Luciano Bove is a car design manager working at Renault Design. Born in Italy, he graduated from Art Center College of Design in California.
Today, we will talk about virtual modeling in car design. To be more precise, we will focus on how a car designer should manage digital modeling activity.
What type of attitude should we have (as designers) when working with our digital modeler? Who does what and how?
First of all, why do we have to learn about digital modeling?
The answer is simple, since few years (at least 10) Automotive companies understood that with the help of few software they could reduce drastically their time to market process. In other words: from idea to production faster than before.
This is possible by using virtual reality and virtual digital modeling technologies.
Today, we can transfer a 2D car sketch into a digital software program and transform it into a 3D line sketch in space, from there we get our main sections and then surfaces, then it is rendering time. At the end we have a virtual model that we can mill to see it for real.
Of course, we can model these surfaces applying all necessary changes. We can use that file also to make a virtual film of our model, with the same file we can make an accurate technical analysis. All these info will help us to make a solid file about our project to make a presentation of it to top management.
Once our virtual model is accepted we can go to the next step which will be milling that model in any scale we desire using a specific material (resins, foam, wood). This activity can be achieved in 1 month.
Now you understand that we can go from a car drawing to a sketch model in about 3 months time, it is magic if we compare the same activity 10 years back. It would have been a longer process.
This is the main reason for which we are happy to use some of those software to make our projects, our timing reduces drastically without penalizing our creativity time
Designer & Modeler Together
I know I made it sound very easy, but even if we do have some complications it is still an incredible advantage we get in terms of timing and quality. Once we get familiar with the system it is a lot easier and we can manage it.
How should a designer behave in this scenario?
According to my experience, I have seen many designers doing really well and some others doing really bad!
To me, the secret of success is simply to assure a good follow up to the project.
My message to young designers or design students is to be very careful not to miss the opportunity to learn how to follow a digital modeler working on their virtual model.
Team-up well with your colleague modeler, do not leave him alone, listen to him when he explains to you the hard 3D problems he has, sketch for him, ask him to print images of your model so that you can sketch sections over it.
Check all main surface reflections, think about detailing (this is for design credibility), understand that this is an important step in design process. It is with this model file that you will produce a good quality milled model.
Alias modeling sample
Good Team Work Equals Good Quality Job!
I have seen several designers not paying the right attention to virtual modeling and virtual reality. Today, it is not any more acceptable, you cannot leave a sketch to a computer modeler and disappear for a full week, come back after days and saying that you do not like the model! Where were you?
Designers should assume their responsibilities managing their projects.
The virtual modeler is an expert in digital surfacing he/she needs your help to progress in the best way possible understanding your requests and giving life to your design proposal.
Your engagement is fundamental for a good final result!
Understanding this aspect of design process gives also extra knowledge amplifying our professional capacities, we become more experts in the field. For example we can estimate a project planning and its costs, or we could cut or reduce some planned activities in order to save money for our budget.
Thinking about designer career I can say that all those info give us knowledge always excellent for future career development.
© 2010 Luciano Bove
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on March 10, 2014:
Sorry but I do not agree!
firstname.lastname@example.org on March 10, 2014:
A designer that need a modeler is not a designer.
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on September 23, 2012:
thanks for your right comment!
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on September 22, 2012:
Thank you Ahmad!
Ahmad Murad on September 22, 2012:
great and deap in the stratigies in the team working ..... it is the key in the collective sucssess in car design project...like it ....thanks Luciano.
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on January 15, 2011:
try this one http://aliasdesign.autodesk.com/
Shantesh angadi on January 14, 2011:
nice tips, pls can you tell me websites for alias automotive modeling tutorials
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on October 07, 2010:
Hi Patrick, it is a pleasure for me to know you liked this hub.
Patrick Leyendecker on October 07, 2010:
thanks you very much for this post. i build a car to in alias and its really a lot of work.
Luciano Bove (author) from Paris on October 02, 2010:
Dear Jon thanks for your comment, I'll soon write more about digtal modelers and designer team integration.
Jon Dugdale on October 02, 2010:
Great post. Could we please have more information regarding Alias and the relationship that the digital modeler has with the design team. This is really interesting.
patrick tiu on October 02, 2010:
thanks for the advice