You know you’re cool when you pull up in a truck blasting Atreyu’s Bleeding Mascara and wearing your freaking rad bike helmet. Yeah, people know it… YOU… ARE SERIOUS.

Serious. Like the “Kiss of Death” or like Troy Lee Designs when it it comes to designing helmets that look impressive whether you’re flying through the air, slamming your head into a road or yes, driving a truck. It just so happens they use Autodesk Alias Surface to model the brain cases and Showcase to make them look badder than granny’s three meat casserole.

They have the process down too. Today we get an overview of that process, how it helps their distribution and even get a handful of tips to produce better results when bringing Alias models into Showcase. Rock it.

Describe a little about the process of how you take something in Alias Surface and bring it into Showcase?
Autodesk Alias Surface features like curvatures and other reflections help us make sure all the surfaces are refined and translate well. It’s almost like using clay. You can scale it left or right and you can always save it in different areas. You can always go back to where you were. That’s the biggest advantage of Alias versus using clay. Then Autodesk Showcase lets us show off different textures and materials we could choose and different environments. It’s a really realistic rendering we can show our CEO Troy Lee to get a better visualization of the design. If I’m working in Alias and Troy walks in, he watches me in Alias but toward the end of the design phase, I’ll probably just show him a rendering in Showcase because it’s faster.

For example, we gave a facelift to one of our helmets. It had a new mouthpiece and nose guard. We took screenshots from Showcase, and we rendered it from Showcase and we actually put it into a customer manual to give different views of it. From that respect, it was pretty cool. Autodesk Showcase gives more of a realistic view to our design team or sales team or Troy or whoever that’s reviewing the helmet design, and it just gives them a more real world picture of what the helmet is going to look like.

Another goal we have for Showcase is with our distributors. Right now we send images of the helmet graphics to our top distributors throughout the world when they pre-order their helmets and, a lot of times in person they look a lot different but we still might be a few months away from getting a physical sample. So hopefully by using Showcase we can present the images better to our distributors with more of a realistic 3D view so that they can get a better idea of really what the helmet’s going to look like so they can place their orders accordingly.

What do you consider when bringing Alias Surface models into Showcase?

  1. When exporting the model, whatever you want to be a different material or color, save it as a separate file. Then you can import it all into Showcase and you can pick and choose your color break ups.
  2. Choose the best environment for your model to truly show off the design.
  3. Rotate the model so it has good lighting/angle on it. The lighting really makes a big difference in reading the surfaces.
  4. When making a rendering/screenshot in Showcase, choose dynamic and exciting perspectives that are emotional. This is the best way to sell a design to the customer or boss.

Autodesk Showcase 3D visualization software


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.