DETROIT -- On video screens deep inside Ford's design studios in Dearborn, Mich., a vision of the 2015 Edge Sport crossover is gradually taking shape.
It starts with a black-and-white sketch of the vehicle from a digital sketchpad. Then the environment around the Edge slowly begins to fill in. Images of buildings in a modern urban landscape begin to materialize.
The vehicle brightens into luminous yellow. Layer upon layer of detail is spread over the scene until the screen is filled with an image of the Edge Sport so lifelike, it's eerie, right down to the shimmering early-evening reflections playing on the vehicle's paint job and traces of oil spots on the pavement.
Electronic music adds drama to the virtual urban landscape, all designed to draw attention to the Edge Sport. The image looks like video footage, but it's 100 percent animation, composed of millions of digital pixels.
The picture is the creation of Studio 2000X, Ford's virtual reality design house where Disney-style technology meets the car industry. Ford uses 2000X to build advanced renderings of vehicle designs to show top management, often before final design approval. The renderings are often shown on 20-foot screens.
"We're using a lot of our high-end visualization for upper-level reviews and pretty big decisions that need to be made," says Jeffrey Nowak, chief designer in charge of 2000X.