FAQ | Car Design Academy | Online car design school

Frequently Asked Questions


Please click on the questions in order to read the answers.

I’m a beginner with no experience in car design. Can I join?

Yes. Our course is also suitable for beginners. Additionally, our school system allows students to freely ask their questions anytime. The CDA support is available to provide you all the help you might need to succeed in your car design learning. We will assist you until you get necessary skills.

Can I attend CDA course while I am learning product design at the college?

Yes. There are many students who are participating in our courses while studying at other school or working. We are proud to say that our course materials are used for some companies’ employee training. You can manage both learning in CDA and current school you are going.

I’m a high school student. Can I join?

Yes, you can! There are some students in our academy who are freshman in high school. Go to A Parent or Guardian’s Guide to CDA

What kind of students are there in CDA? Part I

There are many students in our academy, ranging from industrial students, art students to students in other majors.
Meet CDA students from here.

What kind of students are there in CDA? Part II

In CDA, there are a lot of students who are taking our courses while working.
For example, young designers, cray modelers, and engineers in auto companies etc. are participating in CDA.
And, also designers in other industry such as major electronics manufacturers, game, and graphics are in our courses.
Meet CDA students from here.

Can international students participate in courses?

Yes. CDA is an online school. As long as you have internet access, you can learn car design with CDA courses anytime, anywhere with your own comfort PC. If you are considering enrolling in/transferring to any other art school, we recommend you to take our courses as your preparation. We have had some students who successfully got accepted into art schools while taking our courses.
Read their experience from here.

When is the application deadline?

Since March in 2020, we have started accepting applications all year round. However, the applications shall be closed without notice when we receive more applications than expected.

Does the course have a duration?

Each course does not set specific length of time, so you are able to learn at your own pace as long as continued the plan, until completion.

How log will it take to complete the course?

It depends on the plan you have selected. For example, the standard completion time for completing CDA Exterior Course is; 8 months for Plan L, 12 months for Plan M, and 24 months for Plan S. However, you may skip some lessons if you already have the relevant skills. In that case, the total length of time will be less than the times. On the other hand, you can re-take some lessons if you wish. In that case, the total length of time will be longer.
When the course start, you will attend a video conference. You can talk and create lesson plans together with your instructor. Furthermore, if you have any concerns or worries while learning, of course, your instructor will help you and alert the rest of lessons to meet your learning needs.
_Go to Guide to Course Completion

Can I request a temporary leave of absence if I get busy and I am unable to attend the course?

Yes, you can request it. Requests for leave of absence must be notified by the 20th of the preceding month. When students wishing to return to CDA after completing a Leave of Absence, the requests for returning must be received by the 20th of the preceding month. *Students who take a Leave of Absence will be allowed to carry over unused feedback for a maximum of 3 months.

CDA Courses

What are assignments?

You will be asked to submit your work in each lesson. You can manage the schedule by yourself. Once you done, you will scan and upload it onto our school system. Then your instructor will review it, and send back you his “Advice & Corrections” by video.
*Normally it takes 2-5 business days for insructor to review and send back his recorded “Advice and Corrections.”
One of our interesting features is “feedback video” your received will be shared with other students. And, of course, you can also review those of other students’ works.

How long will I need to finish one lesson?

It depends on students’ sketch level and learning speed. We ask students to secure at least one hour on weekdays and two hours on weekend. Also, your access to other students’ works and video feedback will be active even after your completion of the course.

Can I contact an instructor if I need help?

You can contact your instructor anytime through our learning system. You can also directly ask your questions to your instructor during the video conference which will be held after receiving feedback video.
If you are having technical problems, your first contact should be the Support desk at CDA. In most cases they will be able to resolve your questions.

Can I access the video lectures and texts at anytime again? Fore example, can I re-watch/re-listen to parts where there are problems?

Yes, you can. All our learning materials are available online as long as you have internet access, even after you complete the course. Also, you can access to other student’s works whenever you need to see them. Our learning materials have been developed and will be continually updated as necessary by enhancing student’s feedback to us.
*You will not receive feedback from your instructors after completing the course.

I want to know more about the video conference.

You will attend a video conference with your instructor at least in the beginning, the middle, and the end of course. Each conference is about a half an hour and held during businessdays in Japan time.
We will coordinate the schedule which best suits to you.

Can I get instructor’s help to create my design portfolio?

Yes. Your instructor will help you develop your portfolio. If you need detailed feedback, you can use unused feedback for it. Your instructor will alert the rest of lessons even it is during the course in order to meet your learning needs. Please take this advantage for your learning.

Tuition & Payments

What are the differences between each plan?

The number of feedback video given from your instructor per a month is different. Please compare our plans to find which best suits your needs.
Plan L: 3 Feedback videos/month. It would require you to finish up a lesson once a week and proceed lessons at a high pace. This plan would suit learners who would like to improve their skills in a short period of time.
Plan M: 2 Feedback videos/month. You can proceed the lesson at a pace of once every two weeks. This plan would suit those who take our course while going to school or working.
Plan S: 1 Feedback video/month. If you would like to learn at your own pace or at a slower pace than the rest of plans, this plan would suit you. This plan is also preferred by people who would like to try our courses.

Can I upgrade/downgrade the plan?

Yes. If you wish to change your plan, the request for changing the plan must be received by the 20th of the preceding month. However, in this case, you will not be allowed to carry over unused feedback. Please make sure to use full feedback before changing your plan.

Can I get a receipt for my tuition payment?

Yes, we will issue a receipt for your payment after confirming your payment. Please contact us if you need the receipt. In case of that if your employer or other organization is paying your fees, you must submit a form of Sponsored Student after completing the regular application under your name.

Technical Requirements

What equipment do I need to take the course?

You will need to meet the following requirements.
1. Photoshop or other Painting Software such as Paint Tool SAI
Photoshop has various payment plans, currently ranging from around 20.99 a month to more. In case of SAI, you will need to purchase an unlimited license for using SAI and cost 5,250 Japanese yen (around $50).
2. Scanner
Courses require students to have immediate access to a scanner or copy machine that will copy your work that can be uploaded into School System.
3. Graphic Tablet
When you use Photoshop or other painting software (Paint Tool SAI etc.), you must need a pen tablet such as Wacom.
4. Copic Markers
Painting Lessons in the courses require you to use Copic Markers manufactured by Too Cooporation, that are the alcohol-based ink and fast-drying. The following Copic Markers are basically used in the course.
Painting the body of vehicle: C1,C2,C3,C5,C7,C10
Painting the rear combination lights: RV02,RV29
Painting to express the fog lights:B41
Copic markers offers 3 types of markers, and either Copic Classic or Copic Sketch works in CDA courses. *The Copic Sketch is more preferred in CDA.

Students are responsible for purchasing these software and equipment for the course. If you already have equivalent markers, you can use them in the course. Please contact your instructor before purchasing the equipment if you have any questions.

What are the system requirements for courses?

The courses are all hosted on our school system, so Internet access is required. And, students must have personal e-mail address receivable for our contacting. When you take painting lessons with using Photoshop or Paint Tool SAI in courses, you are strongly encouraged to test computer and software prior to the beginning of lessons.
If you consider a new PC during the course, please contact your instructor before purchasing. Your instructor will share his experience and trusted tools with you.