I believe that creative professionals should take design communication to a higher level of visualization by integrating hand drawing and traditional coloring techniques with 3D computer model views. I've noticed that more and more architects who have built Google SketchUp models are only presenting exported model views to clients. These models can be very effective in presentations but often lack the "soft touch" sketch character, artistic hierarchy and hand-crafted authenticity.
This urban design study was developed for Farooq Ameen of City Design Studio LLC, in which I generated numerous hybrid drawings from Sketchup models showing the character of different neighborhood streets and architecture within a proposed development. I constructed a Google SketchUp “stage set model” for each study area, determined an eye-level perspective view and proceeded to create a presentation rendering for Farooq. My step-by-step approach is outlined below:
Step 1 - SketchUp “Stage Set” Model. The model I constructed for this specific office park had only the architectural walls visible within the eye level scene. This overhead view of the model reveals how little was constructed beyond the street, vehicular drop off and immediate building facades.
Step 2 - Distant Mountain. Because the site was located against a mountain range, I constructed a simple SketchUp vertical face with a mountain silhouette at the far edge of the model. Only a portion of the mountain would eventually be visible in the final scene.
Step 3 - Final SketchUp Scene. I determined a preferred view from beneath the building overhand and slightly above eye level in order to see more of the ground plane in the circle drive. Shadows were carefully adjusted to darken the foreground and highlight the drop off area.
Step 4 - Exported and Modified Image. I exported 5000 pixel wide jpeg (equal to 11” x 17” x 300dpi) and lightened the image in Adobe Photoshop. I printed the lightened scene on matte finish presentation paper with the purpose of adding color back onto the print using markers and colored pencils.
Step 5 - Hand Coloring. Using Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils, I added color to the people, building facades, ground plane and background. Highlights and textures were applied with Prismacolor pencils. Using a Black rolling ball ink pen, I outlined the trees, people, windows and paving patterns with casual linework - avoiding the use of a straight edge to reinforce the casual character of the drawing.
Step 6 - Color Drawing Scan. I scanned the final colored image at 300 dpi and imported it into Adobe Photoshop where I adjusted the contrast levels. A high resolution jpeg was sent to my very appreciative client.
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