Artist: Spencer Barnes

Porsche by Christine Beaucamp

Spencer Barnes, a graduate student in NCSU’s Department of Industrial Design, teaches undergraduate and graduate industrial design students how to visualize and design their ideas using Autodesk AliasStudio (formerly Alias StudioTools). In the Fall 2006 semester, Barnes taught ID 415 Advanced Digital Product Modeling, a capstone digital technology course for all industrial design students in the NCSU Industrial Design Department. In the class, Barnes imparted principles that will guide students through the many complex modeling situations they are likely to encounter in the professional practice of Industrial Design and in other 3D modeling programs, such as SolidWorks, Rhino, and Maya. In this particular course, Barnes gave students a variety of projects designed to push their modeling, rendering, and rapid-prototyping skills to the limit, while providing instruction on efficient workflows within AliasStudio.

During the Fall 2006 semester, Barnes’ students completed four projects: modeling a handheld vacuum; modeling a bicycle helmet; modeling, rendering, and rapid-prototyping a cell-phone casing; and modeling, rendering, and rapid-prototyping a car that is currently on the market. The car design project proved exceptional in terms of its process and results. He began by asking that students choose a current car they found interesting and worthy of modeling. Among the cars modeled were: a Bugati Veyron, Chevy Camaro, and Lamborghini Gallardo.

After selecting a car of interest, Barnes taught the students how to draw their car using a Wacom Cintiq interactive display such that the students could begin to understand the proportions, intricacies, and stylization of their cars. Next, he instructed them on how to model a variety of cars before unleashing them to model their own vehicles. Lastly, he required that all the students’ modeled cars be printed on the NCSU College of Design’s Dimension BST 3D printer, which outputs a tangible 3D model in ABS plastic from the AliasStudio file. The 3D models were then painted and presented in a final critique along with refined drawings and renderings of the students’ cars.

“This project utilized all the NCSU Industrial Design Department resources and successfully caused students to attain the conceptual and technical prowess necessary to excel in the fields of industrial design and transportation design,” Barnes explains. “They can now effectively and efficiently model, render, rapid-prototype, and present their ideas, as well as tackle the everyday challenges of modeling intricate surfaces and transition between the various pieces of 3D software that are used within the industrial design profession.”