Every so often a visualization challenge is presented to me that is outside my level of experience and requires some quick and creative action. Illustrating the concept design for this resort hotel in Djibouti, Africa was difficult as I had only two pieces of information to work with: a hand drawn site plan and a single building elevation drafted in red pencil.
My task was to develop two renderings that portrayed the waterfront resort hotel, marina and adjacent development. I first needed to build a Google SketchUp model of the development, select views and generate the renderings in about four days! My process is outlined below:
Step 1: Assemble Base Information. The resort’s site plan was designed by my good friend and very talented architect David Klages,FAIA. He generated a hand drawn site concept and eventually produced a beautiful hand drawn illustrative site plan for the development. I imported his site plan and used it as the overall base for the SketchUp model. David also drafted a red pencil elevation of the hotel that captured the basic roof forms, window patterns and ground level facade detail. I had only the hand drawn site plan and elevation as the source information available to develop two renderings! Could it have been any more difficult?
Step 2: SketchUp Massing and Mapping. I converted the red pencil drawing to black and white in Photoshop and imported the image as a texture into the massing model. I also brought in the site plan and resized it to form the base of the model, then constructed the hotel wings while methodically mapping the exterior onto the model faces. I worked closely to make sure the floor-to-floor heights were accurate and all sides of the building were adequately mapped (covered) with facade information I extracted from David's hand drawn building elevation.
Step 3: Add entourage and Additional Buildings. I completed the SketchUp model adding luxury boats downloaded from 3D Warehouse and built secondary structures in the model that represented villas, employee housing and commercial uses. I strategically placed a few 3D palm trees in view areas that would eventually be illustrated.
Step 4: Select Final Views. These two images show “before and after” overhead views of the final SketchUp model. I then selected one aerial perspective view and a low “roof-level” closeup view of the marina to use for the final two renderings.
Step 5: Export Image and Print. I exported a high resolution JPEG of the aerial scene, lightened it in Photoshop, then plotted it in color onto matte finish coated bond paper approximately 24 inches wide.
Step 6: Ink Linework and Color. I drew additional detail onto the color print with a water based roller ball pen and colored the entire image with Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils. I add blue pencil to the water and white pencil hightlights on the water, roofs and windows. The final colored rendering was scanned at 300dpi and reproduced in the concept design report.
Waterfront Roof Level Perspective. This second rendering highlighting the marina, waterfront pedestrian promenade and other ground level hotel amenities was illustrated using a similar visualization method.