Where/how to relearn 3D modeling? (A.Studio+A.Showcase)

I’ve been working on several personal design projects to balance out my freelance contract work lately. I keep getting to the point of having the products/ideas refined to exactly how I’d like them via the 2D methods I’m quite comfortable with. Then I’ve been contacting another ID friend of mine to create the 3D models and render them for me because I’m so far out of practice. He creates great models and final renders, and since we’re great friends, I generally return the favor in thank you bottles / other design work. But I’m getting sick of depending on anyone else for such a valuable step in the design process.

I have versions of Solidworks, Rhino, and Alias on my desktop work PC - but I open them up and I have absolutely no recollection on how to use these programs or any of the tools within. I feel I used to be above the proficiency curve in Rhino and Alias during design school, creating some really nice stuff back then, but not having been required to use it for so long has made me forget it all. It’s not quite as easy as remembering how to ride a bike.

I’ve been seeing really amazing results using Alias Studo and then rendering in Alias Showcase, and I’d really like to give that combo a try.

The question…

Can you 3D pros recommend a DVD/website/book that is up to date, that will essentially reteach me how to use Alias again?
(I can also sub for Rhino or Solidworks, but I prefer Alias).

I’ve searched on my own, and find many different sources that are outdated and/or ridiculous. I’m willing to put in the time, but everything I’ve found just doesn’t make sense at the moment.

Thanks for your assistance. Looking forward to cranking out 3D renders again in the near future.

This is of course personal preference and depending what kind of design you are working on, but it has been my impression that Alias is so complicated and complex, that a designer who is not doing this full time, rarely really uses the full potential of the program. You don’t need a Formula 1 car if you drive to shop some groceries.
I decided to stay away from it and found Rhino and Solidworks (in combo with Hypershot) to be perfectly capable of what I wanted it to do.
Most importantly, they are rather easy to pick.
I heard from several schools, both in the US and in Europe who are actually stepping away from Alias all together and are focusing on Rhino and SW instead. This most likely has to do with the huge price tag as well as the sometimes counter intuitive interface.

As much as I push Alias their downfall has been a crappy lack of documentation, especially around good modelling practices.

The Alias design website has had some decent stuff, as well some awful (IE please don’t ever do that in real life) tutorials.

Showcase is fairly self explanitory - I think you could get a good grasp of showcase after a week of work, don’t know if you need much help on that end.

I would say if you want to try Alias again, it may be worth giving Design Engine a call and seeing if you can’t sit in on one of their Alias courses. Otherwise see if you cant go through the tutorials included in the documentation and see what you can’t pick up on your own after playing with it for a while.

The tutorial books by are pretty good and surprisingly thorough. We have one floating through the office that I browse through on occasion and still learn things.

Use the tutorial that comes with Rhino. I went back to school to learn it and that’s what the instructor used and followed lesson by lesson. With some discipline you can learn it yourself at your own pace.

How about taking a real, one-week courses? I’ll be doing that in February. For whatever subject matter I find that I take the studies more seriously when I’ve paid for it, dedicated a set time for it, and have an instructor actually teaching me.