Desert House Vignettes

This week, I got back into the Trench House project by generating some exterior vignettes. I wanted to use these images to emphasize the vastness of the context and also to explore some color combinations. Since this project sits in the middle of a desert in Nevada, the time it takes to Photoshop the surrounding environment is minimal which allowed me to generate several illustrations quickly and spend a little more time on the exploring the art side of things. Below, I explain some of the concepts and reasoning behind this set of images.    

1. Camera Distance

    As I mentioned above, one of the goals of these images was to reveal the vastness of the surrounding site. I did this two ways. First, I pulled back the camera so that the architecture only made up a small portion of the image. Going through school, I was
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Desert Site Plan

    After a few more weeks of studying, iterating, and modeling, the design of the desert house has been more or less finalized. I have now begun thinking about the visuals and how I want to present this project. This has been difficult at times because the form can be confusing to explain through single still images but also because the location is in an empty and vast environment with little vegetation and environmental entities to engage the architecture with. Concerning the form, I have looked at sections, exploded axons, and even x-ray images to explain the geometry. At one point, I had the building copied and rotated many times to help me think about views. I realized this idea of having the building copied and rotated all on a single page explained the form well because you are then able to relate the different angles quickly to each
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Winter Special #6

Even though I have started the new desert house project, I jumped back to the Philly Bridge project to generate this year’s winter special. This was a view that I had planned on illustrating months ago but ran out of time. Luckily, it works perfectly for creating a winter narrative of the first snow of the year with sledders racing to the top of the bridge. This image took a drastic leap from the original V-Ray rendering to the final completed scene with lots of Photoshopped textures throughout. Below is a quick break down of how the image evolved.    

1. Sketchup Model / V-Ray Rendering

  Above, the Sketchup Model Above, the V-Ray base rendering. The sketchup model was minimal in detail most of the textures were reused from other views. The only thing I adjusted was the amount of reflection in the sidewalks and the softness of
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Managing Diagrams in Photoshop

I have been testing out a ton of different ideas for how to articulate the glass facade for the Desert Trench House project. From those studies, I developed a spread that shows some of the iterations that were generated. As I was putting this illustration together, I thought it might be helpful to break down how I typically organize my diagram files. I use a lot of smart objects to control size, sharpness, and ability to edit as I move stuff around on the page and try to figure out the composition. As you will see below, there are two Photoshop files being used to manage the individual elements as well as the overall layout.  I wrote a post about smart objects a few months back that goes into more depth about the advantages of using smart objects in Photoshop which can be seen HERE.    

1. Setup
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Desert Trench House

I have started a new project that I am calling the Desert Trench House. I have yet to illustrate a project on this website that is located in an arid environment and am excited to get going on this. The structure sits mostly recessed underground with large shade overhangs projecting above . Unlike the Philly Bridge Project, the context of the Trench House is minimal meaning less time will be spent illustrating surrounding buildings and more time refining lighting and atmosphere. For now, here are some quick vignettes of the design in its current state.   Above, some form studies. The final design shown as #12.     South Elevation     North Elevation     Southeast Bird’s-eye     Northwest Bird’s-eye      

Mapping Philly

I have been traveling quite a bit lately which means it has been a while since my last post. I figured I would ease back into this with some mapping studies that I have been experimenting with. I have always liked the idea of locating a project at the beginning of the portfolio with a series of maps or diagrams to help orient the viewer.   The first starts with an extremely pulled out view of the East Coast and slowly zooms in with each addition map. Graphically, I played around with blurring as a hierarchy tool which ended up leading me down a path of creating a look similar to layers of trace paper. I still need to add much more text and information overlays, but the foundation is there for each map. Below is a quick explanation of how I created the “trace paper” look.    

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Philly Aerial Break Down

Aerial architectural renderings in a city environment are some of the toughest images to create. For one, you are dealing with a ton of texture, geometry, and complexity when it comes to the context. The ideal way to manage this is to hire a photographer to take photos with a drone at the precise view angle.  Another option is to build (or purchase) an elaborate model of the city. However for this personal project of mine, I don’t have either the time or the money for either of these options. Other difficulties with city aerials include creating proper hierarchy and focal points. With all of the texture and complexity of a city, everything is competing for attention and it can become difficult to draw the eye to the places you want it to go. Below is a break down of the Philly Bridge aerial illustration with an attempt at tackling
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Day to Night: All Pshop Philly Edition

This will be the third image that I have posted on this site that goes from a daytime base rendering to a full on night rendering using only Photoshop. The first ever No Render Night Tutorial I created came at the very beginning of this website a long time ago. Since then, the technique has shifted slightly but the concept remains the same. This updated workflow can be seen in my Day to Night image break down and explains certain key moves such as darkening the base image that will help make sense of some of the steps shown below. While the breakdown below is brief, I hope it still paints a picture of how this image evolved and the transformation that took place. Also, I am excited to say that I will be meticulously breaking down this image layer by layer in a few weeks at the Renderit 5
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Entourage Density: Active vs. Tranquil

The next two illustrations that I have generated for the Philly Bridge explore the procession across the bridge. The design incorporates different types of program and landscape depending on the path you choose and the activities users plan to partake in. Therefore, I wanted each image to show the range of experiences from very public, active spaces to quieter and more contemplative moments. Entourage became the driving force for both image narratives and was where a lot of my time was spent. At Design Distill, many of our clients spend much of their time tweaking the entourage we placed and honing in on the perfect balance and amount. It is often the case that we are adding more people to an illustration versus taking them out. A common theme I see in most architectural images is erring on the side of less people instead of more. Placing in entourage
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Philly Bridge: 2 for 1 Break Down

Below are some eye level perspectives that I created to get a sense of the pedestrian bridge design from the west side of the site. I had made some substantial changes to the form and wanted to study what the experience was like as you approach it both as a pedestrian and from the sunken highway.  It’s hard to get a sense of drama and emotion through the simple graphic interface of Sketchup. These perspective illustrations early on in the project help me to see if the scale, material, contextual relationships and many other nuances are succeeding or failing. Since I created two illustrations, I figured I would break them down side by side. While the break down itself is brief, I still think they do a good job of showing the critical point where I stopped adding detail in 3D and began adding detail in Photoshop. Every image seems
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