This is my interpretation of a tutorial I found in German. I had no idea what he was saying but I think I figured it out.
The hump that I had a hard time getting over was in the first stage. Basically, you create a primitive environment and set your clunky boxy car loose on it. Simple enough. The magic happens when you apply a new shader (luminescence with horizontal gradient attached) then set it’s Projection to… I want to say Flat… maybe the option directly under Flat. I’m spacing on the name.
The goal is to create a topological projection where the whites are the highs and the blacks are the lows (or vice versa) with nice gradients in between. If you look at your scene from the side it should look like a clean gradient map. To add an organic splash to it I threw some turbulence into the gradient. I think this adds interest to the Shader Effector later on.
Set an overhead camera to follow the car then render it out in memory-cheap PNG’s… or whatever you want. I’m working on a laptop with limited storage so space is always a concern.
In a NEW scene create a mographed cylinder with a Shader Effector then run these rendered frames through it, adjust Y scale and let it roll.
Pretty cool, really simple and a lot of fun. (I’m guessing it’s the same workflow as the Nine Inch Nails video for Only)