Practical experience is the best way to help learn just about anything. If you’re learning a trade such as baking, gardening or carpentry it’s easy to find ways to gain practical experience to help in your learning process. But what if you’re studying vehicle construction or production logistics? Gaining practical experience can be quite difficult in these and other fields. In order to give those studying in fields in which practical experience is hard to come by, the Technical University of Graz created the TANKIA (There Are No Kangaroos In Austria) project. The project’s proper name is TU Graz Racing Team, which encompasses no less than an entire racing team, which does everything from constructing its own racing car to creating marketing campaigns for the team – projects that are part of a real-world racing team’s mission.
The racing team was called into life by the TU Graz in 2002 and is financed exclusively by sponsors who are involved in the project in different ways. Sponsoring ranges from financial support to donations in kind.
For the 2014 season, the race car – upon completion – was to be included in additional graphics material to accompany the existing PR material. These visuals had to showcase the car’s technical highlights, illustrate its complex inner workings and show the public things they would otherwise not see. The animation starts with an exploded illustration of all components, which then start to assemble themselves to form the new race car.
This is something the TANKIA team wanted to do using Cinema 4D. The first thing that had to be done was to export the models from CATHIA, which turned out to be more of a challenge than expected. 3DVIA Composer was used to convert the .3Dxml files exported from CATHIA to .OBJ files, which Cinema 4D was then able to import. The team then had to learn how to use Cinema 4D – with which no-one in the team had ever worked! However, this hurdle was overcome surprisingly quickly and after only a few days and slight initial difficulties the team was up and running in full production mode.
The team also faced other unpredictable challenges such as the dishwasher that caused a fuse to blow and cause half a day’s work to be lost. The team switched to using laptops and was able to complete the sequence a mere 60 minutes before the deadline. Rendering was done on a single computer because nobody had had time to learn how to set up network rendering.
Despite all difficulties (which most often were simply a result of using the wrong settings) encountered by the team, the result is exceptional and looks quite professional. Even the scene in which the TANKIA racing car slides to a screeching halt next to the previous year’s car doesn’t show a hint of the fact that it was created by a team of Cinema 4D newbies!
The TANKIA Team Website:
Austrian Student Racing Team
Every year the University of Graz’ TANKIA Team constructs a race car as part of a practical learning project – and this year Cinema 4D was part of the team as well.