Documenting an industrial design process can be a challenging task when your primary focus is on getting the actual product design out of the door and into the hands of your client or manufacturer in time. Whether the documentation is for a student portfolio or for a world-class design firm, the combination of research data, concept sketches, CAD screenshots, CMF boards, prototypes, marketing renders and branding/packaging designs is oftentimes more fascinating than the end product itself…and for good reason: it’s a window into the mind of a designer.

But while the most common route for documentation might be pages upon pages of sketches, photographs of foam prototypes, CAD screenshots and final renders, how would you present an entire process in one compelling image?

Inspired by the BMW Z4, digital modeler Coline Thibaut of the UK-based Optic Group digital modeling and visualization firm has created a single image that takes a viewer’s eyeballs around a single scene that documents the design process of the BMW Z4 (or generally any automotive design for that matter).

Modeled in 3DSmax and shaded and lit in 3Dsmax and Vray 2.0, the split-environment image doubles as an I-Spy image that encourages the user to find various elements of the design process within the composition.

How many elements of the design process can you find?

feature Final Image (Click to Enlarge)







Left Side: “We create the dream” (Behind the scene)
A workshop scene relating the design process; from sketches to clay modelling.
The clay model looks voluntary in progress (tape on the front, clay chips, footprints on the floor…) to represent the human know-how.

Right Side: “You live the dream”
A BMW dealership, in which the car becomes a “present” for the consumer.
That’s why the clay chips are replaced by some golden ribbons on the floor.

Model Sources:
BMW Z4 – 3D model (surface and polygonal)
Free 3D models: Desk, chair, computer screens, storage, armchairs, plant.
Exterior backplate

Be sure to check out more of the incredible visualization work that Coline and the Optic Group have been up to over at their online portfolio.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.