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Link to intro presentation


Project Overview

In this project, each student will design a vehicle capable of operating within a particular harsh environment.  For example, a submersible ship meant to travel through lava, or a helicopter that can fly through a hurricane.  Designs should integrate aspects of a particular preexisting vehicle, but should be significantly transformed to become something new and novel.  To spur creative problem solving and integration of disparate influences, each student will use aspects of a famous person’s attributes, preferences, and aversions to inform the vehicle’s design.


Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how to gather and generate various sources of inspiration.
  • Create a dynamic work of art by synthesizing disparate elements.
  • Learn how an iterative process can enhance the design process.
  • Use group discussion to promote critical thinking, aid in the development of ideas, and lead to a better final product.
  • Apply the Rhino commands we’ve learned so far in a contextualized manner to achieve an advanced result.
  • Learn more about how to use Keyshot to create high quality photorealistic renderings of a design.



Grading Criteria – The best projects/highest performing individuals will:

  • Inventively synthesize various inspirational elements to produce a highly innovative final result.
  • Significantly develop the vehicle’s design through numerous iterations.
  • Achieve an outstanding level of detail and complexity in the vehicle’s geometry.
  • Create high quality geometry for the environment in which the vehicle will be situated.
  • Produce excellent Keyshot renderings that depict the vehicle convincingly in its intended environment.
  • Consist of renders that have good movement, with dynamic rather than static compositions.
  • Be proactive in seeking advice from the professor and TA, and maintain a strong dialogue with them in and beyond the class.
  • Have outstanding work ethic, showing a high level of focus during class and consistently working on the project outside of class (going well beyond the minimum expectation of 6 hours per week).
  • Achieve a quality of result that is commensurate with the student’s potential.  (In other words, students with a higher aptitude will be held to a higher standard)



By the start of class on Tuesday, 2/17, each student should do the following:

<1> Review the grading criteria for this project if you have not yet done so.  See above.

<2> Create a SIMPLE Rhino model of your vehicle that includes all of the main components. This model will help you conceptualize how the vehicle will look as a whole and exist in space.  Examples of simple models from previous semesters are below:

<3> Create a post on the PUBLIC class website that responds to the following prompts.  (100 to 20o words; include loads of images) :

  • What harsh environment did you select?  What key aspects of this environment were you concerned with as you created your various sketches? Please include relevant images in your post.
  • What famous individual did you choose, and how have his/her attributes, preferences, or aversions factored into your design? Please include relevant images in your post.
  • What preexisting vehicle has informed your design? Please include relevant images in your post.
  • Describe the unique features that you plan to include in your vehicle. Please include relevant images in your post.
  • Tell about any additional inspirational elements that will influence your design decisions during development. Please include relevant images in your post.
  • Please include a few images of your simple Rhino model in your post.

*Note: I encourage you to create your post in the format shown here, with descriptive text below each image.



By the start of class on 3/5, each students should:

  • Submit ten high quality final Keyshot renders to the PUBLIC class website
  • Write a succinct paragraph that addresses the following questions, and include the paragraph in your post on the public class website:
    • What particular vehicle(s) did you use as inspiration for your design?  Why did you choose this vehicle, and what about it did you find interesting?
    • What harsh environment did you design the vehicle for?  How did the nature of this environment influence your design decisions?
    • Each student was asked to select a famous individual and use this person’s attributes, preferences, and aversions to inform the vehicle’s design; please describe how these elements influenced your design of the vehicle.
    • For a viewer to fully understand your intentions, what else should you mention about your final project and renders?
  • Though not required, you are strongly encouraged to backup your project by saving your Rhino files and a Keyshot package file to your external hard drive.  You can create a package file by going in Keyshot to: File > Save Package…  KeyShot will write out a package file that contains the bip, hdri, backplate and all of the textures.