Car Design Academy is a Japan-based online design school where students can learn the necessary skills for working in the car design industry.
The school offers two different online courses, taught by instructors who actively work in the industry, which ensures all the covered material is relevant to today’s market requirements and trends.
The learning system is based on an online platform which offers students an experience close to that of physical design school.
The training method aims at teaching the correct design sketching foundations as well as the requirements for production feasibility, while at the same time encouraging students to develop their own ideas and style.
The main goal of the school is to offer anyone, anywhere in the world the opportunity of learning car design at a professional level.
As director Takeru Can explains, “We believe in the equal opportunity and create a system in which anybody on the globe can receive our education. Through individual coaching, we bring out students’ potentials to become a designer with creativity and proposal power suitable for the new era.”
CDA Total Course: How it works
The Total Course is divided into two periods of 24 weeks each, for a total duration of 48 weeks.
During each period students are provided with 12 lessons with textbooks, notes and instructional videos. Each lesson comes with an assignment and after the submission students receive a personalized feedback video.
Interestingly, students also have access to feedback videos for other students’ work, so it’s possible to learn from these design reviews, similarly to what happens in a physical school.
Additionally, the archive is constantly growing as it now includes more than 500 reviews from the current and the previous editions of the course.
During each period students will have 12 detailed feedback videos. In case the work has been completed without the need of corrections, then the student will gain a credit for an another feedback video for a different assignment.
It’s also possible to submit multiple assignments for each lesson: for the works that are submitted after the first one students will receive a written feedback.
The courses are based on the Schoology interactive platforms, which also includes a private forum where students can discuss and share their work.
The First Period is focused on drawing and painting foundations . Lessons cover in detail design sketching techniques. Students will learn how to correctly draw a car in perspective, and how to achieve consistency between the side view and the other views.
The last five lessons cover rendering techniques, using traditional markers as well as digital painting software.
During the Second Period students are tasked to develop a full project in a design process which is similar to that used in the industry.
The brief is defined by the students with the help of the instructors: projects are usually focused on solving a real world problem specific to the market and society of each student’s Country of origin, envisioning a scenario set from 5 up to 15 years from now.
Covered topics include Concept Creation, Package Layout, Rendering Technique, Concept board, Portfolio.
Each lesson teaches a different step in the design development process, from the starting creative research to the sketching stages, to the final renderings, the creation of the project presentation through design boards and the organization of the final portfolio.
In addition to the personalized video feedback, students are also able to attend two video conferences with instructors as follow-up support and have also access to the internal CDA Design Competition.
Students can register for the entire CDA Total Course or alternatively for an individual Period. Period II can be attended by those who have completed the Total Course I or already have sufficient sketching skills.
CDA Total Course Light
This new offering is targeted to those who want to learn car design skills in a shorter time frame and with a more affordable investment.
The 24 week intensive course includes 24 lessons and 12 feedback videos and mentoring supports by instructors.
The CDA Competition
A few times a year, Car Design Academy hosts an internal competition, with different categories depending on the students’ skill level.
The selection process is shared through videos so that students can learn from the reviews of the different works.
The Teaching Staff
The team of instructors includes:
- Can Takeru, Design Director at car design company NORI, Inc. His activities ranges from concept proposal, idea sketch, rendering, to 3D modeling. In 2014, he was appointed to serve as Design Director. Since 2018 he is Director of the school and Chief Instructor.
- Nori Kurihara (Chief Advisor) – He worked at Honda, Italdesign, Ford Europe and Japanese DCI and NORI, inc.
- Toshio Yamashita (Academic Adviser/President of the Jury for the CDA Competition)
He joined Nissan as designer in 1968. Among the projects that involved him in a major role are the 2nd generation Violet, the Fairlady Z Z32, Silvia 240SX, Skyline GT−R, Infinity G35, Q45. He is founder of Interrobang Design Collaboratives, Inc. and since 2008 he has been teaching Transportation Design at Tokyo Metropolitan University.
- Miki Hattori (Instructor) – A graduate from Art Center College of Design, he worked at Opel and Stile Bertone. He currently runs his own product design company.
- Takayuki Yamazaki (Academic Adviser)
Graduated from Tokyo Communication Art Academy in 1995, he joined Honda Motor Co., Inc., working on projects targeted to a younger audience. He was in charge of concept and design for Ape and ZOOMER and his recent work includes motor scooter GIORNO. In 2012 he founded pdc_designworks.
Registration and information
The next edition of the courses start on August 1st, 2019. The application deadline is July 31th, 2019.
Those who are interested in requesting more information or registering for the next course can visit cardesign.jp.
(Image Courtesy: Car Design Academy for Car Body Design)