What is Car Design Software?

Carol Francois

Car design software products are used to create visual models of cars. The software is widely available and is used by both professional car designers and hobbyists. The primary purpose of this type of software is to convert a physical drawing of a car's exterior and interior into a digital version. Additional features might include three-dimensional imaging, preliminary testing of the design and the ability to quickly modify and save changes to the design

Concept cars are often built using the specifications from car design software.
Concept cars are often built using the specifications from car design software.

There are four key features in car design software: image rendering, version control, audit trail management and printing. Professional car design software can be used with a drawing pad, allowing the designer to create a freehand image of the car, save it to the program, then modify it to meet design standards. The tools used are constantly improving, both in complexity and the accuracy of the drawing utility.

Plotters, a special type of large format printer, are typically used to print designs made with car design software.
Plotters, a special type of large format printer, are typically used to print designs made with car design software.

Software designed for personal use often lacks this feature but includes templates of a large selection of cars. The user can then modify the car design to meet his or her needs. This is a great way to become familiar with the design concepts and limitations for cars and can lead to interest in car designing as a career.

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Version control is an automatic feature that keeps track of various designs for the same project, storing each separately. In some sophisticated car design software products, multiple versions can be compared and analyzed for differences. This feature is very important, because designing is an iterative process, requiring multiple attempts before settling on a particular model.

An audit trail records who accessed each file, the time and date, as well as the changes made. The purpose of an audit trail is to protect work already completed and to provide a list of the changes made and when. The software will include a report or other method of reviewing the changes made. Most audit trail functionality requires the use of user names and passwords to track file access.

Output functions included in car design software can vary widely, depending on the company and the user profile. Professional software includes the ability to convert a design into different formats, for use with Auto CAD, artistic design or photographic software. Printing might include standard size or oversize pages as commonly found in design studios.

When selecting a car design software package, a consumer should take the time to make a list of intended usage, essential features the software must have and output requirements. The buyer should think about the operating system on which the software will be installed, as well as the space requirements and processing speed necessary. It's a good idea for consumers to read customer reviews and select the product that is able to meet the majority of their needs.

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