Tesla Roadster 2020 3D Modeling WIP

Work In Progress / 22 September 2019

I like to split my projects into smaller chunks, so starting off with the tires.

The car is coming out in 2020, and its still a prototype. So there isnt as much information about it, as id like. But this image i found online, should do.


  The rim is the simplest form i could model, put into a symetry and then into a radial cloner. The tire treads are also radially cloned. Unfortunately not an exact match to the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Tires, but i had to make the decision to reduce the tread count, or else the polycount would have been excessive. Another option i was considering, was having all that tread detail come from a displacement map. Which i think would have been abit lighter, since one map would displace the thread detail on all tires (instead of having already massive amount of polygons, quadruple when installed in a car (that is if you're not instancing them)). And quite frankly im not sure how many polygons is too many, when it comes to a detail thats not going to be even visible (when the tires are mounted). Probably would have been easier too, but in the end i decided to model it polygonally,


  In terms of texturing, the tire sidewall was the hardest part (infact for the entire project). Just because i had to spend quite some time researching what it actually says on those tires. Knowing absolutely nothing about cars, did not help 😄. Bellow you can see the texture i made in After Effects (yes, i texture in AE, bite me 😛). Every shape is a mask (essentially vector), which allows you to work in a low resolution composition, and then scale up to any resolution you need. I ended up using this as an 8K displacement map for the tire sidewall. It looks so good when rendered, that i now i regret modeling the tire treads polygonally. Altho im still unsure which would produce a bigger memory footprint when rendering with Octane Render. The rest of the texturing process was done in Substance Painter.


  Final result rendered with Octane Render. For more renders you can check my profile.


Next up is the car body itself. Very little information about the car dimensions unfortunately. Makes me wonder if modeling a prototype car for a first time car model was a good decision 😆. The only official side view from Tesla is the image you get when you reserve your Roadster, so i used that. No top/front/rear references is just pure pain, so as you can imagine, there was alot of eyeballing.


The majority of the modeling process was spent in "blockout" state, with as few polygons as possible. The shape maintained by SDS Weights, just to get the general shape properly. But, it is at this point that i came to the realization, polygonal modeling apps like Cinema 4D, are really not how cars should be modeled. Especially if you're a perfectionist. There is just no way to get the surfaces flowing perfectly together (atleast to my knowledge). There are always small imperfections like bulges and creases, where you dont want them to be. You can minimize them, but its never going to be perfect. So i did a little digging, and found Autodesk Alias, apparently thats where proper car models are made (and later retopologized in apps like Cinema 4D). But honestly the Alias UI looks like an app made in the 90's. But then, who cares how it looks, if its functional right? So i gave the demo a shot, and went through a few tutorials. Unfortunately the UX isnt much better either. Infact, its rather INFURIATING. The menus are extremely clunky, you have to hold the mouse down, or the menus close automatically (lol). The whole UI font is super thin and small, you can scale the UI up by a factor, but then it gets all pixelated and just as unreadable. There is no way to change the mouse navigation keys (which is probably my biggest issue with it)... Oh, and also there is no freaking UNDO!!??! (for realz, what the **** Autodesk? its 2019). So while Alias having a beyond stellar functionallity (as far as i can see), the frustration of trying to get used to it was just not worth it for me. I now have a whole new level of appreciation for the ease of use of Cinema 4D, thank you MAXON. Anyway, sorry for the rant.

On a side note, for anyone modeling in Cinema 4D, you should be aware of Holger Biebrach's modeling scripts. They make life much easier!


Contrary to popular opinion, UV unwrapping is one of my favorite tasks! Thanks to RizomUV.


Custom carpaint flakes with Voronoi Fracture and some random rotation.


Throw in an overly complicated carpaint shader.


And thats how were looking so far (rendered with Octane).