new layer is created and the desired brush tool can be used within the specific area. This can be repeated and adjusted until the right result is achieved. Each section in turn is treated this way; this is not the only process involved, but it is the most significant.

Click here for an example of Photoshop in action on a rough thumbnail sketch

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