Models that only show aspects of reality are widely used in design. How can they lead to new knowledge?
Advantages and disadvantages of using physical models.
IB Syllabus core
Both these articles from Core77 and FastCoDesign shows how traditional clay modelling is still used extensively as a critical part of the automotive design process. Watch the videos which help explain how clay models can be used for more than just aesthetic feedback, also aerodynamics and scanning 3D forms into CAD. The positives and negatives of such models also become apparent in that what can be made in clay may not be able to be manufactured using metal however potential consumers can relate to a physical model more than a virtual one and give critical feedback.
In the era of 3-D computer modeling and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, you’d think the car industry might give up on clay modeling. But in fact, the age-old art of layering thousands of pounds of clay over a foam core, spending months shaping every curve by hand, and even storing the model in an air tight container to revisit the next year, is still seen a necessity in the auto industry.
‘We always came back to clay.’ The problem is, he says, digital projections can’t accurately show how light will play on a car’s surface. ‘You can’t replicate the sun.’
Automotive design is probably the most capital-intensive field an industrial designer can work in; developing a new car model can literally cost more than a billion dollars.
It seems amazing, then, that a very crucial phase of the design process is entrusted not to brainiac scientists, but talented sculptors wielding centuries-old hand tools. If you dropped Michelangelo or Donatello in front of an auto design studio computer running CAD, they’d have no idea what the hell was going on; but if you dropped them into the clay modeling studio, they would not only be able to grasp it, but would be able to immediately participate in the process.
The automotive design field’s crucial clay modelers produce not only scale models based on the designers’ sketches and renderings, but also full-size clay models that are subsequently laser-scanned to become the de facto latest iteration of the design.