Affordable Housing Prototype-Part 2 of 4, Model

From drawings to 3D models

Elevation drawings are flat, showing only one side of the building at a time. 3D models can show all sides of a building. Using the elevations I drew, I created 3D models of the end and the interior buildings. Pieces needed a little adjustment at the corners, where 2 elevations meet. I had to design and draw the less exposed elevations I had left out, in my rush to start the model. Then I “walked” around the buildings, looking at proportions, connections and details, making further adjustments.

I had decided that I wanted to add color and landscaping to the model. I used different colors on different masses as a way to break up the buildings.

All the computer power we have can give you great precision. 3D models can be very tight, with absolutely straight lines and uniform colors. Unfortunately, I don’t like that tightness. It makes the buildings like they were made on an assembly line. Real walls in one color have variations from texture, irregularities and the time of day. Real corners are soft and slightly irregular. Also, precise drawings don’t convey that a concept is preliminary and can be changed. I decided to use even more of that computer power to undue some of the precision.

I used a combination of effects available within the modeling software along with elements I created. I really don’t like the flat colors. I developed a texture pattern that introduces small dots of complimentary colors. I used a softer, more hand drawn line. I also don’t like the tree choices that are available. They all look very “computer-ish” with hard edges, flat colors and no transparency. Real trees have soft edges, are transparent and in San Diego they often have flowers. I created a flowering tree that, even though very solid, has lots of transparency.

These sequences show the progression from plain to final model, from hard white planes to textured, softer planes with trees.

Next article: Assembling the 3D models to create a neighborhood


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