5+ best car design software [2021 Guide]


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by Milan Stanojevic

Windows and software expert

Milan has been passionate about PCs since his childhood, which led him to take an interest in all technologies related to PCs. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more



  • Automotive design software gives you simple and efficient access to all the tools you need to streamline the process.
  • Although it can be a daunting task, using the top car design software of this article will certainly get you started on the right track.
  • the The best automotive design software on our list are two great tools from Adobe.
  • They are closely followed by two other great solutions from Autodesk.

What are the best automotive design software

Automotive design is a type of design primarily concerned with developing the visual appearance and aesthetics of a vehicle. In order to be able to design a car, you will need specialized software (CAD).

CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, and it is the use of computer systems to help you create, modify, and optimize your design ideas.

CAD software is extremely useful as it improves the productivity of the designer and also creates the necessary documentation.

One of the main advantages of using CAD software for automotive design is the fact that it is much easier to master this type of software than using regular pen and paper.

This type of software allows you to easily share designs with others, great details regarding measurements and your intricate design can be rotated and viewed from any side.

Our top pick for the best car design software is Adobe illustrator. This powerful software gives you an incredible array of tools that can help you design the next flagship car.

Adobe Illustrator was designed from the ground up with the design idea in mind, which has allowed creators to fill it with amazing tools and features that can simplify the design process.

Because the design process is so well thought out, it allows you to focus on the details of your creation, without worrying about the limited capabilities.

Main features of Adobe Illustrator:

  • Anchor points with custom sizing capabilities.
  • Full integration with the Creative Cloud suite.
  • Fast rendering speeds for blur, drop shadow and glow effects.
  • Puppet Warp tool that allows optimization of the workspace.
  • The Properties panel gives you custom options based on the selected items.
Adobe illustrator

Adobe illustrator

Create the car of your dreams with this cutting edge vector design software used by millions of designers around the world.

Photoshop CC - Best Automotive Design Software

Adobe photoshop is another great software option if you want to design beautiful cars. This app has offered users a way to design an unlimited number of realistic projects, digital art, game characters, etc.

Due to its powerful feature set, Photoshop has been rated as the most useful computer design application.

Even if in this guide Photoshop occupied the second position, it is really a beast when it comes to design.

Here are some of the main features of Adobe Photoshop:

  • Very powerful 3D design capabilities.
  • AI-based object selection.
  • Surface Dial option which allows you to adjust the size of your brushes, opacity, etc.
  • Automatically converts smart objects to layers for quick editing.
  • A wide range of pencils and brushes (over 1200).
Adobe photoshop

Adobe photoshop

Design your beautiful car with Adobe Photoshop and make the most of your creative ideas.

A.k.a is software made by Autodesk and it is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to work on industrial designs, but it is specially designed for use in automotive projects.

This program has a wide range of very useful tools for sketching and modeling, and it allows you to easily switch from 2D sketches to 3D models. It is actually used by Aston Martin to develop their car designs.

The main features include:

  • Sketch and illustration tools – draw, edit, create shapes, add details and materials, revise.
  • Possibility to define a surface from a scanned mesh.
  • You can easily add helix surfaces in Freeform.
  • Improve design reviews with virtual reality.
  • Dynamo Integration – allows you to quickly generate repeatable models.
  • Capture, resize, rotate images.
  • Multithreading.
  • New interface improvements – customizable keyboard commands, capturing, menu tagging, etc.

?? Get Autodesk Alias

If you have to work on automotive designs, 3DS Max Autodesk is an interesting choice. This is a very precise tool used by professional designers. Virtual reality support is also available.

3DS MAX is powerful software that can be used for shape modeling, which is why it can be useful for creating a great looking body.

3Ds Max could be of real benefit to your design process as it can totally help car manufacturers create realistic car designs.

The main features include:

  • Simple and robust modeling.
  • High-end rendering.
  • Efficient 3D animation.
  • Flexible interoperability – Compatible with Revit, Inventor, Unity, Unreal.
  • MAXtoA integrated plug-in.
  • Open Shading Language (OSL) – create OSL maps from simple math notes.
  • 3D Boolens – possibility to create parametric Boolean operations.

?? Get Autodesk 3DS MAX


Blender is open source 3D software that enhances a wide range of useful tools for automotive designs.

It has simulation tools, supports NURBS surfaces and polygonal meshes and if you are an advanced user, you can develop your own features.

Due to its large community, Blender offers you a wide range of training materials and courses.

The main features include:

  • Cycle Renderer – Ultra-realistic rendering, real-time viewport preview, PBR shaders, and HDR lighting support.
  • Modeling, Sculpting, UV – Easily create, transform and edit your models.
  • Advanced sculpting tools and brushes.
  • 3D painting with textured brushes and masking.
  • Python script and customizable interface controlled by Python.
  • VFX – it allows you to import raw images, track them and hide areas.
  • Animation and rigging.
  • Combine 2D and 3D.

?? Get the blender

3d rhinoceros has many 3D modeling tools and the drawings are so precise that you can even use them to design complex machine prototypes. This program allows you to get 3D capture of existing data.

In Rhino 3D, the accuracy of large projects is guaranteed thanks to its control over annotation styles and the history of different dimensions.

Other features include:

  • Freeform 3D modeling tools
  • Compatible with all other design, drafting, CAM, engineering, analysis, rendering, animation and illustration software
  • Read and repair extremely difficult meshes and IGES files
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Fast even on a regular laptop
  • Affordable purchase price and no maintenance costs

?? Get Rhino 3D

Light wave is a leading automotive design software that offers powerful modeling tools with the ability to create smooth subdivision surfaces interactively.

This program has an easy to use layer-based system (nodal system) and it allows you to easily manipulate filters, animations and effects.

You can easily duplicate objects in a scene using its Instantiation function, and also randomly select, scale and position even entirely different surfaces from the source.

The main features include:

  • Physics-based rendering system.
  • Render and light buffers.
  • Positive displacement motor.
  • Support for OpenVDB.
  • Surface editor, material nodes and surface preview.
  • Virtual reality camera.
  • Integrated FiberFX.
  • Parametric shapes based on layout.

?? Get LightWave

In this article, we’ve explored some of the best options in the automotive design software market.

This list gives you a description and an overview of the features so that you can easily choose the best option based on your creative skills and needs. Let us know what you chose in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

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