In this tutorial, I’m going to share my knowledge on how I modeled and rendered the Mercedes Benz CLS550.
First of all, as far as the modeling of cars and vehicles are concerned, it’s really important to gather a variety of references and the right blueprints. It’s not a difficult process but it shouldn’t be rushed. I found blueprints which were pretty accurate, so there was no need to squeeze or skew them in order to make the views align better. I ended up gathering more than 100 references to model my car and below are some of the photos that I used.
I should say that when I started gathering my reference images I thought that one of the best sources would be Mercedes themselves. So I decided to email them about it, but they just told me they didn’t have any images of that particular car model and that I should look on the internet. So that’s life and I ended up Googling for images instead
Now it was time to start modeling. I began by setting up the blueprints in Maya. I’m sure there are plenty of tutorials on the internet explaining how to set up blueprints, so I’m not going to cover it here. But I will say that having the right measurements is the most important thing when you want to model a car. You really need to find the right blueprint and perfectly adjust it inside Photoshop before starting the modeling. If you do not get it right, your model will end up looking a bit odd.
My chosen modeling technique was polygon modeling. I started modeling from a simple plane and then used a variety of tools and options including Extrude, Insert Edge, Delete Edge, Merge Vertex, Split Polygon etc. In my mind, polygon modeling is lovely because it’s very easy to create what you’re imagining and solving any problems and finding a solution is easy.
For modeling a car, it’s vital to consider the position of each point and line in relation to its angles in the space. It must be accurate or the model won’t have a nice shape and form. As a result, the final render will be jerky, and reflections will not be clear. As always, the most challenging problem is to get the overall shape just right.
Here are some of my model sections. At the end, the whole model consisted of 636 objects and 320,571 polygons (without smoothing) and 162 million polygons with smooth (Fig.03 – 12).
It’s good to finish the exterior parts first and then continuing the modeling of details such as lights, logo, widescreen, tire etc., later on. I modeled the interior parts by looking at the references I’d gathered from the internet. There is no need to model such parts in high-poly because they won’t be seen, but I decided to anyway to get more familiar with interiors and improve my modeling skills as well (Fig.13 – 20).
For the lighting, I used an HDRI map connected to an Environment Shader in the render pass to light my scene and produce the reflections. To do so I created a sphere, went to Render Settings > Indirect Lighting > Create Image Based Light. Within the window that appeared, I assigned a free HDRI file to the scene. Just one plane for getting the car shadow and one sphere for making light and reflections were enough (Fig.21 – 23).
I used “usebackgroundshader” for the plane object, and then created the car body material, tire etc. In Fig.24 you can see are some of the most important shaders I used.
After shading, I set my camera view and focal length. The final image was rendered in four passes and then I opened Photoshop and put all the passes together. The order of passes and type of blending mode is important to get a good result (Fig.25 – 26).
After I’d assembled all the layers and passes, added some filters on the wheels to make them look as if there were moving, I made some final touches and added some filters for color grading. And here’s the final image (Fig.27 – 29).
If you have any question or want to tell me something, do not hesitate to email me, I would be happy to reply you ASAP.