A video and the story of Haruo Yuki, a senior clay modeler at Nissan since 1978, who helped shape more than 60 cars including the all-new Nissan Z.
From the official story:
Yuki believes that using digital programs alone, it is difficult to express emotional appeal and depth when transitioning to large-scale physical fitness.
“I found that drawings only come to life when we explore shapes with our hands,” he said. “Having been part of the creative process of dozens of cars, I have yet to see the emotional undertones of a design completely interpreted by a computer. I think the favorite parts of a design for people come from the clay modeler who manages to convey shape and proportion. With the new Z, I don’t think the final look would have been possible if we had only relied on computers and software. “
Taking an idea and shaping it is a multi-step process for Nissan. Typically, the design of a future vehicle must first be entered in a global design competition between Nissan design studios. After a series of selections and 3D modeling, it’s time for Yuki and her team to step in to help build the model’s final physical shape.
“To build a full-scale model, we first start with a quarter-scale clay model, then scan it and transform it into a model that is four times larger using digital data. We then begin the process of forming the full-scale model with a large clay slab. We have an oven where we heat the clay. Directly from the oven we begin to add material and shape it by hand. When the clay cools down a bit we can use tools to scrape and add the shape as it begins to harden at room temperature.
“We completed the full-size clay model for the new Z in about three weeks. A full-size clay model has an aluminum frame with axles so you can install wheels and tires. The total weight of the finished clay product is around 1.6 tons, so it’s a bit heavier than a real car. “ Yuki said.
Read the full story at Nissan official website.