It’s not much of a surprise, ya think? The poll last week asking “If You Could Design Anything With 3D, What Would It Be?” did in fact show that approximately 30% would love to hunker down for a nice evening of modeling vehicles in 3D.

And by pure coincidence the very next post was a teaser for a How to Model an Audi R8 using SolidWorks. Pure coincidence, I swear. So, until the time that becomes available, I thought I’d gather some resources to help out with your swelling interest in car and vehicle design.

Plenty of Tutorials…

…but these are a few of the best. While there’s little out there in the way of modeling cars, or other products with complex shapes, using MCAD software like SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Catia or Pro/E, there are plenty of tutorials using other programs, some of which you can for free or as a free trial. Since a lot of them use the same methodology and 3D jargon, you’ll likely get the idea of what it takes to go about modeling a car in 3D. I hope these give some insight to the process and help you out if you’re considering pursuing an interest in car design.

3D Box Modeling in Maya

Starting simple, this lays out the process of starting with a solid chunk and shaping it into the car of your dreams. It’s not the most detailed, but can give you a good push in getting after attempting to create a more complex vehicle.

Link to Tutorial

Chevy Camaro Concept in Rhino

To step it up a couple notches. This is a torrent download through Rapidshare, but it’s worth it. (I recommend µTorrent downloader) This tutorial contains all the files you need, video, images and rhino files.

Link to Tutorial

Nissan 350Z Modeling in Maya

This is a great tutorial for the standard metod of using blueprints to model a car. It uses Maya, but like many of the other tutorials here, translates to other similar modelers like Blender.

Link to Tutorial

Concept Development using Alias Studio

This is an interesting take on using 3D modeling to get precise perspective for a sketch. Used as an underlayment, 3D models can speed up the process of the sketch.

Link to Tutorial

Modeling a Jaguar FX in Modo

This video series, while partially complete, still give you an idea of what it’s like to use Modo when modeling a car. It uses the blueprint method and really gets you familiar with the different commands you would use in Modo.

Link to Tutorials (YouTube Videos)

3D Vehicle Sketching

One aspect of vehicle design of any kind is being able to sketch, or at least trace, as shown above in the concept development tutorial, a design onto a sheet of paper. This can serve a lot of purpose from initial concept to final render. If nothing else it’s at least interesting to watch the progression.

IDSKETCHING: Vehicle Sketch from Industrial Design Sketching on Vimeo.

Motorcycle Sketching

This is another sketching example, but this time of a motorcycle in a profile view. Wheels, body, overlay, details. That simple… kinda.

IDSKETCHING.COM : Motorcycle from Industrial Design Sketching on Vimeo.

More resources to check out

CarBodyDesign.com
A lot of these tutorials were found through the large amount of 3D modeling resources at CarBodyDesign.com. You should definitely check out taht site if you have an interest in Vehicles, or even Weapons and Robots. A lot of the tutorials have functions you would use for any type of modeling.

IDSketching.com
Even though 3D modeling comes in handy for Car Design, it doesn’t hurt to fin tune the sketching skills. IDSketching.com is the place to go to see how it’s done on a variety of car designs, robot and other product designs.

Blender 3D
If you want to get into mesh, NURB style modeling, Blender is the way to go. It’s free and the community is huge so you can be sure there are plenty tutorials.

Vehicle Blueprints
From Cars to Planes, you’ll often start modeling with a set of top, right, left blueprints. The-Blueprints.com is one of the first places to check when trying to find the vehicle blueprint you need.

Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.