Car Trim

Front Signal Lights


Well, after the headlights and tail lights, I've avoided the last lights - the signal lights - long enough... It's time to get back to them before we go any further.

I suppose there isn't anything traumatic about them... in fact they don't function or anything... they're just stuck on like every other piece of trim we've made. I guess after the other lights though, I had a natural aversion to jumping right into more lights!


We will be using the same method of starting our base geometry as we have been using up until now... spline projection onto existing geometry.

The signal light shape we want to start with is fairly oval, so we want to figure out how best to begin that. With HyperNURBS, you can get elliptical shapes with really simplistic polygon structure. Which is good... because a look at the front of the car shows us we won't have the luxury of detail...



Move the spline object out in front of the car front and select all points.


Use the Project function to project the points from the spline object to the XY plane and the spline object appears to roughly wrap around the front of the car beneath the headlight.


Using the structure manager, copy and paste the points from the spline object into a new polygon object. Use the bridge tool to then create two adjoining polygons from the point framework.

Put the polygon object beneath a HyperNURBS parent (and apply a smoothing tag too!).


Select the two polygons, and use the Extrude tool to begin to fashion a raised base for the signal light

One quick narrow extrusion when you first start out helps anchor the back edge of the trim, while a second extrusion adds the height necessary to raise the trim from the car surface..




When the trim has protruded enough from the surface of the car for your tastes, switch to an Extrude Inner function to complete the trim. This establishes the width of the border around the signal light.


Keeping the same original two polygons selected, extrude them back into the trim object a little ways, and then pause and invert the selection. Set the inverted selection as a set named something like 'blinktrim'.

Once that has been done, invert the selection once more so you are back to the original two polygons and extrude them outwards to form the shape of the light.


Now on to more important matters...



Create a rough linear spline object that uses 6 points (so it will be the framework for two polygons). You should position it so that the general shape roughs out the area you hope to be covered with the signal light object.

You should also try to make sure that the edge of the two polygons that you make will sit as close to the edge of the polygons that make up the curved car front as possible. That will assure the best fit.


Restore the selection set you just made for the outer trim, and then invert selection so that all of the polygons that aren't making up the border are selected. In the object manager, make sure the border selection set is not highlighted, and then set the current light selection as an additional set... label it something like 'blinklight'.

Restrict a chrome material to the border selection, and then restrict a light material (like the one used on the tail light) to the light.


The signal lights in place...


Here I decided to adjust the positions of a few key points to manipulate the look of the light. I don't think this improves it much but it makes a good point... Once you use the method to get the basic geometry in place, you can alter it quite significantly and yet still have it fit decently with the original model. You should be able to think of many directions you can take your modeling by practicing the simple techniques then expanding on them.