A Car in 15 Minutes

Michael Guenther
Michael Guenther February 25, 2022 2 min read

Over the last few years, several technologies which massively speed up concept modeling have been added to Alias. These technologies include subdivision surfaces, Dynamo and Create VR.

Inspired by this, some colleagues and I wanted to challenge ourselves:

How detailed a car design could we create, when limited to a 15-minute time frame?

We went to work, sent some designs back and forth–and were positively surprised by the result:

So how did we achieve this?

First, we used the Dynamo Player car script to generate a basic subdivision model of a car, with the necessary base topology. This takes less than a minute.


Then we used the Dynamo Player script for creating a tire. You can spend less than a minute on the shape, as well as the tread design. The latter is faster now if you are using the new curve preview feature.

The final 3D tread generation then takes about 45 seconds.

Both tasks used the Dynamo Player scripts that ship with Alias. You can find them in the new Dynamo Toolbox shelf.

At this stage, we switched over to Create VR. There, we used the new Thickened Curve feature and Radial Symmetry feature for the rim generation. Thickened Curve is a great way to create quick volumes without having to deal with surface topology.

For that reason, we also used it to build a concept shape of the side mirror.

We spent another 2-3 minutes in Create VR to create an individual car shape. Create VR is great for this, as it gives you super valuable feedback on your proportions. 

After that, an additional 2-3 minutes were spent to create some feature lines and the lamp shapes of the car in VR:

Back in Alias, those feature lines were used to trim the subdivision car body, using the newly available SubDiv Select feature. With this feature, the active region can be selected by a single click. You no longer have to select all single surfaces:

The trimming allowed separate shader assignments for the windows and light areas:

As a final detailing step, the Dynamo Player script SubDiv Hexagon was used to create a grill. It can also be found on the Dynamo Toolbox shelf.

We brought the design over to VRED, to create the final renderings.

Key for this was VRED’s ability to read the Thickened Curve features from Alias Create VR, as these are necessary to create the corresponding meshes:

It is worth mentioning that this was just one possible route to take. E.g., for the side mirror, a subdiv model in Create VR would have been feasible in the given time. Also, the rims could have been modelled in Alias, using the Dynamo Player Rim script for assistance.

This project was not only insightful, but also a lot of fun. In the end, we were a bit surprised ourselves with how far you can drive a design now in 15 minutes, using Alias and VRED.

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