Car Trim

Tail lights - Page 2



There are a number of ways you could go about making the interior portion of the tail light, but in thinking about how I wanted to approach it, I decided it's always best to try to work from existing geometry, and therefore increase the likelihood that what you model will fit with that geometry.

This also decreases the likelihood you will have to do a lot of extra work, which is a concept I think we can all appreciate... :-)


The 'existing geometry' in question is the back face of the interior of the tail light shelf. (The nearly vertical surface).

Select all the polygons that make up this face.


Use the split command to generate a new object consisting entirely of these polygons.

It should remain in the same place, but if not, you may need to manually re-center you object axes.


Keep the same polygons (of the new object) selected.

(Don't be alarmed here either, this picture looks different because I made the chrome trim from the previous page visible again for upcoming reference.)



Extrude the polygons outwards to create the shell of the light. A small initial extrusion will keep the edge of the light shell anchored where it originates from... then a larger extrusion will create the roundness of the light.

The natural tendency will be for the extrusion to travel downwards a little from the origin.


We can rectify that by simply moving the selected polygons upwards on the Y axis so that the shape of the light fits within the borders of the trim surrounding it. The extrusion ordinarily runs at right angles from the face of the originating surface, but we want it to follow a straight line on the Z direction.


As you can see by the picture, hopefully, I'm having a little problem on the bottom of the light. In performing a relatively simple extrusion, I found out that it is going to take more work to get the proper fit along the bottom edge. That's not too surprising... not hard to fix either. Simply select the bottom two polygons on the back of the light object.


Then move those polygons back in the Z direction so the light casing appears to take up more space in the shelf area. A good rough guide is the edges of polygon cage object. We'll be using the knife tool to add definition to the bottom of the light so that it doesn't round off so drastically.


Here you can see all polygons selected. Once the polygons are selected, add three horizontal knifecuts. One at the very bottom of the light object, which serves to sharpen the edge down there, making the light fit much more closely to the shape of the shelf.

The other two cuts define a strip on the bottom half of the light. This strip will later serve as a transition between the upper brake light and the smaller light below it.



If you notice that there is still some visible overlap between the light trim and the casing, you're probably best to resort to some basic point pushing. As you can see, I have a bit of the light casing pushing out of the trim in the bottom, so to rectify that, I selected the points on the bottom outer corners of the light.


I then used the scale tool constrained to the X direction to basically draw them inwards toward the middle of the light.

(One of the trickier things to do is get familiar with how each transformation will work, as it always is based around the center of any given selection. This is a little restrictive at times, but also convenient in certain other situations like this... so keep it in mind.)


While I'm pushing points anyway, I took the opportunity to tweak them all a little to refine the shape of the light into something I was more pleased with. There isn't much technique here to discuss other than push, pull, tweak, eyeball, push, tweak, consider, push, push... finally it will end up like you want it... :-)

In the end though, the basic light shape was facilitated by modeling from existing geometry. Much easier than working from scratch all the time, which in my opinion is a corner just begging to be cut!

More work to do, though...