Illustrations - Hand Sketches with a Digital Twist
by Eric Howard
In the architectural illustration world, there was a time when
everything was done 'on the boards'. This reference to drafting
tables, complete with pencils, erasers and circle templates,
accurately described the days when all drawings were produced by
hand. Illustrators carefully studied composition and aesthetics, and
painstakingly applied those principles in their drawings.
Then the computer began to emerge as a drafting and drawing tool in
the late 1980s, and rapidly became the way illustrations and
renderings were done. Whether it was because changes were easily
accomplished (clicking 'undo' instead of erasing), or because one
could easily print or send multiple copies of one's work, drawing by
hand fell by the wayside in a matter of years.
Today, architectural renderings are mostly produced with computer
modeling and rendering software. There are many illustrators
who-because it is 'easy' to create a model, position a view point,
set materials, and render away-produce renderings and perspective
drawings completely by computer.
Some computer illustrators do have a keen eye for aesthetics,
balance, and composition. But sadly, many do not. After their
computer model is established and the sun angle is set up, canned
entourage (people, plants and cars) are sprinkled in, and...voila!
They have a finished rendering. Many times, rules of perspective and
scale are broken or ignored, the balance of color and shading
between subject and entourage is thrown out the window, and a sadly
mismatched, awkward illustration is the result. Even more sad is the
fact that clients are actually paying for this shoddy work.
Designers and their clients began to accept computer renderings as
'the wave of the future', but many longed for the artistic craft of
hand drawings that seemed to have been cast aside.
Fortunately, another form of architectural illustration has begun to
emerge which has the best of both worlds: the digital hybrid
illustration. Essentially, it is a hand drawn sketch that is scanned
and rendered digitally. Color adjustments, filters and layer styles
are employed as appropriate to the individual illustration. With a
hybrid drawing, you not only have the inherent benefits of an
organic, hand drawn sketch, but you unlock the powerful creative
potential and editing capabilities of the most current digital
In the hands of a well-trained artist, a digital hybrid illustration
opens the door for what should be the future of architectural
illustration. It is a balance of mediums: a carefully constructed
hand drawing made even better through modern digital image editing
Learning 3D Illustration
by Carlo Berces Castillo
3D Illustration is a 2d representation of a 3d object in the virtual
world. The illustrators role is to convey in the best possible
manner, the design of the structure, through a rendered perspective.
Modeling a building for architectural presentation and analysis is
different from modeling cartoon character, aliens from distant
planet. Nobody know what aliens look like so the modelers have an
advantage in his interpretation. Almost everybody knows what a
structure looks like, and those expectation should be met by the
With the aid of the Architectural Software, the Architects, Interior
Designers, and Industrial Designers - anyone who makes aesthetic
decisions in 3-Dimensions, will find that 3D computer visualization
is a very effective way of conveying design ideas.
Building a 3D illustration on a computer often highlights design
problems, and can aid in the search for a solution, which are often
overlooked during the design process.
3D Modeling Basic
There are a lot of ways to create your 3d modeling and almost
everybody have their own way and technique of creating the same
model. In architectural visualization, there are a few modeling
types every illustrator needs to master in 3DS Max.
These are spline, shapes and meshes, although there are others
namely NURBS, patches, they all cater for other industry, but a
basic understanding of these modeling techniques will be useful in
other parts of your 3d scene.
The basic foundation of every 3D scenes are the line works, which
are provided by the architects or other design professional, in the
form of hand-drawn plans or 2D Autocad drawings.
From there, it is digitized to form a spline or shapes, that can be
used in the creation of primitives, compound objects, and other
object that will complete the scene.
Some also prefer to model the scene in AutoCAD and export to 3DS max
for the texturing, lighting, and rendering.
There are no basic rule to follow, whether using autocad or a 3D
software, as long as you are able to produce the required output.
Since designers are used to the precision drawings of autoCAD, it's
no surprise that some illustrator engage in setting up the all the
massing and modeling part in AutoCAD to take advantage of its
accuracy in the 3D creation, and exporting them for rendering in 3DS
Materials & Textures
Modeling is only the first step of creating Architectural
Visualization. Materials and textures are the steps that attach a
color and surface qualities to the 3D objects.
These textures comes from either scanned, painted, photographed, of
actual materials and then projected on the 3D surface.
The main thing that you need to consider is the resolution of the
bitmap that you will be using.
You must bear in mind that the bigger the bitmap, the bigger the
file size, and your rendering will be slower. Analyze the scene, if
the object is far away from the camera or is a minor element in the
scene, you can use a smaller bitmap size.
<strong>Lighting & Rendering</strong>
Lighting and Rendering requires a keen eye for color and tone, as
well as understanding of the technicalities and limitation of 3D
Lighting Systems and Rendering Engines.
In order to achieve realistic Architectural Illustration, you'll
want to study basic photography, which is primarily a study of light
and how it interact with surfaces and film, and cinematography,
which deals with lights in motion.
Lighting in 3D requires a mastery of the basic light types -
directional, point, ambient, area, and spot lights - as well as an
understanding of how lights interact with surfaces and the creation
of shadow in 3D.
You'll need to have a firm grasp of how textures will be affected by
their lights. Knowing color and how to get the right look for the
frame is imperative in creating a photo-realistic scene.
Learn Digital Rendering at your own pace
by Carlos Ed Martinez
Have you ever wanted to create digital art? Render your own art into
a digital masterpiece like the pros do? Well with Chad Baldwin's
tranning course you will learn how to take a simple drawing and
really bring it to life. Understanding and using layers to create
highlights and shadows to express dimension is key. With this series
of downloadable instructional videos it is clearly explanined the
right way. Once you've learned the techniques you will be able to
apply them to your own art and render it digitally.
Chad's training videos simply provide the best techniques! Have you
even been interested in knowing the digital process? Wonder how you
go about setting up your characters? Within you will learn from the
basics of setting up your document to creating a 3D rendering of
your own art quickly and affectively.
Now days you see more and more artists going digital. I feel the
biggest benefit with creating digital renderings is the speed you
have over traditional painting. If you mess up, no worries just
simply undo it!! If you would like to make a living with creating
digital illustrations this series of instructional videos is going
to pay for itself by teaching you how to create clean crisp lines
with the advanced layering techinques. There are always deadlines.
With the digital medium you always have to remember just like
traditional painting, the computer is only a tool. However, if you
use the tools correctly and build up the experience you will find
the digital medium allows for so many possibilities at such little
time. These instructional videos download right to your computer and
walk you step by step and shows you how to take a sketch and use
layers to add the colors and create shading and lighting. The sky is
Have you ever drawn onto the computer? Or have you taken and scanned
your cartoon or illustration into the computer but dont really know
how to take it to the next level? Maybe you already have some idea
as to how to render or color your illustrations on the computer but
would love to push it to a professional level? If this is the case,
this will be a great learning tool for you to advance your skills at
your own pace.
Simply put, Cartoon Paint is a great learning tool for the digital
medium and offers specific instructions and a detailed guilde to
computer generated art. If you are looking to add that extra
dimension to your cartoon characters or hand drawn renderings I
think you will enjoy this video!
Illustration is simply a picture, which is capable of conveying some
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