This is Part One of a series that will go through the entire process of body working, painting & finishing a car at a high level.
But first, what is the goal? We first need to know exactly what we are aiming for before we begin. The goal is to be able to look down the vehicle, and see continuous shapes, without any distortion. This means you shouldn't be able to see where panels start and stop, or any other ripples within the panels. Look at the vehicle as one entire shape, and the panels are just simply cut out of that shape.
Sighting down the paint, looking at reflections, you shouldn't see any disruptions. The paint itself should be dead flat, and beautiful, flowing shapes.
There should be something that just feels different from looking at the vehicle. It should feel like everything is crisp, slim, dialed in, and not look heavy. A lot of times when a vehicle is body worked, it can end up looking a little bit puffy, and just look heavy. This is not what we want. We want flat paint, flush panels, perfect gaps, 'straight' panels, thin edges, straight body lines, and just nice crisp body work.