The process of communicating concept design ideas can involve a number of visualization techniques such as physical models, diagrams, sketches, 3D computer models and your typical plans and elevations. When designing large and complex planning projects, it may be necessary to develop design concepts for many different areas within the proposed development. I worked on numerous large master plans in the Middle East and found a very effective method of quickly visualizing my ideas with what I call “SketchUp Composite Drawings”.
This process involves quickly generated Google Sketchup model views that have minimal detail - much like stage set models that I discuss in my book Drawing Shortcuts Second Edition. Once the SketchUp scene is saved, I then print the image and hand draw over it adding much more detail, color, entourage, landscaping and character. The two are composite scanned together and shown in concept design presentations. The images below are of six drawings that were part of a 15-image set of quick sketches that told the story of a very large development.
Master SketchUp Model. All of the SketchUp scenes and drawings were derived from sub-models that were expanded versions of this overall massing model built to show the proposed development. Once I identified a specific view, I added more detailed model components and architectural character to the scene.
Canal Scene. The SketchUp model was developed with waterside steps and bridges along with entourage. I printed the image 11"x17” and traced over the print with a Pentel Sign pen on lightweight tracing paper. I colored directly onto the original line drawing with Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils. The final drawing was scanned with the print beneath which resulted in a “composite” drawing that revealed much of the SketchUp model visible below the hand drawing.
Waterfront Views. Both of these perspectives were created using the same method of drawing over a SketchUp model view. Notice how much detail was added in the hand drawing compared with what originally was built in the model. By composite scanning a hand drawing over a SketchUp model view, all of the shadows, sky, water color and building facades are visible in the final image.
Enhance the View. The original SketchUp model did not have any detail showing the water’s edge. I delineated the buildings but spent most of my effort drawing the pedestrian pathway, canal and vegetation.
Fine Tune Your Model Views. Whether you are visualizing a roof top swimming pool or a public building, carefully establish your model view by adjusting your SketchUp model's camera focal length, shadow setting, entourage placement and height of the camera. Both of these model views are at eye-level to create a more up-close and realistic impression of the subject.
Roof Terrace Drawing. This image expanded the SketchUp model view with more detail added to the building facades and landscaping. I easily traced the people and furniture directly from the model. When composite scanning a hand drawing over a SketchUp view, you can add a second sheet of trace beneath your drawing to lighten the model view and show less of the computer image.
Public Terrace. This drawing has minimal detail in the foreground as it was intended to highlight the pair of commercial buildings and the small tower elements in front of them. The composite scan faded the building facades in the background creating an illusion of distance and space. Bright gold and red colors emphasized the feature commercial buildings.Notice how the dark blue sky contrasts against the white facades of the buildings.
Marina Concept Visualization. The SketchUp concept model I built depicted a proposed marina development. The image formed the basis for my composite drawing which the client approved and eventually used to generate a photo-realistic rendering of the marina. This process of “storyboarding” ideas with both 3D SketchUp models and hand drawn overlays is a very effective method for quickly communicating ideas to clients without time consuming modeling or high end rendering. (Photo realistic rendering by Crystal CG)
Look for other interesting articles on my blog, visit my website www.drawingshortcuts.com and read my new book Drawing Shortcuts Second Edition. NEW! - The 2010 Blog Collection , a 116-page catalog of my best blog posts from 2010 is now available on Blurb! http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1963744