Posts Tagged With: CAD

Skills and Digital Design: Auto CAD


Above image is a screen shot jpeg of my computer screen.

The second practical session this week was Auto CAD. It provides a quick way to produce technical drawings for scenic design, but can also be used for architecture, product design and a number of practical applications. It’s a particularly important design tool for film and TV design as the role of the Production Designer involves a fair amount of technical drawing that has to be produced to a high standard for the construction team. The drawings have to be clear and to the appropriate scale, which is usually 1:50 for film and TV design.

I had a go at drawing some simple shapes, cross-hatching, adding a few measurements and then exporting the document as a jpeg just to get a feel for the basics. In my next session I plan to do a basic room layout with measurements and to have a go at importing an existing plan of a sound stage that I can add to.

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Carcass: After thoughts

The  purpose of the Carcass project was to give us a starting point, to put our current skills and knowledge to the test and to highlight what skills needed to be developed for the main project. For me it served as a practice run to get me back up to speed in working to deadlines and also to fill in any gaps in regards to how the industry might have changed technology wise. When I started out on my theatre design degree just over 15 years ago, the design approaches were different. We’d only just had the internet. Computer graphics were considerably more basic so we were taught more traditional design techniques ranging from white card models through to wood work skills. So it was a more hands on, practical course.

Computer applications have improved the process in the way of speed and professional presentation, particularly when it comes to designers who have limited drawing skills. It allows a way to present ideas quickly.

A few things that I’ve learnt:-

My old-school skills are still relevant. As a practical designer I tried to see the project as if it was a real situation. I tried to think through the ways a set could allow camera access, how the set could be broken up for the logistics of building and striking, possible lighting opportunities and considered the fact that this was to be a fairly low-budget build. My current skills allow me to visualise scenes with perspective and to adapt drawing to different situation like storyboards, props, etc.

However, there are problems that come with this approach. The main one is time. Applications allow for designs to be rendered quickly so more ideas can be explored, which would be beneficial in the future. They also look amazing when presented on Powerpoint. I’m quite keen to look at as many applications as possible. CAD and sketch up can be used at home. Vector is installed at university along with other programs. I might be able to install Maya and 3D Max at home too if I can get the right version for the Mac. I can also look to improving my Photoshop skills. These applications will give me opportunities to work with set, props, technical drawing and concepts. The plan now is to use these along with my other skills in the next phase of my project which is more practical in regards to production design.

Box concept space 3

The universe concept (work in progress). Photoshop drawing that was adapted. This image uses drawing and photography combined.

Another aspect to consider is that of time management. In my attempt to find interesting visuals and contexts for the sketchbook I started the concepts too late. This in turn limited my final output and didn’t allow enough time to explore CAD. I need to have a strict guide line for the final project/projects in general that gives me a cut off point for visual research, sourcing, sketchbook etc. to then allow enough time for idea exploration, computer skills experimentation and concept realisation. I think once I have some more experience of computer applications this will be less of a problem. At the same time, I don’t want to neglect the mind-map/scrapbook approach as it gave me some interesting design ideas, colours, shapes etc.

My conclusions are that the best approach may well involve a delicate balancing act of both computer and traditional skills. The next phase of the MA will allow me to test this in preparation for the final project/EXPO over the next few months.

machine concept 2 colour

Machine concept with drawn/painted imagery and computer colour/lighting adaption.

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