August 6, 2009 at 8:09 am #173486
With the advent of 3D software and CS4 why cant we just stay and do what we are good at instead of adding more and more responsability to our skills base……….will we become film-makers and sound engineers, design buildings and bridges next……………where does it all end?August 6, 2009 at 2:21 pm #173503Gideon SpanjarParticipant
I agree with your statement. Although I believe it is good to keep in contact with other art forms I’m afraid if the business keeps demanding more and more and better graphic skills it will distract us from our real job. You already see a lot of companies specialized in graphics especially in Japan and China and hopefully that gives us a swing in the right position.August 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm #173502Brian HochsteinParticipant
Graphic design, 3D and other responsibilities are a niche, a specialization. First and foremost we are landscape architects. Almost everyone gravitates toward specializations from that point.
It sounds like you have been pulled into a lot of graphic work/3d modeling. It also sounds like you don’t like it. I don’t know your exact situation but as a part of a design team I can honestly say I have never felt that my architectural/engineering counterparts thought of my work solely as pretty pictures that I colored up or as an animator even though done my fair share of it.
Landscape Architects always have to explain what we do. It is the nature of an undefined profession. I have seen many definitions of what we are, and some come close, but we have such a wide breadth of services we provide it is hard to define without some specialization.August 6, 2009 at 4:06 pm #173501
I dont mind doing the graphic stuff but you get pulled so much in that direction the business of landscape design gets taken out of context………like moving from the creative stroke to the business of quantifying raw materials in a Bill of Quantities or a Clerk of Works role, I think thats expected and part of what you are trained for….because the graphics role is huge and of course a profession in its own right and it leads to all forms of art and design, advertising and the leaving poster…………Well you know sometimes you just got to know your limits.August 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm #173500
I think you are right Amy the problem is at Principal level because they came from the era of the hand-drawn plan on parchment and they were never any good at it and became management!!…………..very good we nailed that one well and truly!!August 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm #173499
I agree with Lee, this sound like a personal gripe, I have had many co-workers, and friends from university who complained about what they did at a firm. I have had friends who’s only job was to organize details then modify existing details then organize those new details, I have had friends who got bored of field services work, when I first started out of college I had to type memos for the senior project manager, not a glamorous job, but it was highly educational and eye-opening to see the daily grind of a landscape architectural office. I started my own business specifically to focus on Landscape Architectural graphics for a number of firms who did not want to employ a “graphics-only” person. Many firms are trying to get Landscape designers in shop and outsource modeling and graphics elements of the business because it is still a very important part of the design process. Finally you as a designer need to find what you enjoy and find a firm, or as mentioned start you own firm, to allow you to do the work you enjoy. Doing what you love makes it easier to love what you are doing.August 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm #173498Ben YahrParticipant
Graphics are an essential part of our skill set, quite possibly the most important. Graphics are communication.
Most stakeholders do not or cannot think in planview the way that landscape architects and other designers can. It doesn’t matter how good a design is or how completely it reacts to the environmental conditions of a site if the designer cannot communicate their thoughts to the stakeholders.
3d software is just another communication tool like trace paper and markers. Furthermore, the 3d modeling that goes into producing graphics requires the landscape architect to think about spatial and construction issues in far more detail than “traditional” 2d drawings do. This is precisely why it can be risky to utilize a graphic specialist rather than possessing the knowledge to produce a design image in house. Sure they can make a nice picture, but many of the details and reality will get lost along the way.
Finally, I agree that it is possible to stretch our skill-set too thin, and burnout is a possibility if you get stuck doing any one specific task. But if you are uncomfortable with new technology, you had best possess some mean traditional graphic skills, because construction drawings don’t inspire stakeholders.August 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm #173497
Construction docs may not inspire stakeholders (aka clients) but they do inspire LA principles who know that the money is in the details, namely CD’s. Find a way to put out good CD’s in less time or with greater accuracy and you will have a job for a long time.August 6, 2009 at 7:22 pm #173496Ben YahrParticipant
Precisely, you can’t do CD’s without landing the job.
Another thought; I can’t speak to larger firms, but being involved with graphics has allowed me to have a very significant role in the conceptual design phase of numerous projects that would have traditionally been designed by the principals.August 6, 2009 at 7:26 pm #173495
Well I took my vacation already Lee but it all depends on how you have your business stacked anyway I started out in that era of hand drawn plans and made the jump to CAD because Design is what I am all about while ‘my principals’ friends over the years alike chose to take the management route as they were not passionate about carrying on as a designer anymore (now why would they do that) so been there and you speak as you find. My first love is Art and Design of which I am qualified also but I tell you what and in relation to the ‘if a client wants to pay me to make films, become a sound engineer, etc., I am not going to turn down the work ‘ they should pay up and go to a professional film and sound person in fact you should go there too because in the end you set up your own thing because you dont like working for others either by the sounds of it.
In the end it all depends where and who you work for, I have been in the private and public sectors of the market and you know CS4 for example is a great thing but that is a whole new ball game and you are coming at the market from that viewpoint as your specialism so you dont agree and that is your perogative and that may be where you get your work but it doesnt alter the fact that if you are spread thinly across the landscape office because you have no support from anybody anymore with serious deadlines looming on site you can do without 3D modelling and taking your degree in graphic / multimedia communication.
Sounds like we are all coming in here from different directions and specialisms and I totally agree that the graphics/visuals being important of course they are but you know everything in moderation should be where we are coming from and I just dont see 3D modellers/visualisers doing the full range of landscape services and office protocol on a daily basis.August 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm #173494
I guess I have only responded to the statements of others rather than making an attempt at answering your question, so here it goes… the firs question is who is using you as a graphic designer/visualizer (GDV)? if you are being only used as a GDV by your client and then they are passing the construction documents on to a different LA firm, then yes you are being used. Are other members of the design team (architects, engineers, urban planners) doing the diagrammatic planting plans, planting selection, pathway design, and amenities layout, then passing on the preliminary design to be colored and modeled by your firm, if they are then you are being used as a GDV. if you answered yes to these scenarios then yes you are being used and are not really doing Landscape Architecture, you are correct to say that you are being used as a Graphic Designer/Vizualizer. A landscape design consists of many components and graphics are a huge part of design, and new cutting edge graphics and modeling have became a more integral part of the LA office. Younger designers coming out of university are often asked to do a large portion of these tasks because older project managers have not learned the software or skills to do these types of tasks and do not have the time to learn them. If your firm has pigeon holed you into graphics design, modeling, or visualization do not think that the entire industry is collapsing in upon itself to only produce graphics or models, there are plenty of other skills to learn and apply in the world of Landscape ArchitectureAugust 6, 2009 at 7:38 pm #173493
You are spot on with that spatial awareness Ben and I always thought and imagined things like that before 3D although woke up to a few nightmares also but possesed the mean traditional graphic skills to bail me out……I am into large scale Sculpture now going back to my Fine Art roots and that is so inspiring when you have to make your artwork part of the landscape environment you designed………….a risky business but sometimes those stakeholders just have to ride with it a bit and that is when the best work is achieved.August 6, 2009 at 7:46 pm #173492Daniel MillerParticipant
Yes and No.
First and foremost, we’re landscape architects.
Secondly, whether it’s 1909 or 2009, graphics are an essential method of conveying ideas, so that the ideas you so thoughtfully created as a landscape architect can by demonstrated to clients and the public who may not have the experience reading a black and white technical drawing.
Third, there’s much more to the profession than just creating designs. There’s the whole business side, there’s marketing, there’s graphics, there’s techincal, legal…etc…and you need to be submersed in all/most of these to be a well-rounded, succesful LA.
I agree that it’s very easy to get pigeon holed into doing nothing but graphics within an office, especially being a younger professional in this down trodden economy. There’s little jobs, little money and little room for advancement. I came out of school 3 years ago and have become the “graphics master” in my office. Everything digital runs through me…do I get a cool title and a hefty pay raise? No…but it’s a skill. A good enough skill that I told myemployer I quit because I found a job in a different firm, for nearly 1.5x my salary. Do I want to do it forever…hell no, but if it’s something that people need, and I can offer it…well, heck we’re just going back to basic economics now.August 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm #173491
Well last one of the night for me 21.00hrs in UK…..you sound like you got it all well under control there Bob and a lot of jargon I am not used to but I think there is a definitive split developed where you work in relation to which era you come from, yes graduates are pretty fast and slick at the visuals and that is great if you can source them but they are usually from other disciplines here (interior design/architects even) and just would not have time to provide full landscape service as part of their working week as the older (mature) members of staff may be doing………One of my ‘principals’ many years ago said to the LA team once ‘I see you people as all self employed individuals working within this company and you are responsible for providing the full service, including administration duties’ or words to that effect, I definately feel that a new wave of self employed individual companies will rise as a consequence of the recession here and in fact seem to be doing that already, I mean why would you stay working for a company that sees you as self-employed within the context of a company, makes sense in taking out the management level and the overheads there mind and if you are all doing your own procurement why not (the cream grows ever thinner on top of the milk) I heard it described as from bankers recently, but lets not get into that!!August 6, 2009 at 11:39 pm #173490Ryan A. WaggonerParticipant
I totally agree with your perspective Ben. If you don’t have the LA working on the graphics or modeling tools, you may be producing graphics that don’t match your design. I think that it is very important to own many tool sets as an LA, especially in today’s environment.
I personally really enjoy the graphics (both hand and digital). As a visual person, as most LA’s I’ve met are, it is what originally caught my interest with LA. But if there is no depth behind the graphics than it’s true that it is basically graphic design.
But beyond graphics, construction docs and other technical productions can be very interesting and educational. I think any person can specialize and find their niche in our profession, which makes it that much more diverse and invigorating.
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