All posts by: Norebbo
All white Boeing 787-10 side view
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If you recall from my last post, I opened up the question about what my next template should be to all of you. I got a lot of responses and I really thank you for that – a lot more than I was expecting actually, which is quite good because it made my decision very easy. Most suggestions came in via email and Facebook direct messages, and I do appreciate everyone taking the time to offer suggestions for my next aircraft illustration.

The winner, which is not all that surprising considering recent events, was the Boeing 787-10. All of you aviation fans out there are probably aware that the 787-10 made it’s debut at the Paris air show this past week, and Boeing did an amazing job of showing this aircraft to the world. I know I was glued to the video stream when it was being announced – how about you?

The 787-10 has actually been at the top of my personal to-do list for quite some time. The problem was was there wasn’t really that much information about it up until this point and I didn’t really have enough reference material to go off to create an accurate template. But now that the aircraft is been officially announced with all the juicy specs and high res photos, it was perfect timing for me to go in and create these side view illustrations.

Boeing 787-10 blueprint

A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 787-10 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

I’ll be completely honest when I say it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. One of the things that I learned in my research was that it was Boeing’s goal to reuse as many components as they could from the 787-8 and -9, and that meant that I didn’t have to redraw a lot of new parts and pieces. The biggest change obviously, is the lengthened fuselage which is stretched nearly equally both front and rear. The other big change is the new main landing gear, but to me it doesn’t really look that much different from the previous version. So I didn’t have to do a whole lot with that – which is nice because it’s usually the landing gear mechanisms that take so long to draw. There were a few minor other differences and changes that I had to make but otherwise this was a very easy side view template to create.

Now that I’ve got three side view templates of the 787 completed, it feels natural for me to declare that I prefer the -10 the best. The -8 seemed a bit too short for my tastes, and while the -9 was starting to look better and more filled out, it just wasn’t enough. The proportions of this lengthened -10 seem to make everything right with the 787. There is just enough overhang front and rear to make it look substantial yet elegant and not at all awkward like the -8, though it almost seems like they could’ve used a taller vertical stabilizer and taller landing gear to help with the performance of this aircraft. But hey – I’m not aircraft engineer, and all I know is what looks good and what doesn’t. Math has never been my thing!

Speaking of not being an aircraft engineer, I have to wonder how much more Boeing can do with these existing components. Any larger versions of the 787 are most likely going to require a new wing, bigger engines, and a whole lot of new stuff under the hood for increased efficiency. At that point, will it still be a 787? I really have no idea and all we can do is just wait and see what Boeing is going to do.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that the NEO versions of the Airbus baby buses (A319, A320, and A321) were the second most requested aircraft templates in my survey. Therefore, I will do those next. However, I need to manage expectations by letting you all know that there really isn’t that much of a visual difference from the current engine option (CEO) so please don’t expect something amazing! As far as I can tell, the new engine is only slightly larger than the current cm56 engine option and it’s a bit hard to see the differences in side view. No matter though – I will get started on them soon!

side profile all white boeing 717
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I’ve been looking forward to this one. The Boeing 717 is probably one of my all-time favorite airplanes due to how squat and tough it looks, and I’m convinced that it may be one of the best aircraft designs ever (well, besides the 757 that is). That’s just my option of course, but the proportions of each element are so perfectly balanced with one another that I can’t help but feel the urge to create illustration after illustration of this thing adorned in my favorite liveries (both real and fictitious). I haven’t been doing as many livery illustrations as I’ve wanted to lately, so this sounds like the perfect excuse to reprioritize my busy schedule…

I actually learned quite a bit about the 717 while creating these templates. For some reason or another I had always thought that the size of the wing had been increased over what was on the DC9 and MD80, but it’s actually the other way around. The wing has indeed been redesigned, but its actually quite a bit smaller with a shorter overall wingspan. It’s probably the greatly shortened fuselage that distorted my reality a bit, but I could have swore they made a much more agressive wing for this model.

Many other elements of the 717 have been greatly enhanced over it’s older siblings, however. The vertical stabilizer is an all new design, along with a much larger horizontal stabilizer. The engine is the other big change (both figuratively and literally), which to me, is what gives the 717 such an agressive look. I guess it’s just a guy thing. Those big Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofan engines look great on this little fuselage.

Boeing 717 side view line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 717-200 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The forward section of this airplane is largely a carryover from earlier versions, but combined with those big new engines and tail section, it looks like a totally new design. And can you imagine what this would look like with a more aggressive wing and winglets? There is most certainly no chance of Boeing re-opening the production line of the 717, but I really can’t help but wonder what 2017 tech the engineers would add to in now to make it even more efficient and powerful. I’m sure it would look even better than it already does!

My only complaint with the Boeing 717 is the name. Sorry Boeing, even though you merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and took over every single part of that old company, the 717 will never truly be part of the Boeing family in my mind. A fine aircraft it is, but I kind of which they would have kept the MD name out of respect for the history of the brand.

Now that this template is complete, I’ve caught up with my own personal needs. There aren’t any other airliner templates I need to create for my travel blog right now, so I’m going to open it up to you and ask for suggestions. Please email me or leave a comment below with your suggestion as to what my next template should be. I’ll tally the responses and pick the #1 most-requested aircraft type. I really mean it! I feel like I’ve been really selfish over the last few months creating only what I want to create, so I encourage you to speak up if there is an aircraft you desperately need side view templates for.

cessna 208 grand caravan side view
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Ok, here we go. My first Cessna template, and the smallest aircraft I’ve ever illustrated! I realize that the 208 is probably not the first aircraft people think of when imagining “Cessna”, but it’s a pretty neat little airplane that I’ve been lucky enough to fly on a few times over the years. It’s not exactly what I would consider “pretty” either, and as a matter of fact, this might be one of the least attractive airplanes I’ve ever drawn. But that doesn’t stop me from liking these things so much.

The 208 was a challenging aircraft to create a fully-detailed template for, and I ran into some issues that I haven’t had to deal with on any of my other illustrations. The biggest one was the windows. The windows of the 208 are so big and such a prominent part of the illustration, and I had a hard time trying to figure out how to illustrate them. Do I make them transparent or fully opaque? What about reflections? They take up so much surface area that I struggled to find ways to illustrate them in a way that wasn’t so plain and boring.

As you can see, I ultimately decided to make them black without any refections (or detail) at all. The problem with making them transparent was that there is very little detail that could be seen on the inside of the aircraft, so there was no point in making clear windows that didn’t reveal anything. And adding fancy details (such as reflections) was starting to call to much attention to the windows, when in reality, they are far from the most important part of the aircraft. So I just made them black. I figure that I would leave the detail up to you, the livery designers who use my templates, to decide how you want to illustrate them. If you don’t like the way I did it, you can simply trace over the windows I’ve made with something else that suits your style. And as always, I encourage that – do whatever you can to make these templates your own so you can stand out from the crowd!

cessna 208 grand caravan line drawing side view

A technical side profile line drawing of an Cessna 208 Grand Caravan over a white background

Another challenge of illustrating such a small aircraft was the fact that the scale is much different than some of my other (larger) airliner templates such as the A380-800 or 747-8i. This meant that all the little details such as hinges and sensors had to be a bit more detailed than usual, causing this template to take as much time to create as some of my other ones. It’s hard to hide little mistakes when the scale is so large! And on a related note, that need to be more accurate put a little bit more pressure on me as well. Why is it that the seemingly easiest templates to create are always the hardest?

Anyway, despite the challenges, I had a lot of fun creating a fully-detailed side view template for the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. It was a nice change of pace from all the other types of aircraft I have done so far, which was kind of refreshing in a weird sort of way. These templates are so intricate and take so long to create, and my short attention span has a difficult time staying focused on the same thing over and over again. Maybe that’s a sign that I need to start finding some of the most oddball aircraft I can find if I have any hopes of spitting these things out at a more frequent pace…

I hope you like this one. The Boeing 717-200 is up next!

ATR 72 side view
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.