concept cars, Ford, Motoring News, new models

Ford Gravity Sketch – an inside look at coming car-design

  • First automaker to work with Gravity Sketch 3D
  • VR puts customers at the centre of design
  • Help to fine-tune and build the best vehicles
Ford is the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual reality tool
GETTING INSIDE THE JOB: A Ford designer works mid-air with a VR mask on the design of a coming car – the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual reality tool.  Image: Ford US

DEARBORN, Michigan – From a desk here at Ford’s Design Studio a designer pretending to be a buyer enters a virtual room to begin a 3D sketch to create a virtual car around himself, with everything to his liking.

Such work is part of Ford’s exploration of a new process that places the customer at the centre of design and cuts the time required for the vehicle’s production.

Ford claims to be the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual-reality tool that helps designers to produce human-centric vehicles.

Designers are swopping sketchpads for headsets and controllers to immerse themselves in virtual reality, imitating gestural interactions through motion tracking that replicates sketching with pen-and-paper.

‘SEE IT FROM ALL ANGLES’

Michael Smith, Ford’s design manager, says seeing all angles of a vehicle as it is being drawn unleashes creativity and fosters development of human-centric vehicle design.

“Jumping right in to 3D gives us a 360-degree view of a vehicle as it is being created.”

Traditional automotive design begins with a 2D sketch to be scanned into a high-quality illustration. The renderings are evaluated then a few are translated into data using computer-aided design software to create a 3D model.

Ford is the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual reality tool
THE ‘GETTING INSIDE’ STORY: Ford is the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual reality tool. Image: Ford US

That model is transferred into a virtual reality environment to evaluate and determine the design’s feasibility. That, however can take weeks so designers are constrained to be selective about which designs will make it to the 3D modeling stage.

”Gravity Sketch,” Ford told The Corner in a media release, ”allows designers to accelerate design time from weeks to hours by skipping over 2D directly to 3D models.

READ MORE Ford features on Carman’s Corner

”Designers can anchor a driver at the centre then rotate the 3D interior view to any angle. They can even step inside the vehicle sketch to adjust attributes to best suit occupants.

”Gravity Sketch lets designers place the customer at the centre of the vehicle as designers sketch it.”

Michael Smith added: “This application can help to deliver the very best vehicle designs. It moves the entire process into virtual reality to create more options for reviewing more models in 3D.”

‘REVOLUTIONARY PROCESS?’

Dozens of interior and exterior designers in five studios worldwide are experimenting with Gravity Sketch for workflow feasibility and its potential for co-creation and collaboration.

”Shifting to a model that designs and evaluates in virtual reality could revolutionize the entire process by drastically reducing development time and allowing for more 3D representations during evaluation.”

And from the other side, Gravity Sketch CEO / co-founder Oluwaseyi Sosanya explained: “Our collaboration with Ford designers has immersed us in their creative process to help to fine-tune and build the best possible vehicles.”

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