Realistic Picture Group

Project Viable

Case Study

DPC Studio / Altran Technologies / Frog Design

Altran Technologies’ “Project Viable” is an innovative effort to provide people all over the world with an “extended radius of life” through the use of vertical takeoff capable electric air taxis, or eVTOLs (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing).

We had an amazing opportunity to provide a supporting role toward this ambitious goal by assisting teams from Altran, Frog Design, and DPC Studio by creating high quality, physically plausible 3D imagery. 

The cover

An aerial shot of Montparnasse Tower featuring 2 eVTOLs in flight. In the background, a proposed skyport can be seen sitting atop the central skyscraper. This image conveys the possibilities of urban air mobility, and underscores the small footprint it will leave on existing city infrastructures. 

An overhead view of an eVTOL streaking across the countryside conveys the easy extended travel this technology will make possible.

A closeup shot of the 3D rendered model

Pictured above is a closeup render of the proposed skyport. The concept and initial model were created by Frog Design. We were responsible for adapting the provided parametric models into more render friendly polygon surfaces. 

An important feature of the proposed eVTOL is its fold-able wings, seen in the above render. The fold-able wings are important for minimizing the vehicles infrastructure impact. Although we are not engineers, we were tasked with creating a believable folding mechanism that would be visually plausible when seen from this distance. 

This is a closeup render of the rough wing fold mechanism (not pictured in the paper).

Another hallmark feature of the Viable eVTOL is its 18 independent rotors. It features a lightweight ducted dual rotor design to provide maximum lift and fantastic failure redundancy. Pictured above is a closeup render of the dual rotors.

Development history

The 3D development of Project Viable was dramatically enhanced by insightful feedback from multiple stakeholders at DPC Studio, Altran Technologies, and Frog Design. The design began with a pencil sketch from Altran engineers, which we quickly represented in 3D. After a few rounds of revision and feedback from Altran, a team from Frog Design joined us lending their own perspective to the project. Frog’s design refinements were critical in establishing a mature, high quality final design.

Following are rough work in progress renders and sketches created during the development process.

These are the first 2 sketches we were given to work with. We used them as a basis to develop the first iteration of our 3D model.

Our first iteration was very rough, but served to validate some fundamental design concepts.

This is our eVTOL after a few rounds of iteration. It was a somewhat impractical design, far too bulky and with over-complicated landing gear. Nonetheless it was a lot of fun to work on. 

At this point we were joined by a team from Frog Design, who kindly helped us to refine the design. 

After receiving Frog’s changes, we started from the ground up completely redesigning the eVTOL.

The final, approved 3D model as of February 2020.

Conclusion

We are very happy with the results achieved by all parties involved in Project Viable. We gained valuable design insights from the teams at Frog and DPC Studio, and we gained some understanding of aviation and engineering concepts from the team at Altran.

By leveraging our expertise with 3D technology, stakeholders from other teams also benefited. Art directors benefited from the flexibility provided by the 3D medium. It enabled image compositions to be carefully refined and changed multiple times. By utilizing multi pass rendering, we were able to make changes quickly to things such as paint color and surface reflectivity in principled, physically plausible ways.

The benefits of 3D rendering don’t stop here. Altran Technologies now have in their possession a valuable asset. This 3D asset can be used going forward not only as a starting point for serious engineering and 3D printing, but also for the creation of additional print content or video content. 

We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to assist in such a high profile and potentially world changing project. We hope to have more opportunities in the future to provide 3D support to all the great folks at DPC Studio, Frog Design, and Altran Technologies.

You can read Altran’s fantastic whitepaper: En-route to Urban Air Mobility here:

https://northamerica.altran.com/whitepapers/en-route-urban-air-mobility