Being able to talk the right technical language with our customers is important, as effective conversations are vital to a successful project.
Our team comprises talented individuals with a variety of backgrounds – mechanical engineers, product designers and branding experts to name a few, which makes us pretty adaptable and able to marry the commercial with the creative! We’re also lucky for this project, that Andrew’s background in Naval Architecture, gives him an understanding of hydro/aero-dynamics, and that he also happens to have a lifelong passion for aircraft, inherited from his family (his grandfather was one of the first navy pilots to fly off a ship and helped organise the first flight over Everest!)
Understanding EAG’s business goals focused us on two critical aims:
- Develop a great looking plane, that must also work in reality – i.e. it would actually fly well and be aerodynamically more efficient.
- Visualise this with compelling and exciting images to get people excited (think the glamour of Catch Me If You Can with the futuristic design of Blade Runner ..)
After some deep technical conversations with EAG, we quickly modelled several designs around the arrangements of their technology and the aerodynamic options for further discussion.
For example, we investigated four different tail fin arrangements with aim of optimising stability and drag. Through an iterative process, this resulted in four separate designs with the ‘U-tail’ being selected as both the ‘prettiest’ and most efficient. The U-tail borrows some ideas from the way nature has arranged bird tails, simplifying the tail into just two main horizontal stabilisers. This firstly reduces interaction drag between the stabilisers and the fuselage, and secondly by making these more raised angles (or dihedral) than normal, creates stability that allows the vertical stabilisers at the end to be smaller. These vertical stabilisers then also act as ‘tailets’ (like you see on the end of wings) to reduce the tip vortex drag. This allows the horizontal tailplanes to also then more efficiently share some of the lift in flight, thereby slightly reducing the area of the wing needed. It’s a smart way of arranging the various parts to share jobs and together become more efficient than when they are working independently.
Once the final aircraft concept was agreed, we needed to show it off as best we could! Researching other people’s concept aircraft images, we very realised that the standard ‘white stripey plane’ on a blue sky was over-done and boring. Our aircraft needed to feel more real-world, dramatic, adventurous, and exciting!
Firstly we experimented with some simple ‘EAG’ liveries with the aim – rather like dressing a fashion model – of creating a classy and contemporary look, whilst enhancing HERA’s unique curves! At the same time, we reviewed thousands of potential sky scene images, sketching and storyboarding, alongside quick renders, to find compositions that would show off all the unique features of HERA, in a range of dynamic positions, in emotionally engaging dramatic skies.
Once each scene was planned, we used the backgrounds to match the colour and reflections to set up the lighting in the renders, with hours spent experimenting to get good effects. But, there’s only so much the rendering software can do – so the last task was to artistically polish the images in Photoshop, not least adding effects like the spin blur of the propellers.