Digital Auto Art Masthead

The beauty of computer tools...

I'm not talking about 3D software or computer-generated images (CGI) here. This is not my cup of tea, although professionally I'm glad to have them to create technical illustrations. When it comes to my 3D models, I like them to be more substantial, hence my section on Model Building. I'm talking about 2D software, and more precisely Adobe Illustrator. And contrarily to what 3D software can create, no matter how beautiful the end result is, I consider this to be art. Art that is just done with a different medium, which comes with its pros and cons.

Adobe Illustrator is a "vector" graphics program. That means that you create shapes by tracing lines, whether free-hand or with preset tools. These preset tools allow to create geometric forms, like you would with a ruler, a compass, a square, etc. But when it comes to create a non-geometric form, the artist's eye-hand coordination is as useful as in any traditional medium.

Creating in Illustrator an image of an automobile (since this is the main subject of this section) requires more time than making an acrylic or oil painting of the same automobile. But the rewarding part to this longer process has multiple facets:

* Precision: You can go into minute detail that would be just a dot or a blob of paint on a canvas. The reason for going into such detail is because of...

* Infinite re-sizing: Because vector images are made of lines and not of dots (or pixels) they can be sized up of down without distortion or loss of sharpness.

* Infinite usage: Because you end up with a digital file, you can multiply it, use it in different contexts, send it attached to an e-mail, print it (at different sizes, from business card to huge banner), go back and edit it as you want, etc.

Illustrator is a very versatile tool, but it is not intuitive at first. When I decided to go into computer art, I bought my first personal computer and Illustrator, and decided to create something to learn the tool, with the use of the user's guide. My very first illustration is the Ferrari 250GTO that is shown somewhere below. Took me a whole week, working long days (I stopped keeping track of my time after 50 hours) but in the end I had a pretty good grasp of the tool, and I went on from there to have a fairly successful career. As you will see, Ferrari illustrations represent a good portion of this section. Well, I like them, although I'll never be rich enough to have my own. They are considered as the epitome of the sports cars, not just because they are beautiful, but because Ferrari is the only successful car manufacturer that makes only sports (and racing) cars. Anyway, enjoy these pictures.

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1957 Ferrari 625TRC

One of the most beautiful Ferraris. This car, one of two ever made, is a variation of the Testa Rossa (Redhead, so named for its red-painted valve covers). I had a ride in this one around the Sears Point Raceway, thanks to its owner, Dr. Michael Callahan.

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1957-58 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

The original Testa Rossa. Only 21 cars were ever produced, 2 for the Ferrari race team, 19 for customers. The most coveted Ferrari for its racing history.

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1962/63 Ferrari 250GTO

GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato", Italian for "Grand Touring Homologated) means that this car was produced to race in the GT category by privateers. The rules stipulated that 100 cars were to be produced to be homologated, but Ferrari's influence on the governing race body let him get away with less than half of what was required. 36 cars were originally produced with this body style. In 64, Ferrari produced three Series II cars with a slightly different body, bringing the total to 39. Subsequently, 4 of the Series I cars were given a Series II body, which brought down the number of "original" 250 GTO to 32.

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1982-85 Ferrari 308GTSi Quattrovalvole

The successor to the Dino, the 308 is powered by a 3-liter V8 engine. In '82, fuel injection replaced carburetors and each cylinder was equipped with 4 valves, aka "Quattro valvole", in Italian.

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1984-91 Ferrari Testarossa

The modern version of the '57-58 "redhead". In '91 it became the 512 TR, named after its 5-liter flat-12 engine.

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1987-92 Ferrari F40

A street-legal race car, named to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Ferrari company, it was the last car that came out of Maranello before Enzo Ferrari's death. Extensive use of carbon fiber, kevlar and aluminum and a 3-liter twin-turbo V8 developing over 470 HP made it the fastest street-legal car ever produced at the time, able to reach a top speed of over 200 mph. Raced by privateers, it gathered a substantial amount of success, even years after the last unit came out of the factory.

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1989 Ferrari 640 - Nigel Mansell

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1999 Ferrari F399 - Michael Schumaker

1999 was the year that Michael Schumaker could have won his first world championship with Ferrari, hadn't it been for an accident in the British Grand Prix in which he broke a leg.

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1999 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-14 - Mika Hakkinen

For the second year in a row, Mika Häkkinen won the Formula One Driver Championship, driving for the Mercedes- powered McLaren MP4-14 (MP4-13 in 1998).

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2006 Renault R26 - Fernando Alonso

Spain's Fernando Alonso won the 2006 Formula One World Championship for Renault, the second time in as many years.

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1966 Ford GT40 MK II

After trying for two years, Ford's GT40 MK II won for the first time the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, ending the Ferrari dominance at the French endurance race.

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2006 Audi R10 TDI

In 2006, Audi produced the R10, a new diesel-powered version of its R8 that had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 5 times since 2000. The R10 won again in 2007 and 2008, before being replaced by the R15.

Copyright © 2009-2017 Dany Galgani.