Monday, September 26, 2016

Hand & CAD - The Wireframe Years - 6

Late in 1990 I got the chance to work for Cooper Robertson, one of the premier design/planning firms in New York City. They were doing master planning for the Disney Corporation, Buena Vista Studios in Hollywood, and wanted quick but accurate drawings illustrating the plan. 

Following are a sampling of the drawings I produced for the job (A second post immediately following this will present a couple of views that were developed further). Each view was potentially a finished presentation rendering, but several were left at the black and white ink line stage. The development of each view will be in chronological order; that is, wireframe followed by shade & shadow, finished ink drawing, and transparent color. I’ll add comments as seems fit.

The first view is an aerial showing one of the cross streets used by the employees for access, food and recreation. A copy of the main CAD model was made with this viewpoint in mind (eliminating lines not seen), and the unwanted lines that were left were erased by hand with whiteout. 

The expanse of flat studio roofs is pretty bland, but this view does tie together some of the “landmarks” on the site.

Next is what might be called the “ceremonial” axis; an entry plaza just inside the main gate. It was planned with the goal of impressing visitors. I decided to skip the whiteout on the wireframe, and instead let the shade and shadow define the space.

Here we are getting a taste of the plaza by looking over the shoulder of the iconic “Team Disney” building designed by Michael Graves.

It is a nice understanding of the transition between front office in the foreground, and back office in the right distance.

One of the employee entrance gates with a ramp down to a proposed underground garage. 

As you can see from the changes from the previous image, this view became a design tool as it progressed.

Another employee entrance with an underground garage.

I never liked this view; it always looked awkward. 

This is one of the simpler ground level views. The preliminary wireframe is a bit confusing in spite of the pencil shading.

The design changed as I worked up the sketches…

…and developed further as I drew the final.

One advantage of CAD modeling is that you can get a realistic and accurate viewpoint of the project seen from any distance.

This shot was from the Ventura Freeway.

 This is what it looked like driving passed on Buena Vista Street.

This being a planning exercise, the buildings are nearly all generic blocks.

I used an airbrush  to “spatter” the sky and street, so as to define the clouds and the street’s traffic lines.

Walt Disney’s original bungalow is on the site.

And is lovingly preserved.

Note: this is largely a history lesson showing the moment in graphic history between hand drawn renderings and fully rendered computer images. It was a time when CAD computers could produce wireframe layouts, but were not good for computer rendering (that is, they were exceedingly slow and expensive). In addition to its historical value, I’m hoping that it provides some technical perspective to a future computer artist.

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