ID 4103 – old

Sketching, Modeling & Rendering with Alias Studio

The industrial design process is a very iterative process. Through sketches, study models and renderings, designers continually refine a design as they get feedback from users, engineers and management. This process has traditionally been very hands-on as designers sketch, make study models and create renderings.

This courses helps students understand how computer based tools can be integrated throughout the industrial design process. Working with Autodesk’s Industrial Design suite of software (Sketchbook Designer, Alias Design and Showcase), students will learn how these tools can be used throughout the design process. Sketchbook Designer is a hybrid vector/pixel sketching software that makes sketching quick and easy to update. Alias Designer is a NURBs/surface based CAID software that can model almost any form from consumer goods to automotive. Showcase is a presentation software that can quickly present designs in realistic environments with alternate materials and easy to setup shots and animations. With all three of these tools, almost all aspects of the industrial design process is covered.

This course is for junior, senior and graduate level industrial design students as well as non-industrial design students. Besides exploring these particular tools, it will provide a good overview of the industrial design process and how this fits into a product development process.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to demonstrate knowledge, skill and abilities in the following areas:

  • Understand how CAID software integrates into the industrial design process
  • Learn how to use Sketchbook Designer to quickly and easily sketch concepts
  • Understand how Alias Design can model alternate forms as well as high-end forms
  • Understand how Showcase can present designs through Alternates and Shots


Helpful to know another CAD software and some experience with Photoshop or Illustrator

Course Materials


Class Time & Location

Tuesday & Thursday, 9:35 – 10:55 am Computing Lab – Room 358




1 Class Introduction Interface Basics – Transforming Objects

Project 1 – “Basic Modeling”

Curves – Constructing & Manipulating

Surfaces – Constructing & Manipulating
3 Details – Constructing

Project 1 Due


Project 2 – “Concept Modeling”

Dynamic Shape Modeling – Lattice Rig

Dynamic Shape Modeling – Twist, Bend & Conform Rigs
5 CV Modeling

Project 2 Due


Project 3 – “Sketching & Detail Modeling”

Sketching – Brushes & Layers

Sketching – Creating Mask/Shapes
7 3D Mouse – Body Form & Rounds 3D Mouse – Body Form & Rounds
8 3D Mouse – Front Buttons 3D Mouse – Pads/Connectors

Fall Break

3D Mouse – Display & Screen
10 Hardware Shade – Adding Graphics &Creating a Presentation

Project 3 Due


Project 4 – “Presenting Your Design”

Showcase – Workflow & Importing

Showcase – Environments, Materials, Ambient Shadows
12 Showcase – Lights, Shots & Alternates

Project 4 Due


Project 5 – “Advance Modeling & Rendering”

Bottle Form – Overall Form & Transitions

Bottle Form – Bulges/Cut-ins
14 Bottle Form – Other Tools


15 Bottle Form – Rendering Curve Networks/Data Exchange
16 Project Work Project Work

Project 5 and Regrade projects due.

Project 1 – Basic Modeling

Students model a mp3 player with basic tools and techniques in Alias Design.

Project 2 – Concept Modeling

Students explore concept modeling using CV manipulation and the dynamic shape modeling tools.

Project 3 – Sketching & Detail Modeling

Students explore different sketching programs (Alias, SketchBook Designer & SketchBook Pro) and how to model a detail form in Alias.

Project 4 – Presenting Your Design

Students explore presenting their 3D mouse using Showcase and its set of “presentation” tools.

Project 5 – Advance Modeling & Rendering

Students explore how to create a high definition surface modeling with the continuity techniques.


Alias Tutorial Page – Collection of links to tutorials developed for this course as well links to online tutorials

Sketchbook Tutorial Page – Collection of links to tutorials developed for this course as well links to online tutorials

Showcase Tutorial Page – Collection of links to tutorials developed for this course as well links to online tutorials

Autodesk Alias Education Curriculum– The curriculum materials move in a logical progression from fundamental skills for working in 3D to the production of concept models and renderings.

Autodesk Showcase Community – User community website for Showcase that is part of the AREA – Digital Entertainment & Visualization Community


Autodesk Student Engineering & Design Community– Autodesk offers full versions of their software for students to use. This is the software used for this course: Alias Design (Mac or Windows), Sketchbook Designer (Mac or Windows) & Showcase.

Other Information

Autodesk Design and Product Design Suite Review – Nice write up at core77

Project Falcon – Project Falcon for Autodesk® Alias software is a wind tunnel simulator that seamlessly integrates with Alias allowing designers to interactively investigate the aerodynamic performance of their designs at any stage.