2D computer line drawing

DEARBORN, Mich.--At the Forward with Ford conference at Ford Motor's headquarters here last week, the automaker's designers showed off the Hollywood-worthy design tools they use to create cars inside and out before they're actually built in concept form. These screenshots reveal the tools in action.

In the earliest stages of design, a line drawing of a car to be takes shape on a computer screen as it would on any drawing pad.

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2D design, 3D angles

A 2D computer line drawing of a Ford concept car can be rotated and examined on any axis in a 3D environment.
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3D body frame

Once the 2D image of a Ford concept car is developed, software can flesh the frame into a rough 3D image.
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3D design on a rotating axis

Once in its 3D frame, a concept car design can be rotated and examined on an axis.
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Light and shadow

A 3D concept car design is rendered with light and shadow effects to examine how paint might interact with the environment.
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Finished paint job

Once a Ford concept car is rendered in 3D with light and shadow, designers can examine how reflections will play off paint colors.
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Wire frame rendering

Just as Pixar might render Lightening McQueen as a highly detailed 3D wire frame model, Ford draws its concept cars in a network of thousands of geometric shapes.
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Fully rendered image

Once through the design steps, Ford engineers render a complete 3D computer image of a concept car within an artificial environment.
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Exploring colors

To create new automobile colors in shades calculated to appeal to a global audience, Ford artists and designers explore hues around the world.
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Car colors

With rendering tools, Ford designers can explore how car colors play on different vehicles in different environments and at different times of day.
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Airflow model

Once an automobile exists in a virtual world, Ford designers can examine how airflow and other real-world effects will play out in the car.
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Interior of virtual car

Ford designers can lay out and render a highly detailed simulation of a concept car's interior.
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Ford robots carve clay

Once a concept car is fully designed and tested in a virtual world, Ford engineers feed the data into robotic carvers that produce a life-size model out of clay.
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Photo by: John Scott Lewinski/CNET / Caption by:
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