Rocket Car

Thumbnail: Engine redesign concepts

Hi and welcome! I thought I’d try and document my latest project here. I’m working on a kind of rocket-powered car/ speeder based on a Toyota gt86. Here are a few concept sketches and my modelling progress so far.

Rough concept:

Modelling progress so far:

I have plans to make some cool animations based on the unique way the speeder will move. The idea is that it will hover and move around and steer using the rockets on its sides (which face both forwards and backwards).
Apart from the fuel tank, I’m going to be aiming for a physically plausible model with landing gears, flaps for braking, and maybe some sick lasers. I’ll be doing the interior of the cabin too.
Of course, I’d welcome any feedback/ suggestions!


A bit of an update on the modelling…

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More progress on the modelling:

I’ve also been experimenting with animation nodes to try and get the motion that I want. I can get the car to follow a curve object and to point in the direction of the acceleration vector, but its a bit janky at the moment.

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The first stage of the exterior modelling is done! I’m going to add more details and mechanisms to the outside, but at least now it looks more or less like a car. Here are some test renders. Any feedback/ critique of what I’ve modelled so far would be very welcome!

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Progress update: Have just finished rendering the first test animation (really it’s just procrastinating rigging the landing gear). It’s got a lot of problems but I thought I’d put it up here for interest. Hopefully it works on here.

I rendered it out in cycles because I couldn’t get the Eevee fire to look good. It took soo long to render though, so I’ll probably try a bit harder in Eevee next time.
Here’s my favourite frame:

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This work is amazing
You should be featured.
I really liked that you documented your whole workflow here
Great modelling and materials.
Just the animation of the grass when the car moves in front of them is odd, make it last long after the car has passes by

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Rocket Flames test
I’ve been experimenting with using blender volume objects for use in animations. I baked a flame sim in a separate blend file and then imported it into this one as an openvdb object. The advantage of doing this is that I can then move the flames around in the scene without needing a massive fluid domain, and it runs faster in the viewport.
I rendered this test animation out in eevee.

I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting it to look comparable to cycles, particularly this weird effect with the flames being cut off in the reflection. Anyone else had this problem before?

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Progress update:
Apart from some tweaks to the bodywork, I’ve redone the landing gear. It’s now rigged and with functioning pistons. Learning to rig pistons was a good learning exercise, as I intend to have a lot of pistons on this car.

I’ve also added flaps to cover over the rocket engine nozzles when they’re not in use to improve aerodynamics, but I’m not sure I like the shape of them, particularly when opened.

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Today I’ve been doing some more concept work. I’m not happy with the shape of the rocket engines flaps, and I think part of the issue is the shape of the engines themselves, so it’s back to the drawing board! Here are a few concepts I’ve thought up so far:

The circles represent bell nozzles, and the rectangles in the fourth one are aerospikes.
I’m not sure which is my favourite… I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s opinion!

I’ve also been thinking about the animation I want to do when the modelling is all done. Here are a few sketched ideas of shots I have in mind:

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I like the designs of the bottom left and bottom right images the most.

I think you could add stuff to other parts of the car to make it feel like its designed for high intensity rocketing. Maybe put in a roll cage? I also feel like this thing would need a spoiler or some sort of small wing to keep it from lifting too far off the ground.