Creating "class A" automotive surfaces from scanned data


We have a project that is out of the ordinary for us. We have scanned a vehicle, created a surface file with Polyworks, and we are going to be creating the body by carbon fibre vacuum infusion. We do each of those processes already, but just not on exterior automotive body panels. The most important aspect of this project is how it looks. Is there a process in Rhino for smoothing out surface “noise” from scanned data? I’ve thrown it back at our Polyworks users, and this is the best they can give me (which isn’t good enough). I need glass smooth, flowing surfaces without ripples and dents.

Any advice would be appreciated. It would be great to keep this as a Rhino project from this point forward, but I may need to go elsewhere for a solution (Autodesk Alias Automotive for example).




I had attached a picture, but it seems to have disappeared. I’ll try again in this post.


There’s no automatic way in Rhino, no, and I’m fairly sure there isn’t, period, it’s just a matter of artistic interpretation how you reconstruct the surfaces using the scan data only as a reference.


I’m going to do a test cut over the weekend to see if these imperfections show on the mold. Maybe I’m worrying for nothing.



And, if you have some money to invest, take a look at VSR Shape Modeling - they have some incredible tools for modeling Class A surfaces with real-time reflections, perfect control of continuity etc. It’s an amazing product and if I had to model automotive exterior surfaces in Rhino I wouldn’t want to be without it.



Hi Dan,

before starting with reverse engineering / remodeling i clean up the scanned mesh itself, either globally with meshlab or using meshmixer to partially smooth out areas by brushing. Both are free. If the mesh topology is too bad, uniform remeshing works best to smooth out dents coming from the digitizing process.

To get surfaces with curvature continuity from cleaned meshes in a second step, try out RhinoReverse demo using Rhino4. The results obtained from this this plugin are remarkable, even with low triangle count. I´ve heard rumors that a new version for x64 is in the pipline…



Got a zebra shot of that?


Hi Dan,

like Mitch already said (thanks, Mitch!) we got a plug-in for Rhino (VSR Shape Modeling) which helps creating high quality surfaces. It also contains functions to create surfaces on meshes, and those are pretty good in ignoring holes resp. smoothing out bad noise in mesh data. Maybe you just want to give it a try, it comes with a three weeks test license:

If you should have further questions, I’d be happy to answer them.



The zebra shows some ugliness.


Thanks Mitch. I think this might be what I need. The results of my test cut have proven that these imperfections will show on the mold. Virtual Shape is a preferred solution for me because I can continue with this project in Rhino.

Thanks again.



Hi Clement,

This makes sense. I’m going to take a look at those 2 solutions you mentioned and see if we can clean up the mesh a bit. I would have thought (or maybe hoped) that Polyworks would have handled this already but it doesn’t seem so.




Hi Michael,

I will be looking into your product shortly.




Wow! This is a very powerful plug-in! I’ve been looking at all the videos I can find and playing with the demo at home in the evening. Are there any comprehensive tutorials available, either written or video? Or available to purchase?

Also, do you have a “home license” available when you buy a license? Personally, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to learn at work. (or I’m going to have to cram over the next 3 weeks while I can!) :smile:




Glad to hear you like it so far. :slight_smile:
I think we can discuss the rest outside of this forum (I have received your mail).

Speak to you soon,