View Full Version : Car modeling

03 March 2009, 11:52 AM
I was wondering, when you model cars, or generally speaking wehicles, which technique you usually use (nurbs, spline, poly by poly, or something else)?

04 April 2009, 06:10 AM
I guess you could use both nurbs or polys depending on the body of the car/vehicle. I find it easy to work i a side view and use the plane tool to create the general shape of the door. then just extrude edges out accordingly. if using polys, keep the edges straight, hortizontal and vertical. you could use splines to make the same surfaces but good ol poly are just easier.

04 April 2009, 08:30 AM
Yes, i also use the plane and then extrude, never used nurbs though. Thanks for the reply

04 April 2009, 08:41 AM
yeah , i use plane with guide curve , and it works very well

04 April 2009, 02:38 PM
I usually just box the thing out to the general shape (sedan/wagon/van/etc.) and then add edges or loops to refine the shape. Then perhaps do a subdiv and then chop the thing apart into its constituent pieces. I find it makes all the parts flow together a lot easier (especially if you make a car body with complex swoopy fenders or a swage line cut into the sides), but then again perhaps it's part of modeling using software well within my means. (Wings3D.) Once separated into separate parts (doors, bumpers, etc.) then it's time to tweak vertices out and add the smaller details.

I even have an old wikibooks tutorial ( that shows the bare basics. (A little bit outdated in some workflow considering the improvements to Wings3D since then, but the basics are really straight-forward.) Not sure how relevant it may be to other software, but box-modeling is box-modeling. (There's also a Junkers F-13 tut at Wikibooks that went further on how the chopping a model apart process works, and I still need to get to the UV-mapping section on that. But that's a whole other mess to deal with.)

04 April 2009, 01:09 PM
Thanks for the tut, i'm using 3ds max, but like you said box-modeling is box-modeling so it doesn't really mather when it comes down to blocking it out.

05 May 2009, 02:00 PM
i tried 3 different methods to building a carbody! out of box, with nurbs for the rough shape, to have it smooth, and it works best for me, panel by panel, extruded out of a plane, with the help of some guide curves! even with this method, is not a big deal, to keep the topology evenly around the whole carbody. Try different methods, and find out what is the best for you! I use only polygons for my cars!

05 May 2009, 10:17 PM
Appreciate it, thanks for sharing ideas. I start to realize that extruding planes works best for me too.

07 July 2009, 03:19 AM
yup plain old "extruding the plane" works all the time

07 July 2009, 09:15 AM
I recommend use technique copying of plaine, its a good method for shape control.
here you can find some tutorials (

11 November 2009, 01:31 PM
For what it's worth, real car bodies are made using NURBS only.

11 November 2009, 10:52 AM
@PavelPetrenko and jakobweiq- sorry, i didn't opened my inbox in ages, thanks for the tutorial!

@KevBoy- yes, the quality of nurbs is superb, but in some apps it's a pain to model using them(max), do you know any good tutorials for nurbs modeling in max?

11 November 2009, 11:25 AM
You're right, in Max they are difficult, can't you get your hands on other software?
What are these to be used for?

If you don't require them for film or games, I'd model them in Alias Studio or ICEMSurf, perhaps even Rhino if you're in a pinch.

11 November 2009, 08:46 PM
I can work with other software(rhino), but i'm doing a paper for school- non organic modeling techniques in 3ds max, so i'm going to at least scratch the surface of nurbs modeling. That's why i have to use maxs' nurbs.

11 November 2009, 08:27 PM
Have fun with that!! :p

02 February 2010, 03:14 PM
i start with the wheel wells to define the distance of the panels an makes it easy to setup the hood an doors

02 February 2010, 11:13 PM
I'm actually working on a car model now, probably my 4th or 5th. Here's a WIP image ( I made a couple hours ago. I just start with a polygon, usually at the front-middle of the hood, and use Extender to start pulling edges out. I keep the panels separate, like the hood, fender, door, etc. That makes it easier to deal with the edges from detailed areas.

03 March 2010, 05:49 PM
I'm sorry i didn't reply earlier...

Thanks for sharing your workflow, it's good to know what techniques people use.

03 March 2010, 09:22 PM
I actually made a quick little video to show how I mainly work for someone else who was asking:

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