Visual Design and Engineering Laboratory

Carnegie Mellon University

Supporting Early Styling Design of Automobiles Using Sketch-Based 3D Shape Construction


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In the early stages of automotive design, designers produce a rich set of concept sketches to develop and communicate their ideas. These sketches convey useful information regarding the desired shape and style. However, creating a 3D digital model consistent with the sketch is a laborious process with existing CAD tools. This shortcoming limits most conceptual explorations to 2D, leaving the designer with little or no means to realize their ideas in 3D. To address this challenge, this work presents a new method that helps car designers transform their 2D concept sketches into 3D geometry using simple, interactive techniques. At the heart of our approach is an optimization-based shape deformation algorithm that takes as input a set of fiducial points marked by the user on the sketch. The proposed algorithm first aligns, and then deforms, an underlying template model until its fiducial nodes match those marked in the sketch. Next, the designer refines the template model by tracing the car’s key character lines on the sketch. Finally, using the newly shaped template model as a substrate, the designer can explore different styling ideas by sketching and modifying 3D curves directly on the template. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach on several examples.


Levent Burak Kara, Kenji Shimada. (2008). Supporting Early Styling Design of Automobiles Using Sketch-Based 3D Shape Construction. Computer-Aided Design & Applications, Volume 5, Issue 6, Pages 867-876. Also CAD’08 conference.

 title={Supporting early styling design of automobiles using sketch-based 3d shape construction},
 author={Levent Burak Kara and Kenji Shimada},
 journal = {Computer-Aided Design and Applications},
 volume = {5},
 number = {6},
 pages = {867--876},
 year = {2008},
 publisher={Taylor & Francis}