I built and textured three of the characters for the CARS 2 Explorer title; Lightning McQueen, Pacer and Sheriff. Of the three characters I found Sheriff (bottom image) the most difficult to do. It wasn’t that he was more complicated than the others, it was that I had less reference to go by. I wound up basing the model on screen grabs from Cars and a toy car I bought of the character.
Here is McQueen with Mater and Finn McMissile (below). I composed and lit this shot and did the over-painting in Photoshop.
This rendering of the Pacer (below) was never seen in game. It was part of a group of images sent off to Pixar for approval – which is why the background is so simple. One thing about creating this model was that originally the model said “Pacer” on it. There are three Pacer emblems on the car and you can see the one on the hood here. At one point during the project having the rights to use the name “Pacer” was in dispute, so we were asked to remove the “P”. So the character was called “Acer” instead. I did notice when I saw the film, though, that the “P” had returned.
It was a bit of a trip down memory lane modelling this car, as I learned to drive on my mother’s Gremlin (also an AMC car). The sideview mirrors and door handles were identical on those cars. I hadn’t thought about those details in ages.