April 6, 2020

Renault Alpine A110 vector drawing

This Renault Alpine is my all time favorite car. Its lines are almost sensual, a caress to the eye, but it is as aggressive as one can get from a small block that was placed in the back (not a mid engine). Especially the front is brilliantly designed. The brilliant design was created by the legendary Giovanni Michelotti, who drew many fabulous cars. This image is entirely created in vectors in Affinity Designer. The drawing does not contain a single pixel, it contains vectors only. The texts are still editable, because I tinkered with the Character functions - tilting of individual letters, height, width and spacing between the letters.

A few remarks considering this project:
  • When exporting to a size (a lot) smaller than the dimensions it was drawn in, jagged edges appear in the near horizontal and near vertical edges and lines. When exporting to the native size (in png) and re-scaling afterwards, this problem no longer exists
  • For this particular work exporting in the Bilinear Resampler with the Apple RGB ICC colour profile ticked and palettized deslected works best with the profile embedded. This profile can be saved and used in other projects. The colours are richer and of slightly darker tone than the standard settings in Affinity Designer
  • The most tedious objects to draw were the head light lenses, the radiator grilll, alloy wheels and bonnet hinges. Still Affinity designer allows to adjust these easily and quickly afterwards
  • The Character functions in Affinity Designer allow to create realistic text that is observed from an angle, while the text remains editable. This is a hugely useful feature for projects that contain text that isn't viewed from an angle perpendicular and centered to the text
  • The Gaussian blur function, combined with gradient colouring and transparency, allow to create hyper realistic vector images that require far less time than the mesh-fill function in Illustrator and CorelDRAW (to create the same) and makes adjusting afterwards a much faster process than what is offered by the competition. When re-scaling the image to a larger size it stays sharper than images created with mesh-fill techniques that is basically replacing pixels with vectors, which only takes away jagged edges but does not change the relative pixel density of the image. When using the mesh-fill technique in which a transition is originally drawn in 10 steps, it remains 10 steps no matter what re-scaling is applied, while using the non mesh-fill method of Affinity Designer the transition is simply recalculated with every act of re-scaling, which equals a smooth infinite number of steps, without 10 steps having to coordinate the effect of individual steps
  • The alloy wheels are drawn in Rhinoceros 3D, turned into the proper viewing position and then placed into Affinity Designer to trace and edit. This also applies to the tire groove patterns. In doing so I can design my own wheel and tire patterns, while keeping their appearance realistic and in the correct perspective. Later these objects will be traced manually to keep the drawing all vector, so that it can be re-scaled to any size without loss of quality
  • The size in which this drawing was created is eight times bigger than the exported png's in this post. When printed in approximately 70 x 35 cm the details will appear much better than is visible here
  • The reference image was of poor quality and had mistakes in them (it was a drawing), but it was a dynamic image nevertheless. I needed to look at many different photographs to give the car an authentic appearance. Still I added some detail that make it unique (which is what I always do in every drawing and painting that I create)
  • There may be two versions - one the street version of the car and the other a stickered rally version. The stickers will be on a separate layer so they can be turned on and off at will. I must find the time to do this though
  • I struggled with the right front wheel well, because the reference image has extended bulgy wheel wells, which I dislike, until stage 19 where this was corrected. Since this stage the car has its original subtle wheel well. I came across this because there previously wasn't enough space for the secondary blinker and type plate. Now there is. Check out the difference between stage 18 and 19 by clicking on the stage 19 image and flicking between the two stages in Google's Lightbox

It is still a work in progress at this time (I started this project on April 3 2020). The oldest stage is at the bottom, the newest on top. Click an image to go to the Google Lightbox that allows to swiftly flick through the stages by turning the scroll wheel of the mouse. Unfortunately this works in desktop computers only.

Stage 19 15:19 hrs, April 17 2020

Stage 18 11:42 hrs, April 14 2020

Stage 17 13:24 hrs, April 10 2020

Stage 16 23:00 hrs, April 9 2020

Stage 15 23:00 hrs, April 8 2020

Stage 12 12:50 hrs, April 6 2020

Stage 8 23:00 hrs, April 5 2020

Stage 4 13:00 hrs, April 4 2020

Stage 1 14:30 hrs, April 3 2020


Outline view, 3D parts and reference image

Stage 18 vector outline view -
Alloy wheels and tires must still be traced
The wriggly red lines below the editable texts
indicate the entries (Vectorwhiz and Cibie)
are not present in the dictionary
while Renault actually is

Alloy wheel drawn in Rhino 3D
seen from a different angle

Tire drawn in Rhino 3D
seen from a different angle

Reference image