In digital modelling, shapes are created by combining mathematically-defined surfaces on a screen. The designs can then be reproduced in clay or other materials. This approach eliminates the inevitable human errors involved in traditional modelling, and ensures accurate reproduction of a design, time after time, with subtle variations and amendments. Each stage of a design can be enhanced or reversed as required during the creative and engineering processes. Digital modelling can also work in reverse: a system can scan an object, measure and store it, and reproduce it in 3D on screen.
3D modelling, finite element analysis and other CAD/CAE technologies ‘went mainstream’ some thirty years ago. At the time, the first supporters of these technologies believed that all design could be virtual, with no need for time-consuming clay modelling. It soon became clear, however, that clay modelling remained essential. True, digital techniques made it faster and easier to test a design’s ease of manufacture, use of space, overall style and ergonomics; but users quickly realised that an object on screen always looks different from the reality. The ability to ‘see’ a model in solid form would always be vital to the designer. The beauty of 3D technology was that it enabled a design to evolve in a ‘dialogue’ between its digital and solid forms, giving a high-quality result more quickly than ever before.
Today, the 3D modeller acts as a bridge between clay modellers, design engineers and designers. In addition to good three-dimensional perception, technical understanding and an excellent sense of line treatment, the 3D specialist needs to appreciate the importance of every detail and be able to work under pressure. A design background is also a great advantage.
In transportation design we need to discuss ‘polygon modelling’ and ‘Class A modelling’. Polygon modelling allows technicians to shape objects very quickly, generate multiple variants with little effort, and implement changes very quickly. The trade-off for this speed is reduced quality, and results that cannot be taken forward into production. Class A modelling, on the other hand, delivers results of the highest quality.
KISKA’s 3D strategy
Most studios work in either Class A or polygons depending on the project. At KISKA we bring both approaches together in order to combine the best quality with high speed. This linear approach enables us to move from concept to solution in as few steps as possible, while giving designers ample flexibility to make changes.
To help us we use Autodesk Alias and Autodesk Maya. Autodesk Alias is a design system that’s widely used in the automotive industry; Autodesk Maya is traditionally associated with the gaming and movie industries. The combination of the two enables us to combine advanced creativity with engineering excellence for our clients.