Renault Taps New Design System

Depicting how a car looks in motion when it goes down the street, hits a bump, or takes a sharp curve is something that has eluded designers. Until now, that is. At the Detroit Auto Show in January, a new three-dimensional visualization program was demonstrated by French automaker Renault and Alias/Wavefront, a Toronto developer of computer-aided industrial design software. Called Escapade, the automotive design visualization project, a collaborative effort between Renault and Alias/Wavefront, a subsidiary of Silicon Graphics Inc., combines animations of a realistic 3-D model vehicle, true to life dynamics, and live action film footage of actual scenery. The Renault model featured in the program was designed, modeled, animated, and rendered using Alias AutoStudio software, the software firm's automotive style program. Using the visualization software, designers can watch the 3-D digital vehicle respond to bumps in the road as a real car would by applying dynamics. Even shadows are depicted on the vehicle with the accurate amount of intensity and light. "One of the ways that we have been able to implement our vision of coming up with highly innovative cars is through the use of in-context visualization," explains Patrick le Quement, senior vice president for corporate design at Renault. "Normally when you are evaluating a new design you really don't know how it will look driving in traffic, driving in town, driving on an open road. In-context visualization enables us to make stronger decisions and to come up with more innovative and fresh designs."

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