Concept vs Reality

I came across a rather amusing read this morning, where a blogger rants about unrealistic automotive renderings. I can see how concepts can often be way off in terms of human factors, concept renderings are just that: “concepts.” What are your thoughts? It’s not like this sort of approach is anything new, I think automotive design has always had a lean for wilder concepts, for the purpose of exploration.
LINK Kia Releases Wildly Unrealistic 'Official' Images Of New Sportage

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Modern Man sees that someone was trying to imitate Syd Mead. The perspective construction appears to be off, particularly around the rear/truck top area.

Stating the obvious, if you are a car designer/car design studio, considering the duration of the product design, development, engineering and tooling cycle from concepts to production, your job is to begin by conceiving/spit-balling concepts for 20, 15, 10 to 7 years out. A car design studio can not have a 100% concrete plan for what their company’s product will be 10 years out. They start broad/wild and from there distill down to a refined, realistic for the times, precisely defined point over a course of years. That’s why they’re called concepts and they should be wild!

The hot sketch is a ubiquitous part of car design and it’s about eliciting an emotional response both internally and externally to generate excitement for a design. Something has to get those bean counters up and out of their seats.


My that’s a very loooong car there. . .

My take is it about a mental imprint. A desired emotional response. When I was at Nike I was an advocate of this type of image. Sometimes I’d go to a factory and see it printed out large over an assembly line as if to say this is what we are going for!

I think when used appropriately it can be a good tool.

Like any tool, when used poorly, it can be dumb at best and damaging at worst. I think the sketch in question is likely not emotional enough to be inspiring or abstract the idea, and not realistic enough to be a true representation of the end result. As one of my old bosses would say “It is neither fish nor foul”. I don’t know what that means, but I take it as don’t be in the middle, be one thing or the other.

if it were ‘fish nor fowl’, would that make things more understandable? Platypus FTW!

I don’t have the skills to make anything like the hot car renderings, but I’ve been through enough projects to see their value. Compromises of some sort are inevitable, but you don’t really know at the start what they will be. So shoot for the moon and get as much as possible. It’s helpful to have an ambitious vision pulling the project in a desired direction, rather than letting it sit somewhere comfortable.

Sometimes saying “make it as X as possible” doesn’t really make it as X as possible. If you instead give a lofty goal (even if unachievable) it can push people to try harder, give things another look, and have to prove that it can’t be done before accepting a result. That being said, there’s a time and place for everything and at some point you need to focus and make something real, just not in the beginning.

I do question whether releasing these renderings to the public as a “preview,” like the article states, is wise though. Using them as background material for the real thing might make sense, but I’m not sure the general public will properly understand the rendering’s purpose and intention.

Conceptual sketches and renderings with forced perspectives, flashy backgrounds and awesome CMF are absolutely necessary to generate interest.

However, in this case, I side with the author of the article. I find it misleading if you show “a preview” of the car with sketches that don’t look anything like the production model. If it’s a concept sketch of a car 5-10 years down the road then great. If it’s a car being released this year then it’s kind of lame especially if you show the sketch next to the actual car side by side (see link on article) and it doesn’t look anything like it.

Ah, that makes sense! Thank you.