When Theo Scheepers is not studying audio production, animation or graphic design for his applied media programme at SAE Institute Dubai, he sometimes works on modifications or airbrush designs for vehicles. Here, the 24-year-old, who resides in Al Ain, discusses his hobby.
You competed in an airbrush contest during the Middle East Motor Tuning Show in Sharjah last year and this month. How did your university studies influence your designs?
When I did the design last year I used Photoshop completely, and I used what I learned in the course. In the future, [I would like to do] some minor 3D modelling. That would work quite well when you're fabricating custom parts.
What design techniques have you used from your course work?
When you start with the design you'll have a 2D-image, then [you need to] manipulate the image on to the car so it looks like it's part of the car. You have to get the right angles on it, and making the design itself is not hard - but getting it right so it looks like an excellent photo was quite time consuming.
How did your designs fare?
Last year, my design won. They airbrushed my design on to [a] Lexus. I entered the competition again this year, but my design came in second. It was one of the designs I did last year, [and I thought] I'd give it another go, but didn't win.
You also enjoy modifying cars. When did that hobby begin?
Well, it's always been a hobby before I had cars. It's just something that fascinates me. It was only once I got my first car, two years ago, I started getting into it.
What kinds of modifications have you made to your Peugeot 207 RC sports car?
Intake and exhaust, to make the car breathe a little easier, especially with a Peugeot. They're not exactly known for their reliability. My primary thing was to increase the performance, but make it more reliable. Trying to deal with the dealerships here is quite a mission to make the car more reliable, and if I have an issue and the dealer doesn't know how to sort it out I can advise them what to do.
How much have you invested in modifying your car?
The total worth is around Dh10,000 [US$2,72], but for the Sharjah show [this month] I got a shop to sponsor me for some of the work. That brought the cost down considerably, to about Dh5,000.
How did the sponsorship scheme work?
They wanted to advertise. I put a big sticker on the car and played a video of them working on the car. For a company to exhibit would cost at least Dh10,000. So we thought,'OK, let's not go full out - let's go as a private competitor and show everyone a little bit about [their work].'
What are you hoping to do once you graduate?
I have absolutely no idea. I'll cross the bridge when I get to it.
* Neil Parmar