Are polygons ACTUALLY unsuitable for automotive fabrication?

I know plenty about the importance of Class A surfacing / NURBs particularly in the automotive space, and it all makes total sense.

Except… there is a growing base of young car modelers out there who model exclusively with subdivision polygons, like Kyza:

You might say “he’s just a concept designer” or “he just makes images”, but he’s actually formed his own company and he designs/models/fabricates body kits for vehicles. So these are real body kit pieces that have to fit onto real cars and he’s doing it all based on pretty raw polygon models, and magically it somehow works.

So it makes me wonder, assuming you master polygon modeling and can produce super specific designs, … why not? Doesn’t this sort of challenge the popular belief that NURBs are the “only way” to operate in these kinds of fields?

People doing concept art use anything and everything. Keep in mind that graphics apps are basically designed to get you the nicest looking render result from the bare minimum possible input. I’m working on my flying car project and I can make some rough changes and under my iRay raytraced view it looks great, but when I get down to the analysis tools to get it actually mold-ready it’s not even close, it’s garbage. And the guys who use ICEM to make actual automotive molds are on a whole other level of anal retentiveness. They’re worried about if a too-abrupt change in the rate of change of the acceleration of a high-speed CNC as it crosses a seam might cause a visible artifact on the mold. Nevermind the level of insanity Apple goes to on iPhones…

By “magically it somehow works” you mean, he passes it off to other people who rebuild it in actual CAD software for production, though I’ve found no evidence that’s actually happened more than once, and from the looks of the tiny shop that made it yeah either they rebuilt it or there was a lot of hand work involved in prepping the molds.

Yes you can make molds from mesh models, some CAM software can work with mesh models or more likely you’d use 3d printing, but you can’t precisely CUT A HOLE in a mesh/Subd model. That’s a bit of a limitation, that’s the killer feature of NURBS and why they still rule the CAD world.


when I ran my consultancy my mantra was
" i have done so much, with so little, for so long, I can make anything from virtually nothing"

so can you make a real car from polygons? 100% yes.

Big daddy Roth made real cars from plaster, fiberglass and chickenwire and they were glorious. I can’t even imagine if he had access to Rhino and subd surfaces… Or sculpting in zbrush and a large forma 3d printer.

And I’m sure with enough talent, passion and hard work your polygon car would look amazing.

Are there a million reasons why that is not a good idea as you scale that one car to a high volume production line? Also yes, unless your car incorporates polygon modeling, 3d printing etc, into the design aesthetic.

Do you have the idea that changes the world? If so don’t let anything or anyone get in your way.

Rules are made to be broken, BUT… only if you fully understand the rules to start with.

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