Updated: April 20, 2022
As you well know, I've started doing 3D design and renders again, after quite a long pause. Having finished my most complex model yet, a destroyer ship inspired by the American Arleigh Burke and Russian Kirov classes, I wanted to try something completely different. And it all started with, how do you make a ridged wheel in SketchUp?
So I spent some time and figured how to design a tractor-like tire with giant traction pads around the rim. Then, I looked at the tire and thought, what if I put four of them together, and then assemble a car chassis on top of them? Thus, the idea for a monster truck was born. Fast forward some ten days of rigorous drawing and another week or so of rendering, and here we are. Behold.
First, I'll let you glimpse a few images of the model in SketchUp ere we move onto the final renders. I went for a two-color scheme, sapphire blue and fire orange, which I've also reused for the flames decals motif on the sides of the truck. To make it look even more authentic, I added a car door number, and even, out of sheer narcissism, stenciled the name of my website on the back of the vehicle, on both sides mind.
My pickup truck is somewhat inspired by the classic 60-70s American pickups, with a boxy cabin, and a simple cargo back. But then, I spiced it up with eight penne exhausts, rooftop floodlights, eye-catching rollcage, and of course, an extremely elaborate suspension and driveshaft system. You shall see those in detail very soon.
I wanted to challenge myself, so I tried to be extra-authentic. Coil springs, shocks, suspension arms, honeycomb engine sump protector mesh, and inside the cabin, I designed proper racing seats, with four-point seat belts, and even added a fire extinguisher in between. You also get a chunky retro-styled gear lever, all sorts of switches, tons of dials, and three pedals. All of it in a jiffy.
And now, the rendered images ...
Here we go. First, a handful of shots from various angles without any sky or terrain. I am still using Kerkythea for rendering, because it's still the friendliest rendering tool that I could find on the market, despite being more than a decade old. But then, the heyday of the desktop, before the ushering of the "everything as a service" era, was around 2010, and the best software comes from that period.
In Kerkythea, I tried various render methods, and I used all sorts of available materials in order to get as realistic looks as possible. Car paints, metal textures, mirrors. There are a few details here and there that could be better, but all in all, I'm quite pleased.
Here's the underside. Notice the lovely mesh, the red brake calipers paint, the sexy red coil springs.
Now, let's zoom in on some detail. I added a ground plane and a sky (with clouds), which you can see reflected in the metallic paint on the hood. Notice the seat belts, of course.
I painted the exhausts chrome so they look brilliant and shiny. I also tried to make the exhaust manifold and other engine elements a bit more realistic, including some red plastic covers and an odd hexa-screw here and there, which hopefully add to the overall effect.
A little bit of extra detail in the cabin. Notice the carbon-fiber pattern on the seat skeleton, and the cherry-red fire extinguisher. You can also see the car's reflection in the side mirror. And for those of you wondering, no the rollcage (red) and the rooftop rails (silver) aren't aligned, on purpose!
Some more lovely images. Mud, grass, lights on, sunset, new colors! Don't mind me, I'm just, as usual, probably unjustifiably overexcited by my own work, and so I'm adding way too many images into one article, but I can't help it.
There we go. I had immense fun making this design, and I learned a few new tricks along the way. On a purely philosophical level, after writing twenty odd books in the past decade, and a solid million words plus output per year, every year, it feels incredibly refreshing to do some other types of art. My fingers are also itching for watercolor painting and new model kit assembly, but everything in its due time.
Hopefully, you will find this model clever, sophisticated and realistic. And if you have suggestions or ideas for even more realistic renders, do tell. I'm gonna go design some fresh stuff. For now, I am thinking: a futuristic VSTOL aircraft, and maybe a steam locomotive. Should be interesting. See you soon.