Sunday, March 6, 2016

Hand & CAD - The Wireframe Years - 3

I constructed perspectives by hand until I got my first CAD capable computer early in 1990. I started playing during my free time with wireframes and learning the AutoCad system. I very quickly tried to model an Idea I had for the north end of Times Square.

The first hand sketches I did for the project are lost, but the following images show the rest of the process, from the point I started to model in the computer.

As I viewed the model from different angles, I made revisions by hand.

Using a rough wireframe model, it was easy to try on different elements, such as this radiating “crown” cornice.

As the model progressed, I added a little pencil shading to help pick out the massing.

A too small element could be easily resized…

… and checked out from all angles.

As the design finally began to coalesce, I started adding shade and shadow to views.

Adding new ideas…

…and details as I went.

This building was for Times Square, so the jazzier the sign opportunities the better.

Once I’d developed the model as if it were an object seen from afar, I started to look at it from the sidewalks nearby.

Sometimes the wireframe became a swirling mass; beautiful, but less than useful for design purposes.

Since Times Square is surrounded by a dense urban fabric…

…views from other similar buildings…

…and true skyscrapers were needed.

One of the great advantages of computer modeling was that you could easily develop plans and elevations from the model. Above is the conceptual plan sketch (rendered as a computer drawing), with the resulting plan schematic below.

By working out the core, and then placing it into each of the different plan types, you can create a traditional set of tower plans.

Elevations are even easier to produce. Simply take a view from any side, and eliminate the hidden lines.

And now for the FUN part.

To create a quick, but powerful presentation, I blocked in the surrounding buildings of Times Square. I then chose a viewpoint that showed the project’s position and “feel” in the urban space.

This is the wireframe view from the north…

…and this is a quick pastel/pencil sketch of that view.

Here we look up from the east side…

…and… drama!

The west side…

…shining in the sun.

More from the east side…

…and the revolving signs.

A wonderful cropped view from the south…

…blew me away when I was finished.

So I made it into a full blown painting (airbrush and brushed acrylic, 18” x 18”).

I finish this post with the primary view; street level from across the “square” (from south). This is what you would see walking up Broadway at 42nd street; the whole ensemble from sidewalk to cornice.

Here is my habitual attempt to place the perspective view into the board’s (and building’s) geometry.

And, here’s the pastel and pencil sketch with a suggestion of plans and elevations on the left.

Technical note: On the rendered sketches: I printed (Xerox) the wireframe on a good letter sized bond paper. I then covered the sheet with grey pastel, rubbing it with my finger to create a smooth grey base tone. Next I added darker pastel to pick out the forms, and erased the grey base where I wanted to reveal the white paper, creating a lighter area or a highlight (this also allowed the line drawing to show though the pastel). I finalized the building details with a black Prismacolor pencil. The final drawing was sprayed with fixative to stabilize the pastel.

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