Surface Modelling A Car in Cinema 4D

This tutorial with guide you through how to make a car in Cinema 4D using the surface modelling technique.

1. First you need to think of a car that you want to model. As you are reading this tutorial I would guess that you have never tried to model a car before, so its best that you stick to a simple car so that you can get the technique right.
2. For this tutorial I will be making a BMW 3 Coupe. I will put up my blueprints later on so you can use them if you wish to do so.

Now if you are making a different car you will need to find yourself some blueprints so that you can work from them.

I recommend this website has a huge collection of blueprints that you can work from.

You will notice that the blueprints are all in 1 image, you will need to seperate each view from one another so you have a back, front, side and top.

You can download the blueprints I used here:

Front : Back : Side : Top


Now to put our blueprints in to C4D.

Press F5 to get all 4 views on.


On the Top view, click Configure on the Edit menu

You will then get the options to configure the viewport on the right hand side of the C4D window.

Configure Top Viewport

Press the Back tab at the top of the options

Background options

Next to Image click the ... then browse to your blueprints, select the Top view image.

You will then see the top viewport has the top view of the blueprint.

Top View Background

Repeat these steps for the Side and Front viewport. On the Front viewport just put the front blueprint on, leave the back for now.

You should have something that looks like this:

Viewports Backgrounds


Now we need to set the dimensions of our blueprints otherwise they wont align properly.

In Explorer you will need to find the dimensions of each blueprint. If you are using my blueprints from up above, you can use those.


- Width: 1616px
- Height: 698px


- Width: 1614px
- Height: 506px


- Width: 728px
- Height: 518px

The good thing about C4D is although you have to manually type the dimensions in, it does keep the proportions correct, so you just need to type in the height of the blueprints.

Viewports Updated Dimensions

There are 2 problems with these viewports:

1) The top view is round the wrong way, it should be pointing down
2) How do we know if they are aligned properly?


Now we need to rotate the top view so that it is pointing in the right direction. In the Top viewport go to Configure on the Edit menu again and back to the Back tab.

Change the rotation to 90 or -90 depending on your blueprint, in my case it was -90.

Rotating Background

Now we need to align our blueprints to one another.


Go to the Objects menu and select Null Object then go back to the Objects menu and select the Polygon Object

Objects Menu

In your Objects panel move the Polygon Object to be a child of the Null Object.

Select Points mode on the left hand side of the window.



Go to the Structure menu at the top and select Add Point

Add Point

Now hold down the Ctrl key and left click on your top view, at the very front of the car.

Top View Add Point

With the point still selected go to the side view and place it at the furthest place at the front.


Check your front view to make sure it all looks aligned.

To save bandwidth I will put images of the rest of the aligning process, but repeat this process using the top of the car as a point, selecting the highest possible place, and using a wing mirrow (or side mirror).

If your points aren't lined up properly you will have to go back to the configure option on the Edit menu of what ever port is wrong and change the Offset values. On my blueprints I needed to change the Y offset to -5.


Once you have finished aligning delete the Null Object, which will also delete the polygon object.

Now we are ready to start modelling the car.


To keep this tutorial short I will not show you how to do the whole car, but just the bonnet (hood) for this tutorial, as the same technique can be passed on to the rest of the car.

Now create a HyperNurbs object.

Create Hypernurbs

As a child object of the HyperNurbs create a Symmetry object.


As a child object of the Symmetry object, create a Null Object.

Null Object

As a child object of the Null Object create a Polygon Object.

Polygon Object

In your Objects panel you should now have this:

Objects Panel

Make sure Points mode is still selected.

Point Mode Selected

Now go to Structure » Add point, hold down Ctrl and left click where you want the first point, do this in Top view at the very bottom of the bonnet (hood). If you are using my BMW blueprints, then start it just above the radiator vents on the front, as the radiator can be created later on once we have the rest of the bonnet (hood) completed.

For this first point it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that the X co-ordinate is set to 0.

Once your point is in place select the Live Selection Tool.

Live Selection Tool

And select the point we just created. Now right click anywhere in the viewport and select Clone.

Clone Menu

Now in the panel to the bottom right (I think it's called the Attribute panel), use these options:


This will clone your point in the exact same position.

Now in the Side viewport move it so it follows the contours of the car. You want around 6 or 7 points up to the window.

So just repeat the process of cloning, you can do more than 1 point at a time but I recommend you do one at a time for the first line.

Remember to keep the points at the X co-ordinate 0. This is extremely important.

You should now a your first 6 or 7 points set up in a row, keeping to the shape of the car.

First Set of Points

Now select all of the points, and clone them. Move them over to the left and put them in their correct positions.

Bonnet Points

This is where I found out that my blueprints are either incorrect or aren't aligned properly. As you can tell from the Top and Front view the right hand set of the points are completely misaligned. I will carry on anyway just to show you the technique.

So now we have our points set up we can start to make it look like a bonnet (hood). Right click and press Bridge or just press the B key.

Left click and hold the mouse button on the very first point we made then move the mouse over to the point to the right. Then let go. This will create a bridge between the 2 points and will be represented by a yellow line. Do the same again but for the next point up. This should create a rectangle using the 4 points.


Now continue this process holding the mouse button and creating polygons until you get to the top of the car. Then press the Spacebar. This will finish the bridge tool.


Repeat this for the rest of the points to finish off your bonnet (hood).

If you look in your perspective viewport, you should see something that resembles a bonnet (hood) although it is hard to tell as the rest of the car isn't there.

Perspective View of Bonnet

To make sure the bonnet is as smooth as possible, go to the Object panel and select the Polygon object. Then go to File » Cinema 4D Tags » Phong.


If you look at your Perspective viewport again you may see this areas that have changed shade.

Phong Changed Shade

So we need to realign the normals to make it smooth.

Select the Polygon mode from the left.


Then press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all the polygons.

You may notice that some of the normals are pointing in different directions. The normals are the yellow things in the middle of the polygons which show the direction of the polygon. On my model you can see that the normals are pointing opposite directions which caused the different shading when we applied the Phong tag to our Polygon object.

Normals Mis-Aligned

To realign them, keep all the polygons selected then go to Functions » Align Normals.

Align Normals

This then changes the normals so they all align properly.

Aligned normals

Then you can render it, and see that it is nice and smooth.


Use the same technique and just more points on covering up more of the car. Remember to be patient, it does take a lot of time especially at first.


Front Render


Practice makes perfect, I am still fairly new this myself so my models are pretty amateurish.

This is my first ever attempt, it is supposed to be an Audi A8.

Audi A8

And my second attempt which is supposed to be a Dodge Viper.

Dodge Viper