Throughout the course of the digital visualization sequence of classes I have learned exponentially more about 3D modeling, Parametric design, modes of presentation, and the over all process one takes to begin to design effectively for a variety of functions and situational demands. That being said I was pretty ignorant to many of these prior mentioned abilities and believe we have barely scratched the surface of where such skills can take us. This set of classes has set us up to expand the skills we’ve achieved through various assignments to mold us into better designers that are more aware of the needs to which we design for and more competent in our ability to do so.


Coming into the first Digital Visualization class I honestly did not know what to expect. My background consisted of largely hands on based art mediums and I had minimum to any experience with computer modeling or even photoshop. As the class progressed my eyes were opened to methods I previously would never had considered myself capable of doing. The introduction to rhino was both mind blowing and pivotal in helping me make it through the first semester. Only in the Digital Visualization class did we cover how to expressively utilize the program rather than leaving the class to their own devices. Additionally the introduction to grasshopper was both intimedating and inspirational. I would say that the projects from that first semester, within a smaller class size, were some of the most informative and helpful projects to date. The possibilities grasshopper potentially offers as a design tool are numerous as are the ways it can increase ones workflow. I have found that Rhino has become one of my most useful tools in working through an idea on my own or presenting it to a panel. The use of V-Ray within Rhino has also been very helpful in moving towards a rendering style. While I would like to know how to render realistically I would also like to begin facilitating a style all my own that incorporates all the skills we’ve learned thus far.


In terms of 3D modeling the Digital visualization II class expanded our tool box with the introduction to maya. Maya like Rhino allows the user to freely manipulate digital objects with a variety of tools and techniques. At this point in the semester I had begun to feel relatively comfortable with rhino and used it as a primary tool for visualizing ideas for other classes. The implementation of Maya expanded this tools set. Maya allowed for greater control with manipulating meshes and was more forgiving in the building of organic forms. The main tools I picked up during this time were the blend shape tool, which allows for two objects with identical polygon counts to be blended into a new hybrid shape, and the animation snapshot, which creates a series of objects based on a set number of frames and tracking of the source object through an animation. Since then I’ve become more adept at building from the ground up much like I do in Rhino. In exercise four I learned the technique of baking colors and textures to mesh surfaces. This can become beneficial in designing skins for the exterior of buildings using the colors as perhaps areas of daylight vs shade. I also think this could be utilized in interiors where electric lighting is necessary. Using the baked light technique to simulate how the electrical lighting will effect a space and design appropriately to that condition would be a valuable skill.


The final exercise in Digital Visualization III class dealt with the idea of virtual reality and its potential to share and present ideas. As an idea I think that this can go many places and be a very powerful tool in allowing clients to experience you structure before it is ever built. This approach could also be arranged much like todays modern video games. With a program like Unity a designer could create an entire environment that would allow individuals to move through it in real time. In the case of our exercise we used three different programs to display the concept for the skyscraper competition. The first program was Adobe Showcase with enables you to move around your 3D model in a preset environment. While the idea behind using this program is great I found it difficult to achieve my desired product. One issue may have been that my concept had an excess of overlapping geometries in the form of super extruded frameworks. Another issue had to do with the scale of the structure compared with the environments the program had automatically built in. I found that none of the environments really worked with the structure in terms of scale or atmosphere, this no doubt is limitation that could be overcome with other programs to provide a more suitable environment. My final issue with showcase was the interface itself. It seemed that creating a sinuous animation around the structure should have been more intuitive and the movement options seemed limited, while it wasn’t too difficult to set up I still ended up with a glitchy video. The other two programs, augment and P3d, I found to be more useful but not necessarily without problems. The augment program could be an incredible tool for presentations and could make the need for a physical model obsolete, that is however if you can get your model to successfully render in the program. The biggest problem with using this program is that I think you need to build your model a very specific way initially in order make the best rendering in augment. The 3D model file was far to big to put into the program and after I cut most of it out the render still only displayed half of the meshes. I think this tool could be great with a more developed program that can handle complex geometries. The issues with the P3d program were very similar to the issues with augment, file size and complexity. I do think P3d is a interesting tool for its ability to display a 3D model withing a website or blog-feed without the viewer needing the source program to view said model. Assuming these issue get work out, possibly with more developed versions of these programs, I think that virtual reality in the realm of architecture is increasingly more important. Many clients may not have the imagination to fully understand or visualize and idea with renderings alone, meaning that the need for presentation techniques such as these will become truly invaluable.



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