All posts tagged: A380-800
thai airways international a380 side view
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It just occurred to me as I was going through my archives that I have a lot of airliner illustrations that I’ve created over the years which I never got around to uploading. Although I don’t create these side profile illustrations for the sole purpose of uploading to this blog, I do like to post as many as I can – after all, they don’t serve any purpose stashed away in my archives where nobody but me can see them.

This Thai Airways A380-800 is one of those “lost” illustrations. I created it shortly after I finished my A380-800 side view templates about two years ago, and being a new livery at the time, I remember thinking how striking this livery is on that big whale of an airplane. I’m especially anxious to apply it to the 787-8, but my to do list is long enough already, and there are a lot of other illustrations that need to be done ahead of that one.

Of all the airlines that fly the A380 today, I think that the Thai Airways version is the best looking of them all. The Lufthansa and British Airways illustrations I created just don’t seem to have that visual “pop” that I like, and I’m pretty sure the reason for liking this Thai version so much is that is that half of the airplane is painted bright purple. Combined with the gold accents in the logo, it’s a rather stunning combination – especially when viewed in bright sunlight. I can’t say the same for the more reserved (eh…stiff) liveries from LH and BA.

Anyway, I’ll be uploading more airliner art from my archives in the coming weeks. Some of those pieces aren’t as polished as my latest stuff, but it’s probably worth posting just so I can get my entire collection organized here on the blog.

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british airways A380

Side-profile illustrations of an Airbus A380-800 in the British Airways livery

Now that I’ve created a high resolution side-profile illustration of an Airbus A380, I’ve been having a lot of fun creating some real-world versions of it. I should be working on more 3d illustrations, but I just can’t help myself. It’s fun to do something different every now and then!

Deciding to paint up a British Airways version next was logical for two reasons: first, British Airways will take delivery of their first A380 later this month (it’s kind of a big deal), and second, I will get my chance to fly with them for the first time this weekend from San Diego to Stockholm. I’m looking forward to it!

In the past I’ve been hesitant to create any aircraft illustrations with the British Airways livery – simply because I think it’s somewhat of a poorly-executed design. I don’t mean to say that it’s ugly, but my problem is with the Union Jack flag on the vertical stabilizer. I liked it when it was first unveiled, but over time I’ve come to notice how inconsistent and sloppy it is. It looks as if the designers traced a random photo of the flag in Adobe Illustrator and just plastered it on the airplane without much care to balance out the positive and negative spaces. So even though I have created a near-exact reproduction of the tail art, I can’t stand the fact that the lines are irregular and don’t flow as smoothly as I’d like. If it was the creative director for this project, I would have taken the time to smooth some of that out a little bit.

Other than that, I do think that the blue and red colors of British Airways look pretty good on the big A380.

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lufthansa A380-800

Side-profile illustrations of an Airbus A380-800 in the Lufthansa livery

I’ve been creating vector-based aircraft illustrations for a little over a year now, and for the most part, they are a fun and interesting diversion from my normal 3d work. The downside is that they are extremely time-consuming, requiring a large chunk of time that I would otherwise prefer to be spending creating 3d models. To make matters worse, this Airbus A380 is (by far) the most complex aircraft I have illustrated to date, meaning that I pretty much haven’t touched my 3d modeling software for the past three weeks. I think I’m having withdrawals.

For those who are not aware, my process for creating these side-profile airliner illustrations goes something like this:

  • Step 1: Loosely draw the aircraft and all the details in Adobe Illustrator
  • Step 2: Once all the pieces have been drawn, the painstaking cleanup process begins. Open lines need to be trimmed and closed, and all details are fine-tuned to look as realistic as possible.
  • Step 3: Still working in Illustrator, I take the finished line-drawing and begin applying plain white textures and gradients to make it look like a painted aircraft
  • Step 4: Since high-level realism is difficult to achieve entirely in Illustrator, I export the drawing to Photoshop so that I can add in all the detail shadows, gloss, and reflections
  • Step 5: Paint the liveries and apply them to the aircraft

As you can see, this is a huge amount of work for just one illustration. I basically have to commit to it fully before I begin, knowing full well that this is going to consume me for 2-3 weeks without allowing time for other projects. But it feels so good when I complete one of these things that it makes the effort feel totally worth it.

Now that I have a wireframe line-drawing and a fully rendered all-white version created, I can have a bit of fun and start applying different airlines liveries to it. The first one I chose for this Airbus A380 illustration is Lufthansa, admittedly because they have one of the simplest airline brand identities flying today and I didn’t really have the energy to create something more complex like the British Airways or Malaysia Airlines colors. Those will come later…

Please feel free to use this image however you wish.

 

All white A380-800 side view
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I never really noticed how weird looking the Airbus A380-800 was until I had the chance to create these blank templates. It’s a very odd looking aircraft with a tall snout and fat body, and it will certainly go down in history as one of the most unique airliners ever built.

Anyway, I’ve been having the itch to start creating some illustrations of some of the new A380’s from various airlines, but I needed a side view template before I could begin. So here it is!

A380-800 technical line drawing

A380-800 technical line drawing

Of all the side-profile templates I’ve created so far, this one took the longest to complete. There is a lot of technical detail in this big airplane, and it was almost as much work as creating two Boeing 737-800s. Double the windows and doors, double the engines, and whole heck of a lot more surface area! That large surface area made it difficult to get the shadows to flow correctly, and my arm certainly got a workout as I worked my Wacom pen from nose to tail.

I wasn’t going to mention this, but one of the reasons for wanting to create this template is that the A380 is a relatively brand new airplane, and there are only a handful of airlines who currently operate this beast. Therefore, I’d like to get a head start on creating illustrations of every livery, ultimately having an A380 collection that is 100% complete. But I know how real life goes, and I’m often far too ambitious considering everything else I’ve got going on. I’ll certainly try my best to use these blank templates to produce a complete collection, so be on the lookout for some more A380 illustrations soon!