Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hand & CAD - The Wireframe Years - 7



This post is a continuation of my look at Cooper Robertson’s design for Disney’s Buena Vista Studios in Hollywood, California (1990). The previous post covered 8 mundanely informative views. This post will cover two of the more interesting views.

The first view is a ground level view of the food bar proposed for the base of the water tower. All drawings are an 8” square format.

The first wireframe sketch started with the rough CAD model that I used for the aerial shots (see previous post). The shading provides a vague idea of the space and structure.


In this second round sketch I’ve created a much more understandable image. I copied the CAD model and used the copy to eliminate all parts of the model that couldn’t be seen from this viewpoint. I then used pastel and pencil to evoke a sunlit spot.


In the third pass the viewpoint was adjusted slightly, and the design was developed and detailed.


After some minor adjustments this ink line drawing was produced on mylar…


… and color was added with transparent ink applied with an airbrush.



The second example is a view of the main entry gate; which was essentially a three dimensional logo/sign for the Disney property. The design was fairly set, so I expected a straightforward drawing process, with the viewpoint as the only unknown.


A close view seen on a diagonal was preferred, but the near tower was cut off.  Note the lack of line hiding or shading. These were quick shots to establish viewpoint.


Here we are further back, but still at an angle to the gate.


This view is almost directly in front of the gate.


Finally, this view, which is slightly off center, was chosen.


Minor design changes and detailing was added.


Additional minor details were added, and the confusing hidden lines were eliminated on the print with white out.


Shade and shadow was added on a Xerox print with pastel and pencil. At this point I thought we had an interesting basis for a finished rendering.


Unfortunately, the design was considered insufficiently “Disney”. A new design was worked up, and I revised the CAD model. This time a medium close-up view was tried on a diagonal, so as to include the “Team Disney” building (Michael Graves and the Seven Dwarves).


A bit of pastel and pencil helped separate the gate from the background forms.


It was decided to move the viewpoint back. This would allow a full view of the “Team Disney” building as well as a better understanding of the undulating fence.


In working up this pastel and pencil study, I realized that the major challenge would be separating the gate from the fa├žade of the building behind. Both were rather complex and “busy” forms, so I was going to have to punch up the gate and grey out the building.


I decided to use stippling on the building and solid lines on the gate. It was a rather tricky business on such a small drawing (about 8” square), but I thought (and still think) it worked.


The client never asked for a color rendition of this view, but I later did one for fun. I softened and lightened the stipple on the far building with sprayed opaque white paint. Then I airbrushed transparent ink color. The result is pretty successful, although there is an awful lot of depth and detail in a very small finished painting. The only discordant bit in the drawing is the perspective of the “Team Disney” building, which can’t be helped since it is not perpendicular to the street and the rest of the buildings.

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.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hand & CAD - The Wireframe Years - 5



The 3D capability available in the early ‘90s inspired a lot of experimentation among architects and artists. I dreamed up this fantasy to entertain myself while learning AutoCAD commands. I printed the four views double sided to save paper and because I considered them throw aways. Surprisingly, I found them yesterday tucked into a binder for a “real” (paying) job, and present them here.


First, a plain vanilla view similar to what I produced by hand. No hiding of lines, and black Prismacolor pencil to establish some reality.


Second, a “worms-eye” view. You can’t see the 3 point perspective in such a non-rectalinear building, but it is there. Again, pencil shade and shadow on the print.


OK… that last wasn’t real worm’s-eye. THIS is a worm’s-eye!


And finally, an aerial with considerable overlap in the building’s faces. The pencil shading isn’t enough to clarify the volumes.