ATR 72 side view

Now that I’ve got most of the current large airliners from Boeing and Airbus illustrated, it’s time to turn my attention toward some of the prop aircraft that I’ve been neglecting so badly over the last few years. I’ve received countless requests for both the ATR 42 and 72, and my apologies for not getting to them until now. I’ll get to everything, I promise! I may be old and gray by the time I finish, but as I said before, this airliner template thing is a lifelong project of mine that I’m never going to abandon completely.

So here we go. These are the side view templates for the ATR 72! It’s a neat little aircraft, and I’m fully willing to admit that I wasn’t all that familiar with it before I created these illustrations. They just aren’t that popular here in the US, and as a matter of fact, I travel quite a bit domestically and I’ve only been on two ATR 72’s in my entire life. That was with American Eagle between STL (St Louis, MO) and SBN (South Bend, IN) way back in 2001 and I’ve never run across another one since. However, there is a chance that I’ll get to fly on one between KOA (Kona, HI) and HNL (Honolulu, HI) on my Hawaiian vacation later this month. The website for Island Air says it’ll be either a ATR 72 or Q400, so I’m not really going to know for sure until the day of the flight. By the way, those of you who might be interested in reading about my travels can check out my travel blog – there’s lots of good airliner geek stuff over there too!

ATR 72 side view line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of an ATR 72 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The ATR 72 ended up being a relatively easy aircraft to illustrate. There’s nothing cutting edge about the design at all, and the thing that made it especially easy was the fact that the majority of the landing gear is hidden behind the wheels and door flaps. Illustrating the landing gear mechanisms is by far the most time consuming part of every airliner template that I create, so not having to do it (or much of it) saves a ton of time. The main (rear) landing gear mechanism is exposed a bit, but it wasn’t too difficult to recreate the portions that are visible. I don’t recommend creating detailed engineering drawings from any of my templates though – there are a lot of details that I don’t draw in order to keep the drawings clean and nice.

I still need to tackle a couple other higher-priority aircraft first (Cessna Grand Caravan and the Boeing 717), but after those are complete I’ll circle back around and create the ATR 42 templates. It usually doesn’t take me long to create a derivative of an aircraft that I’ve already illustrated, so hopefully that remains true when I start taking sections out of this 72 to create the smaller version. More stuff coming soon!

757-300 template side view white

Have you ever been so busy that you start feeling hopeless and just stop trying to keep up anymore? That’s the way I’ve been feeling about some of my side projects lately (including this blog), so I do apologize for the lack of posts recently. I’m still here – up to my eyeballs in Maya and Form Z 3D work as a matter of fact, as well as chipping away on my side view airliner template project. Trust me – there’s a lot going on even though it may not look like it! That’s the problem with being so busy unfortunately. Many people think I’m slacking because I haven’t made an appearance in a while, but the truth is that I’m probably the most productive I’ve ever been in my life. I just haven’t had the time to post anything…

I’ve got three more airliner templates I need to make over the next several months, so I figured that I’d post these 757-300 side view templates before getting started with those. I completed these illustrations about 6 weeks ago, but my lack of free time has kept me from posting these here. My apologies. I don’t think that the 757-300 is a very popular aircraft anyway – heck, I think I’ve received only 1 request for it since I started this template project so I know there are very few of you who are salivating at the mouth for it. But I needed it for another project of mine (which is starting to become a pattern, I know) so it was necessary to roll up my sleeves and stretch the 757-200 template I created two years ago.

757-300 line drawing side view

A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 757-300 with winglets and rolls royce engines over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

Stretching an existing template is always an uncomfortable experience for me. It may seem like the easiest thing in the world to anyone who hasn’t done it before, but once I start pushing and pulling the pixels to fit the proportions of the real airframe, I always take a step back, scratch my head, and start to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. Especially for oddballs like the 757-300 (and the A340-600 I just completed). The proportions of this thing are downright weird, with it’s super-long forward section and relatively stubby rear-end. I couldn’t believe that was right, even after double-checking the dimensions and making sure I didn’t make a mistake by adding one too many fuselage sections. But everything checks out – it’s an accurate template. Well, I wouldn’t build a real aircraft off of these drawings, but they’re close enough!

Apologies again for the gap in posts. And as far as the next four templates, I have to get started on those relatively soon since the completion of another project depends on them. If you want to know, those three templates are: the Boeing 717, the ATR 74, and the Cessna Grand Caravan. Time to get busy!

audi R8 3d model maya

Remember that 3d model of an Audi R8 that I started building in Maya two years ago? Don’t worry, I hardly remember many of the details myself (lol) but I’m happy to report that I’ve revived it from the dead and managed to get it wrapped up. The entire project started as a way for me to dive head first into the world of 3d modeling in Maya, and it even though I bailed on it early on I’ve still considered it a successful exercise. First of all, the work that I put into it way back then was the perfect introduction polygonal modeling and I was able to put the project aside feeling like I had a gained a very solid understanding of what it takes to build complex surfaces in Maya. I wasn’t an expert at that point (heck, I don’t even consider myself an expert now) but the knowledge I gained from that short stint of automotive modeling allowed me to jump into other Maya projects with ease.

But you know me – I feel uneasy when my pile of unfinished projects start backing up and I couldn’t resist the urge to pull this R8 out of my archives and finish what I started two years ago. The biggest reason for wanting to finish, I think, was the fact that cars are my biggest passion in life and I’ve always wanted to get into automotive design and modeling. And I’ve never built a complete 3d model of a car. So yeah – I just had to finish this, if only to say that I’ve built a car in 3d.

So, if you recall, here is where I left off in August of 2014:

Audi R8 3d wireframe

Audi R8 3d wireframe in progress

Audi R8 3d wireframe

Front 3/4 view

And here is the completed 3d model:

audi R8 3d model maya

Completed Audi R8 3d model in all white. Don’t look at it too closely…there are a ton of embarrassing panel gaps that would make a 1975 Lincoln look good in comparison!

Wireframe over the 3d model

Wireframe over the 3d model

audi r8 3d model wireframe

This is definitely not low-poly. I chose to model the tires instead of using texture maps, so that added a lot of complexity to this project.

audi R8 wireframe 3d model

One of my biggest mistakes was not taking the time to be sure that the polygon flow matched from panel to panel (compare the doors to the front and rear quarter panels). This resulted in a lot of messy transitions and weird panel gaps.

audi R8 wireframe 3d model

It may look decent at first glance, but there a ton of newbie mistakes here. Oh well – all I can do is to apply what I’ve learned to my next automotive 3d model!

Is it perfect? Absolutely not! The surfaces of the Audi R8 are generally simple and not overly complex, but there were a few sections that I really struggled with. The taillight area is a total disaster and not anywhere near accurate. Same goes for the headlights – no matter how many vertices I pushed and pulled, I just couldn’t get it to look smooth and accurate. This entire model is what I consider to be a “10-footer”, meaning that it looks okay from a distance of 10 feet or so, but things get gnarly when viewed up close.

Even though it’s quite rough around the edges and very amateurish in spots, it’s a relief to have it wrapped up and close enough to call “done”. Many of the flaws were from errors I made very early on in the modeling process that wouldn’t be able to be rectified without starting over from scratch. Could I have fixed many of the problem areas? You bet. But it would have taken a lot of time to do – time which I would rather spend working on my next automotive model instead of trying to polish this turd.

all white a340-600 side view

Here she is – my favorite A340 variant of them all! I’ve been really anxious to publish these templates because the A340-600 contains pretty much everything I like in a big airliner: four very large engines, a long fuselage, and very well balanced proportions. Some may argue with me a bit on the proportion thing, but I think the extra-long fuselage with those four big Rolls Royce engines looks fantastic from any angle. I’ve heard it referred to as “the flying pencil” (the Boeing 757-300 has the honor of being referred to that as well), but that makes no difference to me. Flying pencil or not, she’s still a beauty!

Creating this template wasn’t too difficult, mostly since it borrows a large majority of components from the -500. The biggest difference (besides the added length) is the window and boarding door configuration. The -600 has four full size boarding doors, while the -500 has only three. Both have one emergency exit door. Other than that, was simply a matter of stretching a little here, pulling a little there, and repositioning components like sensors and landing gear to the appropriate positions.

airbus a340-600 side view line drawing

Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A340-600 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

There’s something special about these large four-engined airliners that no other type of aircraft has ever been able to replicate, and it’s a shame that we are at the end of an era with this sort of thing. The aviation industry has moved on to large twins (two-engine aircraft) for cost and efficiency purposes and it’s likely that we’ll never see another four-engined airliner again. Of course Airbus could continue to develop variants of the A380 over time, but there are very few airlines in this world who have been able to make large quads work within their fleets. It’s simply too much airplane for most markets, so only time will tell how much longer we’ll see four-engined airliners flying across the skies above.

Anyway, I’m still up in the air (ha!) about which airliner template to focus on next. The Airbus A320 NEO seems like it would be a good option due to how popular it has become, but…I’m not ashamed to admit that it’s not very exciting and I’d prefer to work on something with a bit more style. How about a Concorde? Or DC-8?? I can’t imagine there would be too many of you anxious to download templates for those, so the NEO may be the one. We’ll see…

airbus a340-500 white

Here we go – now we are getting into the “fun” variants of the A340! The A340 templates I posted last April were of the -300 variant which, to be quite honest, isn’t a very remarkable airplane. The biggest issue is how underpowered it is (despite having 4-engines), and quite a few airlines have voiced their disappointment in it’s overall performance over the years. It’s a well-built and reliable aircraft no doubt, but it just didn’t live up to it’s promises.

But then the stretched and re-engined -500 and -600 variants came along, and the A340 became relevant and competitive again. These aircraft were so much more capable than the -300 and -200 in pretty much every regard. More power, more range, and higher payload capabilities are just a few of the things which gave new life to this aircraft family. Unfortunately, most of the airline industry is moving away from 4-engined aircraft and the future isn’t looking good for the A340. The twin-engine A350 is simply the better option for most airlines that need an aircraft of this size.

Regardless of the A340’s future, the -500 and -600 are my favorites of this series. They are both long and lean, and the larger engines and wings help to make these things look like proper long-range wide body airliners. Of course I realize that’s a very subjective statement, but to me, bigger is better when it comes to long haul air travel. I’d be a horrible airline CEO, wouldn’t I? Buying large aircraft just because they look cool is a recipe for disaster. Just ask pretty much any airline who has bought the A380…

a340-500 line drawing side view

Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A340-500 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The beefy engines on the -500 and -600 are exactly what the A340 needed to make it fit the image of a capable high-performance airliner. The -200 and -300 variants had tiny engines which didn’t really fit the proportions of the fuselage all that well, but these big Rolls Royce Trent 553’s hanging under the wings balance things out nicely. You already know my stance on big-engined aircraft (the bigger the better!) so there’s no point in spewing off about that again.

This post is for the -500 templates only, but I’ll be posting the -600 very soon. The wireframe line drawing is complete, and I’m almost done creating the all-white rendered version. There are a few minor details that I’m having a hard time verifying, so I’d rather spend the time to make sure that I get it right before rushing though it and posting something that is incorrect. Look for those templates soon!

CRJ-900 side view all white

As promised, I’m still making pretty good progress on finishing out my A340 collection with the addition of the larger -500 and -600 variants. I’ve got the wireframe line drawings complete, and now it’s just a matter of creating the fully shaded white versions. However, my massively short attention span couldn’t leave well enough alone, and earlier this week I felt an overwhelming urge to finish the CRJ-900 illustration that I started a long time ago (but put aside due to other higher priority projects). I will say, however, that this urge didn’t come out of nowhere – there have been several people who have been asking me about a CR9 template for the past few weeks so that no doubt fueled the flames and I couldn’t stop thinking that I should go ahead and try to wrap this up.

CRJ-900 side view line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of a Bombardier CRJ-900 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

I thought the CRJ-700 was long, but this -900 takes it to a whole new level. All of the major components (wing, wing box, landing gear, engines, vertical stabilizer, etc) carry over directly from the -700, so this longer version seems overly stretched when comparing the two. The look of a long and sleek aircraft can be nice, but there’s a point where it can be taken too far IMHO.

And you want to know what’s really crazy? There’s an even longer version of this airplane (the CRJ-1000), which seems almost mind-boggling to me that they were able to stretch this basic airframe that much more. From a business point of view, I’m not really sure what the reasoning behind that extra stretch was – after all, the CRJ-1000 is nearly as large as a mainline aircraft at that point so it’s difficult for me to understand how the economics of such an aircraft would work. Perhaps it’s because Bombardier wanted desperately to offer a larger (mainline) aircraft but didn’t have the resources at the time to do it? That’s the only thing that makes sense to me, but now that the CS100 and 300 have been introduced, I don’t see much life left for the CRJ-1000.

Thanks to all of you who have been patiently waiting for these illustrations. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep up with all the requests I get, but I’m doing my best to fulfill them all. Anyone want to sponsor me so I can do aircraft illustrations full time? 🙂

boeing 737 MAX 7 side view

I’m on a roll now! Or at least it seems that way. After nearly a three month break from working on my airliner template project, I’ve wrapped up three in the past week: the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the 737-900/ER with split scimitar winglets, and now this 737 MAX 7. It feels really good to be making progress again and I’m really excited about keeping this momentum going for a while.

The subject of this post is, of course, my latest illustrations featuring the MAX 7. All in all, the only thing I really had to do to create these templates was to shorten the fuselage of the 737-8 MAX a bit and reposition a few details. That’s not to say there wasn’t any heartburn along the way though. You see, about two weeks ago Boeing published an updated design for the 737-7 MAX which threw me for a loop (and required a lot of head scratching as I had to try and figure out what those changes were and how they affected the look of this airplane). Long story short, they increased the length of the airframe slightly in order to add two more seating rows. This was likely done in order to make it more competitive with the Bombardier CS300, and to be honest, I’m not really sure that was necessary. I’m hardly an expert in the field of commercial aviation, but the 737-700 has always been the “sweet spot” when it comes to performance vs payload. It’s an extremely versatile aircraft and I have no doubt it’s success would have continued with the MAX 7 even with the CS300 competing for the same customers. But what do I know? I’m just an illustrator.

737 MAX 7 line drawing side view

2d profile illustration of a wireframe line drawing of a 737-7 MAX over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

It’s always weird taking one of my existing templates and either stretching or shortening it. I spent many hours working on my 737 MAX 8 illustrations, and then spent a couple days updating my 737-900 – so yeah, 737’s with long fuselages have been burned into my brain pretty well over the past week. So when the time came to shorten up the 737-8 to make these templates, the stubby proportions of this shorter variant really caught me off guard. It almost looked comical and wrong to me once I had it all laid out, and I had to triple check to make sure I had the dimensions accurate. The 737-7 MAX really is a stubby little airplane, which is exaggerated no doubt by those huge new LEAP engines.

Anyway, so that’s it for 737 templates for a while. I need to go back and finish out my A340 series next, and what comes after that is still a bit fuzzy to me. I was planning on doing the 727 (finally!), but I’ve been getting a lot more requests for some other aircraft which might need to come first.

737-900ER split scimitar side view

Sometimes I really wonder if starting this airliner template project was a good idea or not. Of course I really enjoy working on these highly detailed side-profile illustrations, but the sheer number of aircraft on my “to do” list has been overwhelming for much too long and the reality is that I’ll probably never get around to doing them all. That’s not a very comfortable feeling for me, primarily because having too much to do sends my anxiety levels through the roof (lol) and I never really feel satisfied that I’m making progress. But as long as I just focus on on aircraft at a time, things are more manageable and I can keep moving forward.

Today’s area of focus is squarely on the 737-900/ER. I created my original 737-900/ER template way back in 2014, but that one had the normal-style winglets and some missing details that I never got around to adding. The way that I shaded the all-white version had been bugging me as well (the shadows were much too dark IMHO), so I finally decided to dig it up from my archives and make some of those much-needed updates.

737-900ER split scimitar side view

A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 737-900/ER with split scimitar winglets over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The biggest change is the addition of the split scimitar winglets. Most airlines seem to be opting for these over the older-style winglets, so I thought it was important to have this version in my collection for anyone needing it (which is a lot of you, since I’ve been getting a lot of requests for it). I’ve also added a few details, like the satellite communications dome on the top of the fuselage, as well as adding some window “blanks” to make it more realistic.

Finally, I spent some time adjusting all the shading and shadows, fixing all the problem areas which made the original template much too dark and muddy. It’s really hard to create a single style of shading for all my templates – my personal tastes and styles change over the years, and back then (when I first created this template), I was into very exaggerated and “strong” imagery. These days, I’m all about simplicity and cleanliness. I’d love to go back and fix all my earlier illustrations to bring them up to date with my current lighter style, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to take on a project that big!

Hope you enjoy this little update. The Boeing 737-7 MAX is on the drawing board and will be available soon.

737-8 MAX side view drawing

Just when you thought I had abandoned my side view airliner template project all together, I present to you all these detailed illustrations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (aka 737-8). It’s been nearly three months since I posted my drawings of the A340-300 and I was fully committed at the time to finish out that series with the -500, -600, and -200 variants. Unfortunately, life got in the way and here I am three months later and none of them have been finished yet. But the good news is that I have the wireframe line drawings completed for each one of those, so now it’s just a matter of creating the fully shaded white versions. Soon!

Based on the number of requests I have been getting for the next-generation 737 variants, I decided to focus on those first before I go back and finish out the A340 series. I know that many of you have been patiently waiting for the 737-8 MAX (like, foreeeeeever!), and I am really sorry that it has taken so long. I will mention, however, that part of the reason for the delay was the lack of good reference material available for this aircraft. There are only a few frames built at the moment, and not very many detailed pictures which show all the changes very well. But I pieced together what I could and I think I’ve recreated this 737-8 fairly accurately. “I think” are the key words here – so please do let me know if you spot any errors in these drawings.

boeing 737-8 line drawing side view

2d profile illustration of a wireframe line drawing of a 737-8 MAX over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The MAX is pretty much identical to the previous generation aircraft, except for a few bigger component upgrades: new (larger) engines, taller landing gear, a new tail cone, and a new wing with a beautiful new split scimitar winglet design. Other than that, I was able to leverage my existing 737-800 template for the fuselage and vertical stabilizer parts, along with a slew of little details that carry over to the MAX. And to be honest – once I finished out this template and stepped back to have a look, I was really amazed at how similar it is to the old 737-800. Only hardcore aviation nerds will be able to spot the differences between the MAX and previous generation 737’s, and I think Boeing missed an opportunity here to differentiate the design a bit more (which would amplify the “new and improved / cutting edge tech” aspect a bit). Of course larger changes would have meant a longer development time, so the practical side of me understands fully why they did what they did.

Next up will be templates of the 737 MAX 7 (737-7). As far as I can tell it’s just a shortened version of the 737-8 so I don’t expect it will take very long for me to put those together. I promise!

airbus a340-300 side view

One of the problems with taking a long time to do a single airliner template is that more often than not (especially if it takes long enough), the aircraft in question is no longer popular and highly sought-after by the time the illustrations are complete. Of course I knew that the Airbus A340 was a dying breed when I first thought to make side view templates of it way back in 2012, but here in 2016, the airlines can’t seem to retire these things fast enough. Sure they were a perfectly fine aircraft for their day (ok, perhaps a bit underpowered), but there are now far better performing and more fuel-efficient options available from both Airbus and Boeing which makes this bird an economically poor performer in comparison.

airbus a340-300 line drawing

The featured image for this post is the A340-300 (non X). Here is the line drawing of that version over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

Luckily for me, this was a relatively easy set of drawings to make. Since the A340 is basically an A330 with four engines (and a few other really minor changes), I was able to leverage my existing A330 templates quite nicely. Essentially all I had to do was to create a new wing and engines, make a few minor adjustments, and I then I was good to go. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was much better than having to create a complete aircraft from scratch! The landing gear is always the most time-consuming part of creating these illustrations, with the wing and engines being the second biggest time-suck. Having half of the work done already was a huge time saver.

Airbus A340-300X all white side profile

Two side profile illustrations of a white Airbus A340-300X over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

A340-300X side profile line drawing

A340-300X side profile line drawing with and without the landing gear

Speaking of wings and engines, I guess I never realized how small the A340-300’s engines really are. Sure there are four of them, but still…they are relatively tiny when compared to the fuselage of this airplane. I noticed the same thing with my Embraer 175 templates – that airplane has the tiniest engines of all!

My apologies once again for taking so long to create blank illustration templates for the A340. I know many of you have been asking for these over the past few years so hopefully you will find them useful for your projects. Note that I am also going to be doing all of the other variants of the A340 over the coming weeks. I’m going to start with the -500 and -600, and will then wrap this set up with the least-popular -200. I know this series has been a long time coming so I thank you all for your patience!