Monday, October 13, 2003

Tools of the Trade - CAD

As mentioned before since several people sent emails expressing interest in the tools I use for work, I will share and attempt to explain (when needed) the process and tools for my workflow. Todays topic is CAD.

Since most work that is done in this age is digital it goes without saying that a large potion of designing is done so with CAD. There are many CAD packages out there and my main focus is with Autodesk products (AutoCAD and Architectural Desktop to be exact). At the beginning of a rendering job you will typically be given a hand sketch or 2D plans of an idea. Your task is to take this rough idea and massage it into a workable idea.

At this point there are typically two types of renderings that can be done, elevational or perspective. The elevational rendering is typically done with AutoCAD linework as a base and "rendered" using Photoshop (or other imaging program) to keep it from looking like a typical flat production elevation. While a perspective is actually modeled using either solids, faces or AEC objects (walls, doors, window, curtain walls, etc...) and then materials are applied to this geometry. The perspective obviously takes more time to finish but the one big advantage is that you can change your view point (camera) at any time for a different look/feel.

If you have been focusing on one style, you should take the time to experiment with other methods as this will help you to gain a better understanding of what is needed to keep your renderings from looking flat. There is no one item in particular that keeps a drawing from looking flat, but instead it is a combination of a multitude of items that together help to achieve a certain look or feel in a presentation image.

Happy Rendering...

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