COLOGNE, Germany, Nov. 11, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is now using a tool that enables designers to imagine and share drawings that can immediately be experienced from the driver’s point of view, or from anywhere inside the car, in 3D or in virtual reality.
Traditionally, designers have produced 2D sketches that are then recreated as 3D computer‑aided design (CAD) models. Creating sketches that immediately enable designers to experience their work from the point of view of the driver or passengers underlines Ford’s commitment to Human-Centric Design.
“360° sketching makes it possible to see the dashboard, doors, seats and console all together and to better understand how elements interact,” said Nicolas Fourny, interior designer, Ford of Europe. “We can see how things flow, collaborate in real time and work on different elements all at once. We can make the customer experience central to a vehicle’s interior right from the start of the design.”
Developed at the Ford Design Centre in Cologne, Germany, 360° sketching is already integrated into the design process of new vehicles. Fourny and his team are also using animation to bring the sketches to life – by lighting up the dashboard cluster and screen, moving elements around, and adding more mood and atmosphere to each sketch.
Rendering the interior in such a way makes it far easier to identify improvements to the height and width of seats, check the visibility for rear passengers, change the size and placement of roof console elements, and experiment with colours, materials and shapes. All this happens with a level of artistry offering more advantages than computer-aided design.
Fourny’s inspiration for the sketching tool came from video game development, which often involves creating a world and having the player move through and interact with that world, also in virtual reality. The 360° sketch provides a template for potential driver experiences, as it creates an interaction between the viewer and the interior well before the CAD phase.
This year, Ford became the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch – a 3D virtual reality tool that enables designers to come up with more human-centric designs.
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