Car design help

Good afternoon all,

I have used SketchUp for a longtime in design for my carpentry work but I am taking on a fabrication project that involves making a scalable model of a car body and designing the chassis to fit under the shell. As always I went to “Utube” University to find the skills I would need to help me convert the images to a model. So… The really good ones have been done by folks that have no sound in the least with the exception of background music… I’ve hunted and hunted for a good walkthrough on these Technics but I’m not finding anything that can get me going… Please, any information or ideas would be extremely helpful.
Thank you for your time everyone

Can you show an image of what type of car chassis you are tying to make? Then I can let you know how best to tackle it.


The cars body is my main issue, because of the compounding curves, angles, etc…
I’ve seen tutorials on utube of people pulling the shapes from blueprints then skinning but in their descriptions it isn’t clear as to the particular extensions they were utilizing and so forth, unfortunately they have no commentary on them either…

I understood that part I meant do you have an image of the body you are trying to make specifically, as not all car shapes are the same and different plugins are used for different shapes.

I do but as of this moment I am chatting through my cell, not sure if I can upload through here but I can attempt to do so. It is of a supercar so in general you just have allot of body lines moving in complex curves, one of the tutorials was of Ferrari, la Ferrari. Which would be much the same process I would need to follow

The image here is very dark but I lightened it in editing on the computer before bringing it into SketchUp, I also found the corresponding front, rear, and top views

Aha ok got it, thats not too bad at least as its still quite angular in nature.

Essential Plugins:

  • First off you will need to get one of the fantastic sub division plugins. The best two are either Artisan Toolset or SubD. I have both and cant rate one over the other so I would try them both out with the free trials they have.

  • Second plugin is Vertex Tools, this will help you fine tune the mesh.

Optional but very helpful plugins:

  • Curviloft

  • Soap Skin and Bubble

The next step is not to try and make a car but learn the fundamentals of Subdivision modelling in SketchUp. Learning how to make an efficient ‘Proxy’ and then applying sub division.

This tutorial also gives some good tips on capturing the splines from the assembled images:

I am in the process of making a SubD tutorial but it’s a long way off, Christmas if I am lucky.

But it is all do-able just takes practice. Took me about 14 months to learn how to do it.

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Ok I’ll definitely start looking into those, I did notice allot of people utilizing Fredo ext for skinning because it makes for a uniformed surface.

I will say, adding 14 months learning curve wasn’t in the initial plan lol

Well I think you should be able to make this car in less time, it all depends on how much time you put in. My project to learn SubD was to make something specific, the helicopter from Avatar. It was a 14 month process but I was working at the time so just evenings and weekends:


Outstanding image Liam! The render is incredible as well

I was noticing a specific curve tool being used in the Ferrari video that seems essential to the process, and he was drawing a line and able to drag it out, which must have been another ext since you can’t push/pull lines. So he was able to draw the curve on top and side view, drag then both out, intersect the faces, then erase the unwanted geometry leaving the correct curve lateral and horizontally

Would care to have a look at the video? Maybe you will recognize the ext’s that he is using so I can look for specific tutorials on those tools

Sure do you have a link?

Hopefully this works

Vertex Tools, Artisan Toolset, Joint Push Pull, Edit Vertices

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Oh excellent :+1:
I figured someone would readily identify the ext’s used, great tutorial had they made commentary

I didn’t watch the video, just skimming it of course, I am just looking at the plugins I am guessing he is using.

Gotcha, yeah I had looked at his description below and said what he using but if you just look up generic items in the ext warehouse there are so many different publishers that it gets even more confusing from there. Would have been nice of they were links to the direct tools he was using. I believe fredo6 has many of the preferred ext’s being used. The other point would be to get the the preferred option so there is more support throughout the process

SketchUp does not lend itself to this type of modeling, ideally you would make the body in Blender or something else where you could do it 100 times quicker. Then bring it back into SketchUp.

Thats what I would do anyway.

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