Today CAD is the accepted norm in all Industrial Design studios.It has many benefits including most importantly shortening lead times in design programs by making the flow of information between engineering and designers seamless and very accurate. The evolution of computer hardware and software over the past 20 years to make them more user friendly and more refined in the aesthetic sense is mind blowing. However when I arrived at CCS in 1987 there was almost no computer training in the Transportation Design curriculum. Thus came the task of raising the funds to acquire the necessary equipment and to create space in the curriculum to offer more computer courses.

There were a few students who came to CCS with solid computer skills and they were more important than the teachers available to us at that time. Indeed one, Dua Xiong, was so talented  on the computer that while he was a student at CCS, he was employed to teach professional designers in the car studios to use the latest equipment. Todays students are  well prepared by the time they  reach colleges like CCS, thus the training has accelerated to an incredibly refined level.

HOWEVER, there are tradeoffs and my opinion is that there has been a real loss in artistry and individualism in the work of the current students and designers that reveals itself in the sameness of the 2-dimensional work one sees. Let us hope this doesn’t overwhelm their 3-dimensional products.

Designer: Dua Xiong This is believed to be the first student auto design thesis project in the world done completely with automated processes. The1/4 scale model was milled on a 5 axis milling machine, the graphics done with Alias Wavefront.

Chris Benjamin’s graduation exhibit featured the 4 renderings below blown up to 30”x40”. This was the first time any student had presented computer drawings at that large scale. The impact was dramatic, even professional designers were greatly impressed with the power of his exhibit. Benjamin went to Mercedes Benz where he became a designer and resident teacher of Alias to their designers.

                                                                                                   Designer: Chris Benjamin