Many designers are integrating Google SketchUp models into their design and visualization process. This simple hand coloring step is worthy of adding into your work flow as it enhances your perspectives and adds significant character to your design presentation.
This visualization project was with my firm studioINSITE and involved a design concept for a small park adjacent to a historic hospital building. I created a simple SketchUp “stage set” model, printed several views and added color to the prints with markers and colored pencils. A before and after comparison clearly shows how the additional layer of color and hand drawn texture can communicate an idea far better than an exported view straight from a 3D computer model!
Step 1 - SketchUp “Stage Set” Model. The model I constructed for this pocket park first involved taking a digital photograph of the building exterior and incorporating it into the SketchUp model. I built just enough of the 3D model to establish three different views of the space.
Step 2 - Eye Level SketchUp View. I saved an eye-level view of the proposed park that featured the central pathway through a large symbolic ring. People locations and shadow angles were carefully positioned to compose an active park setting and landscape treatment.
Step 3 - Exported and Colored Image. I exported 4000 pixel wide jpeg of the scene, lightened the image in Adobe Photoshop and printed the image on matte finish presentation paper. I adding color back into the image using Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils.
Step 4 - 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 integrated into a graphic document explaining the overall park concept.
Low Aerial View. This second of three SketchUp views was established to help understand the circular site geometry not visible in the eye-level perspective. The view was cropped closely to maintain focus on the central plaza space. I printed and colored the image with Chartpak AD markers and Prismacolor pencils identical to the previous eye-level perspective.
High Aerial View. The third SketchUp perspective view for the presentation was saved high above the ground in order to communicate the overall site context and layout. Notice that the building facade and lack of adjacent buildings is much more evident than the previous two images. The high aerial was intended as a supplemental rendering to support the other more close-up views.
When creating SketchUp models for projects, create multiple views of your subject and always have markers and colored pencils nearby to enhance your images and give them a more “hand-crafted” touch!
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