The Shape-Shifting Blackbird Can Be Any Car You Want It to Be

June 27th, 2016 by Michael Leary

Talk about something you don’t see everyday. There’s no questioning the expense in securing any number of the available high performance, exotic torpedoes when advertising comes into play. Whether it be an issue of the vehicle’s availability, the location, or setting up everything for the ideal commercial or movie, it can all prove to be very troublesome.

London-based VFX studio The Mill have devised a very clever solution to this problem: The Blackbird.

The Blackbird is the world’s first fully adjustable car rig. It offers the ability to not only match the exact length and width of almost any car, but the appearance as well through The Mill’s mastery of re-skinning with the use of CGI. With a simple button press, the rig can adjust its length by up to 4 feet and width by 10 inches. The four wheels can be swapped out and the suspension can be adjusted to emulate the characteristics of almost any chassis design.

The Mill Blackbird

Furthermore, the electric motor can also be adjusted to emulate the driving characteristics of nearly any vehicle. Interestingly enough, this allows the Blackbird to fill the role of next to any car by being on-location, capturing road contact and shadows.

While in motion the vehicle captures high-quality data through a combination of HDR imagery and laser-scanning, allowing a team to build a virtual recreation of the environment around the car. The technology extends to VR applications, in addition to a unique augmented-reality application allowing users to see the intended vehicle dressed over the rig in real-time.

If this sounds at all familiar, then you might be thinking of GT Sport’s new Photo Mode feature, Scapes. The technologies are remarkably similar, save for the Blackbird working with video and any environment.

Named after the SR-71, it was hand-built in the same hangar as the supersonic jet by technicians from JemFX and was completed within two years.

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15 Comments

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  1. Jun. 28, 12:21am
    ribloGT

    Next GT car? :P

  2. Jun. 27, 7:55pm
    dice1998

    Does this mean they can finally bring the Isdera Commendatore 112i into the modern times??

  3. Jun. 27, 7:45pm
    infamousphil

    Cars l would emulate if the BlackBird were available in the next GT:
    Pop’s whips…
    52 Studebaker
    62 Cadillac Fleetwood Edorado Brogham Convertible
    62 Ford Thunderbird Roadster
    71 Ford Thunderbird
    76 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon
    76 Lincoln Mk lll
    My whips…
    75 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ
    81 Audi 5000 T

    • Jun. 27, 7:50pm
      infamousphil

      Oh yeah…
      Dream cars
      late 60s Cadillac Eldorado and/or any big block Plymouth Road Runner
      beep beep ;)

  4. Jun. 27, 5:22pm
    MrWaflz55

    Now I wish I could find the button on the Econobox that turns the exterior into a Ferrari 458. Must not be standard equipment…

  5. Jun. 27, 2:40pm
    Johnnypenso

    I wonder what the pp is for this car and which group it’ll race in.

  6. Jun. 27, 12:18pm
    bloodyboyblue

    Will be useful for car commercials since most of the cars in them now are CGI anyway, this could make them look slightly more realistic. Or, you know, they could just put a real car in it.

  7. Jun. 27, 11:14am
    LMSCorvetteGT2

    Cool read, I like this kind of interesting stuff.

  8. Jun. 27, 10:25am
    Ridox2JZGTE

    Misleading lol, I thought Blackbird of Wangan Midnight :P

    • Jun. 27, 11:13am
      LMSCorvetteGT2

      Same

  9. Jun. 27, 9:49am
    showmethepuppiz

    Let’s get that into GT6, We’ve got track maker, may as well add Car Maker too. Create any car you love and drive it in GT6 via The Blackbird, Porsche 911 or 918 anyone?

    • Jun. 27, 10:38am
      cfc

      This is Premium version,thus wont be released for poor GT6 :D
      Unless you can wait till 2019 for GT7…hopefully :D

    • Jun. 27, 2:08pm
      Thematic

      I thought this is what GT is doing: “emulate [] any chassis design”, “adjust length [] width” The part about a simple button press is the tough part.

    • Jun. 27, 2:08pm
      Octopuss_911

      @cfc
      No offense, but why there are still so many people that believe in a clear GT7 version? They told us ready they could name this game also GT7 but it’s an evolved growth version, so it’s GTSport… I just hope this version will not get a day one patch, not like the disaster of GT6.

  10. Jun. 27, 9:46am
    GTvsForza

    Much want!


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