December 1, 2010 at 2:57 am #166703
I think you hit the nail on the head. All is well right up in pencil land right up until you are faced with several significant changes one right after the other. Then you will will be reaching for the digital aspirin bottle. The fact is more and more projects are becoming a collaborative effort. If your surveyor is submitting a digital copy of his work and the architect is submitting a digital copy of their work, you are gonna look silly submitting a hand rendered drawing. We are just beginning to see the dawn of collaboration in the digital realm it is known as BIM in the CAD world. Up to now anyone who has been involved in a project has submitted their own drawing of the same project illustrating their design responsibilities in the project. A lot of time and money is wasted on creating the same design with different design elements. I see technology beginning to address these issues now. In the future everything perhaps even residential will require LA’s to submit their designs digitally. Let’s take it one step further. In todays world whether you design on paper or computer you are still illustrating a single perspective. By that I mean when you look at the design. your plants are illustrating how the design looks in one season only. Unless you are a glutton for punishment and want to created multiple renderings of the same design. And yet a good designer always has to design for 4 seasons. No mater how good a designer you are we all tend to pack to much plant material in to small a space… who here has never made that mistake? What is wrong with utilizing the true power of the computer to solve these problems. What about creating a plant modeler based on the genetic code of the plant? Placing that plant in a digital model that also has the ability to display the model in any time frame. A designer could show a client what the design would look like the day it was installed and also what it would look like the next spring, summer, fall, and yes even winter. And if you want to see what the design would look like 5, 10, 20, or 40 years late.. You could see that too. A tool like this would help discover potential design problems that may not reveal themselves until years later when it is to late to change anything but the whole landscape. No we are not talking the Matrix here or the Holodecks on the Enterprise, the current hardware and software could actually create such a program. Up until now the computers we work with on a daily basis have been under horsepowered. That is quickly changing. Look back at the computers that we were using 20 years ago. Any questions? Where will that take us in another 20 years? It still comes back to the design. How we choose to communicate the design is separate issue. Knowing how to design is the most important issue. Effective communication of that design is important but irrelevant without the design. Many business are in transition because of technology. Just look at the US Mail. The Newspaper industry, the printing industry. Even the advertising agencies. Our clients go to work everyday and are surrounded with these tools. How are you perceived by the client when you are not using them to communicate your designs? Back in the day, everyone worked by FAX the Nursery industry is just now grudgingly moving from FAX to email. Even the government has begun to move a lot of the functions we a citizens hand to go visit city hall for on-line. These changes are all around us. Not to embrace the realities of technology will eventually lead you to the poor house.
s.December 1, 2010 at 3:24 am #166702
“Some people really enjoy making the perfect 3d tree. I might argue that those people are probably not landscape architects, that they are probably digital illustrators. If you want to spend days making a tree that’s fine. You should work for Pixar or some other digital imagery studio but I don’t know of any LA firms that are willing to pay people to do that kind of work. “
How is wanting to make the perfect 3D tree, and working on it in your spare time, and different than practicing drawing, or taking drawing classes, or going to Mike Lin drawing courses? Its all in an effort to provide the best product you can for a client, so you can most efficiently give them a way to experience the spaces you are looking to create.
Many firms use SketchUp as a tool to create basic 3D renderings for client presentations. If I can create a rendering that looks 3 times better for an extra 20% of rendering time, to me that’s worth it. And it is especially worth it if, by spending the time others use to practice drawing, I instead perfect 3D models that will be used multiple times, in multiple models, and make that same 20% extra time render results that are 5x better.
And I think some firms would see the value of spending an extra 20% over an in house SketchUp rendering, if it could lead to them winning a competitive bidding process.December 1, 2010 at 4:54 am #166701Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
From my perspective, if you’re spending your time perfecting a 3D tree, you are not “DESIGNING“. My concept of landscape architecture is based in understanding and designing spacial experiences. I don’t think there is anything on the LARE about 3D trees… if you’re geeking-out on 3D trees that’s cool but I don’t feel that it will enhance your knowledge of Land Arch Design.
If I ran a studio and I wanted to create a digital 3d model for an animation, I’d rather outsource the service or purchase a 3D digital entourage for somebody in production to plug into the model.December 1, 2010 at 5:06 am #166700
I would agree that more design ideas (doesn’t matter what discipline) started out on the back of a bar napkin than most people realize.
s.December 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm #166699Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
When it is all said and done, it is all about communication and efficiency. Bill Belicheck always talks about players who are smart enough to understand “situational football”. It is the same with this. “Situational Communication” and “Situational Efficiency” dictate what media makes sense.
The difficulty is understanding the “situation”. Who are yu playing with, who are you matching up against, what are the individual’s skill sets, how close are you to the salary cap, do you have the time to perfect it in practice before the game, …..
In my side business it is 24″x36″ black & white Autocad Lt presentation drawings at the end and #7 pentel pencil on 8.5″x11″ graph paper for site analysis. I’m a solo pilot, I can sell it, it is inexpensive, quick to produce, and I can start with a surveyor’s base plan. … that won’t cut it at all in a different situation, but trying to sell 3d color renderings and models in my market and make money doing it will lose to me almost every time.December 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm #166698
I would agree that every customer is different Andrew.
s.December 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm #166697Gordon W. PerkinsParticipant
Computers are another set of tools in the Landscape Architects tool kit. The importance of drawing will never fade. Computers, however, have helped the profession adapt slightly to include those grey areas that we never really considered the core of the profession, but have become mainstream for many professionals. For example, I am often involved in large scale industrial projects (which have become just as necessary in the landscape as recreation facilities). Without the help of computers our job would become incredibly cumbersome. We can look at several mitigation options and facility designs, in a photo real context with minimal effort. However, in the other sectors of our work, we recognize the importance of hand graphics and carefully decide at the onset of each project which illustration method is most appropriate. Having said that, when we decide hand illustrations are the best approach, we still use a 3D application to choose the view and set up the perspective. It takes minutes in 3D and speeds up the process for the illustrator. I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate) to stumble on this profession when computers we really just becoming mainstream. So I have also seen all of the hidden issues with using digital graphics. It takes a special breed of landscape architect to stand back and look at a project and critically decide the best communication method. The biggest issue with computers is that you are not introducing “one new tool”, you have to look at it as hundreds (if not thousands) of new tools, each with a specialized purpose. This often leads to professionals fumbling around in applications and creating workarounds to a very straight forward task. This is when the machine becomes a detriment to the firm. And, based on my experience it happens on a daily basis in many firms. Another big issue with computers is the cost. One seat of AutoCAD Civil 3D is $7,490. 3D Studio Max $3990. Two applications will cost a firm over $10,000 for one new employee. Now including all the other software, training, and hardware one new employee can reach $20,000-$25,000 just to put that set of tools on one desk. At that cost, the new employee better be a production master. And digital graphics better be a hugely beneficial tool to that firm or we are all headed in the wrong direction. Point being, each individual firm needs to carefully consider the role of computers in that firm otherwise, it can be a very expensive mistake to just assume you need to go in that direction.December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm #166696
Bill Belicheck also cheats by taping practices and stealing signals. Sorry, that has NO relevance, I just REALLY hate the Pats! ;-pDecember 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm #166695
No, I’m not designing, but I also wasn’t designing when I took Mike Lins Be Loose seminars. Or when I took drawing classes in my undergrad to get my hand graphic skills up. All I’m saying is that these are two sides of the same coin. Sure, hand graphics are faster for most, but one drawing gives you one drawing. With a 3D model, It takes me longer than it takes some, but I get a better result than I would get hand drawing a perspective, I have the ability to pull infinite views off the one model, and I can create walkthroughs.
Both skills have their pluses and minuses, and both have people who are good at them, and people that are not as good. I can concept sketchup and plan render by hand without a problem, but my perspective drawing skills are FAR worse than my 3D modeling skills, so I use the talents I have.
I am under no impression that improving my renderings is improving my design skills. But as I have been unable to find work designing in this economy as it is, I might as well try to do something affiliated, that might also help a firm see me as a valuable asset for multiple reasons, just like someone who decides to tweak how they draw perspectives, or plans, or even revamps their resume or portfolio. They don’t help the person design better, but they help them be a better all-around designer, as they can represent ideas better, create better page layouts, etc.December 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm #166694
I agree with this whole heartedly! I think with a pen or pencil in my hand! Computers are such a great help to us in our communication of ideas…but it all starts for me with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil…December 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm #166693
That is the problem with picking Autodesk products. They are thoroughbred products with thoroughbred prices. I personally steer as far away from those turkeys as possible. I have yet to understand why anyone in their right mind would use Civil3D. I think the tools available from Carlson software are much better.December 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm #166692Gordon W. PerkinsParticipant
But you get my point. The employee seat is becoming incredibly expensive and we should always question, “Is is all of this hardware and software worth it?” Sometimes the answer is yes, but we need to always be sure it is in capable hands with a strict policy governing the use of digital processes. I completely agree with your reasoning on software selection. If only we could convince the masses of the same thing! I ran a side business on less than 5K in software.December 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm #166691mark fosterParticipant
This reminds me of a local home builder/architect. When it comes to details, he skips the digital and the paper, and sketches on the installed drywall in his houses–what each room will look like, trim details, sections etc. It’s a perfectly elegant and precise solution: they never get lost and are easily accessible–at least until the painters arrive!
There is a right tool for the right time and the right task. You may learn production (ie digital) side of LA in college and spend some working years in that world, but there is another Terra Incognita in this profession known as relating to the client. Part of this involves having the problem-solving illustrative skills which are used in a face to face meeting. It would take some pretty fantastic technology to replace the elegance and speed of hand drawing a unique idea in these situations.
Technology can be counter-productive. Having worked with younger designers, I must say that I absolutely detest staring at someone’s forehead while they spend 5 minutes looking for something on their iphone to illustrate a point. It puts the one waiting in a totally passive mode. When I hand draw in front of a client, I am conversing and interacting with them. When someone is trying to find something on an LED screen, they are making others wait while they “look through some files”. A very different interaction.December 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm #166690
Yes I get you point. The problem with most software companies. Is they are so use to dealing with large Engineering firms that think nothing of dropping the kind of money you describ per seat that those companies become the “standard customer”. And so they charge everyone else as the “standard customer”. This was pricing a lot of people who needed these tools out of the market. Especially with Autodesk’s aggressive policy against software piracy. And that is why Microsoft stepped in and purchased Intellicad and turned around and made it free to any developer who wanted to use it (as long as they shared any code developed to enhance Intellicad). This is one of the reasons I believe Autodesk would like all of it’s AutoCAD users to switch to someother Autodesk product, Civil3D, Revit, etc. etc.
s.December 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm #166689Madis PihlakParticipant
We use all the tools in my design studio. Making CAD just a production tool means you are missing the ability to do Information modeling. Using the right program is important. Vectorworks. Vray for Sketchup and Maya are amazing tools
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