Mountain Lodge Ground Study

This will be a quick post, but I wanted to show another image that I have been working on. This illustration was put together to study the ground around the base of the tower. I wanted to iterate on some ideas I had for the landscape/hardscape relationship as well as what some of the details are for the back side of the bridge. Below is a really fast breakdown of the image. You will see that I layered in the fog on several steps. I didn’t set out to make this image a fog scene, but it ended up going in that direction as the image developed.    

1. Roughing Up the Base Rendering

  One of the first things that I did was rough up the Corten steel texture a little more in Photoshop. I spent a lot of time building a texture that would render out half
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Mountain Lodge Light and Shadow

As I continue to develop my Mountain Lodge Project, there are a couple of areas that I am using visualization to study the design a little more closely. One of the key moments is a bridge that connects the tower to the mountain side. I had envisioned this space to be an intimate and contemplative place. Picking the viewpoint was difficult because I am trying to narrate several ideas such as the procession from the clean and minimal architecture to the wild mountain side. The bridge landscape needed to strike a balance somewhere between the two to soften this transition. For an image like this, light ended up being the primary driver to manage hierarchy and eye movement. Below is a little breakdown of how I used light to place the focal point exactly where I wanted it to be.    

1. Model and Base Rendering

    Above,
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Mountain Lodge Intro

Below is a sneak peak of my next project that I will be illustrating over the next several months. As with all of my projects, I have tried to setup several scenarios that I am interested in visualizing. For this project, specifically, the overarching concept is of a taller structure rising out of the tree canopy. I have created a few tower structures within urban settings, but none in a predominately vegetated environment such as this. Another scenario that I want to explore is working with a heavily sloped ground plane, in this case, a mountain side. This brings with it options for camera angles and image compositions that I haven’t been able to explore with most of my other projects. I think this design will generate some exciting imagery and I can’t wait to dive more into the details. Also, if you have some thoughts on specific images that
Continue reading "Mountain Lodge Intro"

Mountain Lodge Intro

Below is a sneak peak of my next project that I will be illustrating over the next several months. As with all of my projects, I have tried to setup several scenarios that I am interested in visualizing. For this project, specifically, the overarching concept is of a taller structure rising out of the tree canopy. I have created a few tower structures within urban settings, but none in a predominately vegetated environment such as this. Another scenario that I want to explore is working with a heavily sloped ground plane, in this case, a mountain side. This brings with it options for camera angles and image compositions that I haven’t been able to explore with most of my other projects. I think this design will generate some exciting imagery and I can’t wait to dive more into the details. Also, if you have some thoughts on specific images that
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Desert House Spreads

The Desert House Project is nearing completion and I have begun looking at how I can piece together the different images into portfolio spreads. Setting up these spreads help me to clarify what images still need to be generated to fill in the narrative gaps. They also get me thinking about the branding strategy of the project and what tone the pages will take on. In the case of the Desert House Project, I drew inspiration from the Abstract Interior Renderings that I created in my last post. Those images used an aggressive color palette and could be interesting when applied to the entire project. The colors are weighted on the warmer side and are extremely saturated. Once I had the color palette, I began adjusting some of the past illustrations to take on the more vibrant colors. Below are some drafts of the spreads. I still need to obviously
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Desert Abstract Interior Studies

I decided to go abstract with this latest post. With this set of illustrations, I have been studying the interior spaces of the Desert House. I tend to prefer interiors with minimal color and material, so I generated these studies as a way to force me out of that way of thinking. Also, the exterior renderings were a little more serious and detailed, so I wanted to switch things up and have a little fun with these. One thing about minimal images is that inserting just a little texture can really change the reading of the illustration. In this case, just a hint of plaster texture on the walls gives the images a painterly quality. Below is a quick break down of one of the images.    

1. V-Ray Base Rendering

  For the V-Ray base rendering, I simply applied some colors close to what I was looking for
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Desert Night Tutorial: Part 2

Part 2 of this tutorial will break down the Photoshop side of this illustration.  In terms of Photoshop complexity, this image is relatively simple and minimal in layers. However, I think it is a good example of how a compelling image can be generated with just a few basic moves. This part of the tutorial is quite long and fully breaks down every aspect of the Photoshop file. It is probably one of the most detailed tutorials that I have ever written in terms of covering the entire process. My hope is that it will give a more complete picture of my entire workflow from start to finish and better show where I choose to emphasize color and texture compared to where I try to tone things down. In case you missed it, Part 1, which discusses modeling and V-Ray settings can be found here.  

1. Setting Up
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Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1

I have had a ton of people asking me to create a more thorough breakdown of one of my images and it seems the desert house dusk shot would be a good candidate. I like this image because not a ton of Photoshop is needed for the illustration, but the little Photoshop that was needed had to be spot on. The process for this illustration is not complicated and I am going to try to break this image down into the most simplified way I can. Some quick notes: I am using a slightly older version of Sketchup (2015) and V-Ray 2 for this tutorial. The settings I am describing are somewhat universal and translate similarly in newer and older versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray. For example, we are using the latest versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray (3) in our office at Design Distill and these settings remain
Continue reading "Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1"

Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1

I have had a ton of people asking me to create a more thorough breakdown of one of my images and it seems the desert house dusk shot would be a good candidate. I like this image because not a ton of Photoshop is needed for the illustration, but the little Photoshop that was needed had to be spot on. The process for this illustration is not complicated and I am going to try to break this image down into the most simplified way I can. Some quick notes: I am using a slightly older version of Sketchup (2015) and V-Ray 2 for this tutorial. The settings I am describing are somewhat universal and translate similarly in newer and older versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray. For example, we are using the latest versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray (3) in our office at Design Distill and these settings remain
Continue reading "Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1"

Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1

I have had a ton of people asking me to create a more thorough breakdown of one of my images and it seems the desert house dusk shot would be a good candidate. I like this image because not a ton of Photoshop is needed for the illustration, but the little Photoshop that was needed had to be spot on. The process for this illustration is not complicated and I am going to try to break this image down into the most simplified way I can. Some quick notes: I am using a slightly older version of Sketchup (2015) and V-Ray 2 for this tutorial. The settings I am describing are somewhat universal and translate similarly in newer and older versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray. For example, we are using the latest versions of both Sketchup and V-Ray (3) in our office at Design Distill and these settings remain
Continue reading "Desert Night Tutorial: Part 1"

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 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

Continue reading “Desert House Vignettes”

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
Continue reading "Desert Site Plan"

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
Continue reading "Desert Site Plan"

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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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
Continue reading "Winter Special #6"

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.    

1.
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