3D cars - and people too, for that matter!

Further to discussion on this matter. A quick and easy solution is not to have 3D cars at all but use cut-outs instead.
Below is part of a job shown in full on another page (click to look). It features two cars, both current models, indeed
I had the Subaru on the right in this form before I saw the real thing. What's more, when I did, it was the client's.
He was most impressed. This car came with the software (Piranesi)

The car on the left is a Hyundai. It came off a brochure I got from the dealers down the road. On reflection, I think it is slightly under-size and
I should have re-scaled it. I was pretty lucky with the angle of view. This car is all but perfectly parked parallel to the curb. To correct for this
I was tempted to shift the camera view of the building but I didn't bother and I may have incurred a similar problem with the Subaru anyway.

The advantages of using cutouts are:

1. Current models are easily obtainable - your local dealers should be happy to oblige.
2. Your specific choice of model easily obtainable - get out there and shoot it, and note the above hit with the client..
3. Polygon count is (ahem) substantially reduced.
4. The colouring, highlighting and detailing comes at no extra charge.

A disadvantage is the problem of getting the orientation right. This is fixable, up to a point, by getting a large collection of views of cars
taken from different positions. Steep roads and drives can be a real problem here and I guess renderers in San Fransisco give up and
opt for 3D car models.

Once you have got an appropriate cut out, it can be reused by tarting it up, changing the number plate, or giving it a new paint job.

This is Mel Foux's elegant little '51 Sunbeam Talbot. I don't know what the original colour was, probably silver-grey or a
non-descript green. Here the car has been given two new paint jobs simply by using the "colour replacer tool"  in PaintShop Pro.
See Chapter 8 in the PSP manual. I presume the purple was obtained by lifting the colour from a tibouchina growing just out of frame.
I hope he wasn't serious about the colour. The conversion has been particularly well controlled,  note how the highlights are preserved.

The situation with people is a lot easier and I believe cutouts are more or less de rigeur for this game. In the view above, the suits and
the woman with the bag came with Piranesi. The rest were scanned.

The advantages of using 3D model cars are:

1. No problem with orientation
2. No problem with shadows
3. No problems with animations.

The disadvantages are:

1. High polygon count, resulting in large files and longer render times etc.  This can be a serious problem. The better the model, the
more likely it was meant for individual display and far from filling up the parking lot of a model shopping mall. Expect a couple of
megabytes for each car, if it's a good model.
2. Current models are hard to get and/or expensive. As a square-rig Fairlane driver,  I can only see this situation getting worse as the
tool and die makers go to town with their complex curves, resulting in harder times for the 3D modeller.

I have lately seen some quite nice work by a guy in Turkey. His pictures feature a 64 Thunderbird, and none too well presented either.
One of these jobs has a pretty steep road and I suspect a 3D model was well justified. Much as I am a fan of the '64 - 66's we all
know there's probably only one reason for having it in a 21st century render -  it's a freebie from 3D Café.
To make matters worse it comes as a dxf on one layer only and thus has to be painted rather than rendered and, as they are inevitably
in the foreground, this tends to show the extra skill required..

However, this can be fixed, with a bit of work.
This is the same Thunderbird but it has been rebuilt
in DataCad by consigning the various materials to
different layers. It has been a long-standing rainy day
project and is not finished. This view is from a
ruff 'n' reddy trip through Renderise Live. Anybody
who may like to fiddle with this and help bring a great
classic back to life may download the zipped DC5
and see what they make of it. The wheels have already
been minimalised. What you see is all you get.
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