To Trace or Ray Trace-Are we helped or handcuffed by technology?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION To Trace or Ray Trace-Are we helped or handcuffed by technology?

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    Thomas J. Johnson

    Professors don’t tell you how to do every little thing because there is power in figuring it out for yourselves. You will naturally gravitate to the tools and processes that are right for you. Discussing programs and process with your classmates is excellent, you will create bonds that last a lifetime and learn tricks more quickly if you share them which brings everyone up and in turn raises the level of your schools program. This information and culture gets passed down through the classes. The freshmen are only as good as the seniors who inspire them. Work hard, share, explore, go crazy and have fun doing it…


    I disagree that your professors need to give you a style or technique. They should teach you design, how to think and process. How you get there is up to you. You need to seek out “idols” who you aspire to emulate. Find cool designs, sketches, plans, perspectives. Analyze them. Figure out their process and adapt it. In design, as with all things in life, you need to know the rules before you can bend them…


    It all starts with drawing. I read George Boone’s comment on Tom Balsley having people draw a straight line before he will hire them. I picked up my pen, and drew a straight line with a little dot-dash action for good measure…. then I drew another one below it and connected the two with a couple sinuous curves. It was fun. It took 15 seconds, max. I didn’t have to turn on my computer, open autocad, open a file, select the proper layer or line weight. I put pen to paper and drew it.


    You can work through ideas so much faster with a pen than you can with a computer and I say that as an advanced user of AutoCAD. I’ve got all of the commands programed into my left hand… try this as an experiment. Lets say you’re designing a pergola. Draw 3-5 different lintel profiles (the finished end of the main beams) by hand. Quickly. You are working through ideas here, not going for to-scale perfection. Now draw the same number of profiles in AutoCAD. Feel the difference? Repeat this experiment for stair treads, walls, paving, ect. ect. The benefits of drawing should become clear…   

    Steve Mercer

    Hi Brian


    I agree you have to be able to communicate with the client in the early stages of a design.  I am only suggesting that the electronic tools have their place (try dealing with several major changes to a design)  By using CAD and tools like these you can still deliver that hand drawn look and captialize on the effiencies of CAD.  The reality is the tools exist.  It reminds me of when I use to sell computers back in the day of Desktop Publishing.  There were big corporations shelling out 10,000. plus per seat on Mac desktop publishing stations for secretaries.  That went on for a while until they came to the conclusion that just because you own the tools doth not a graphic artist make you.





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