Absolute beginner with Autodesk Alias Design

Hi all…

I am a student about to embark upon a long road to becoming a well respected designer! I have recently completed high school and I am due to attend university after a gap year in Beijing, where I hope to explore designers and what not there!

I have recently downloaded the new Alias Design software (for free as I am a student!) but I have absolutely no idea how to get started.

Can anyone suggest how I can begin to model etc. and what I should start with?! I have searched the internet but I am unable to find anything that helps for starting from nothing.

Any help would be hugely appreciated!


Look on the help menu of Alias. There are several included tutorials with the program that are a place to start.

Outside of that, if you are just learning 3D - just start playing around. Click on tools and read their descriptions to try and get an idea what they do.

Normally you will learn some sort of 3D software in university, but if you just want to play around do just that. Diving in and experimenting is the best way to learn the basics.

Ive never used that program before, but the best piece of advice i can give you for learning any new program is this. It doesn’t matter what the project is, but start and finish a project. By doing so, youll be able to learn the ins and outs of the program, just by trying to figure out things that well help you to finish your project goal. It’s faster and more fun then just looking or reading tutorials all day. You learn the best when you actually dabble in things yourself.

Alias is pretty hard to wrap your head around. The built in tutorials will help you get used to the interface, but the principles of surfacing will take a long time for you to really master. May also help to look at some Youtube videos, and maybe sketch up a basic object (find something from your house), and try to model that.

Since he mentioned he’s just graduating high school, high level surfacing stuff probably isn’t much of an issue. Just being able to create some simple shapes in 3D and understanding what a surface is will be tremendously valuable once you start to learn 3D as a designer.


Thanks for all the replys, I can see I am going to become a very active member of Core now…

I have been looking through the various tutorials etc. and tried to find some things on youtube but I have found that yes, the most useful thing so far is to just experiment.

I did however find the very useful tutorial on modelling a vacuum cleaner. I can see how things come together but could anyone give me a very quick step-by-step for making a sketch to import to the planes on Alias? I havn’t checked it out properly yet but I am guessing it would be quicker for someone to tell me on here rather than looking around again…

Thank you for the advice guys, much appreciated!


Does anyone know if its worth buying a cintiq for use in Alias? And can it be used for that matter?



It can be used, however, its not really standard practice. (I’ve only ever seen one person 3D model with a tablet.) You can do just about everything you need to with a mouse.

I don’t think it’s necessary at your age (sorry, missed that before) to get a Cintiq. It’s good that you’re playing around with 3D so early! I remember it was daunting when I tried Maya in high school.

I personally have modeled in Alias with a Cintiq. It’s not half bad, as you can directly pull and push points, but, again, it’s not necessary. Nowadays I just use a mouse with Rhino.

The Cintiq was valuable when painting/sketching was a very integral part of Alias. Now that’s left only in the most expensive AutoStudio product, and it’s nowhere near as flexible or easy as good old Sketchbook Pro.

So I would pass on the Cintiq. If you have some extra money, consider investing in a second display. 2 Monitors are very nice for displaying all your menus on one screen and main window on the other.

That is great, I don’t fancy paying the £1700 if its not a useful enough tool yet…

I love sketching and I spend about 6 hours a day doing so which makes me think whether a tablet is necessary for this or not. I hope to bunk my sketching up to 12 hours a day in my gap year (the next 12 months) so its probably cheaper to buy a tablet than all the materials… Saying that I love pencil/paper/marker…

Would you say its worth buying one? And if so would a intuoso 4 suffice?

I would spend that money on pens, paper and markers at your age. Digital affords a lot of things that are nice, but it is much harder to learn to master the subtleties of line weight and form when you have an undo button.

My recommendation is to start doing all your sketches in ballpoint pen. It forces you to live with your mistakes and evolve them, plus it’s cheap and easy. If you can master a Ballpoint you’ll be golden.

My recommendation is to start doing all your sketches in ballpoint pen. It forces you to live with your mistakes and evolve them, plus it’s cheap and easy. If you can master a Ballpoint you’ll be golden.

That is some great advice and I really appreciate it, Thank you!

You sketch for 6 hours a day and plan to increase to 12 hours?!

Yes, believe it or not I get really angry at myself for not doing more than 6 hours a day… I am now doing all my sketches in ballpoint pen too to try and be disciplined! I am lucky enough to not really have any major commitments in terms of university, job or much else to be honest so I am free with my time for now. I want to explore more in terms of creativity (when in Beijing) but yes I intend to start doing 8 hours a day and then in Beijing I want to get up at 6 am to get 12 hours done and then I will have the evening free to focus on exploring creative environments, my own projects and of course CAD!