From Concept to Reality: Exploring the World of Styling and Design in Supercar Lighting

Thorsten Schupp

Feb 16, 2024 / 3 min read

Supercar lighting exemplifies the merger of style and functionality. In a recent tech talk, Synopsys application engineer Thorsten Schupp explored the design process for supercar lighting from initial design concept to the final product. He discussed the complexities of balancing styling and optical design and demonstrated how the LucidShape software workflow helps engineers efficiently conceptualize, modify, and simulate automotive lighting designs. Read on to learn more about how LucidShape facilitates innovative supercar lighting.

Image courtesy of McLaren Automotive

Image courtesy of McLaren Automotive

Styling Conceptualization

Vehicle lighting design leverages aesthetics to shape consumers' perceptions of a car's performance potential. Rounded, soft forms can signal energy efficiency and aerodynamics, while robust, angular lines might suggest ruggedness and power.

Additionally, the influence of styling extends beyond mere aesthetics into engineering processes. Design lines and Class A surfaces -- the visual cornerstones of any design -- are key guides for engineering processes.

For supercars specifically, the translation of technical potential into an anticipation of joy which then creates the desire to own such a vehicle, is of particular importance. Supercars are at the forefront of technical innovation and as such provide a glimpse into the future. This technical superiority should find its way into the styling. For example, the P1 utilizes D lens optics for the low beam of the headlamp. A rather rare design choice which underlines the uniqueness of the vehicle. 

Simulating and Designing Automotive Lighting

Optical design's role in automotive lighting is pivotal. The designer brings styling to life, while at the same time negotiating factors such as manufacturing limitations and cost considerations.

The low beam consists of two distinct optical components. Two D-lenses for the wide light spread pattern and one projector lens for center punch, providing far light reach. 

LucidShape offers a complete workflow for automotive optical designers. Engineers can import styling lines, allocate optical materials, and initiate the creation of optical geometry. They can then simulate their designs, factoring in everything from regulatory compliance to aesthetics.

LucidShape MacroFocal Design Features: High Beam Parameters | Synopsys
LucidShape offers a complete workflow for automotive optical designers. Engineers can import styling lines, allocate optical materials, and initiate the creation of optical geometry.

Image courtesy of J.W. Speaker

Functional Geometry

LucidShape Functional Geometry is a tool that empowers engineers to control light-spreading parameters and automatically produce optical surfaces that comply with design requirements. This functional feature allows engineers to conceptualize, modify, and simulate lighting designs efficiently.

LucidShape Functional Geometry | Synopsys

P1 Supercar Example

Bringing theory into practice, the P1 supercar exemplifies the successful integration of optical design and styling. Schupp’s talk showcased the intricacies of designing the P1’s low beam, high beam, daytime running lights and turn indicators. The model demonstrated efficient use of collimator lenses, D-lenses, and projector lenses, providing efficient illumination under different driving conditions.


Schupp’s talk painted a vivid picture of the intricate processes behind every glowing headlight or taillight you see on the road and discussed the myriad of tools necessary in truly blending aesthetics and functionality in automotive lighting design.

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