In my time at Art Center College of Design (1987-1990) I learned the traditional techniques of Transportation and Industrial design: Ideation Sketching, Rendering (in Vellum/marker/mixed media, Guache painting, Etc.), Full-Size Tape Drawing and other disciplines. At this time, 3D digital design was beginning its rise to prominence, and at CALTY (Toyota/Lexus) I trained on the early Evans & Sutherland CDRS, Alias, CATIA, Shima Seiki 2D paintbox, and other systems.
Through the 1990’s, I worked to develop my efficiency and effectiveness in producing concepts that could be presented to management and clients, many who were not designers or familiar with design-specific processes and presentation techniques. To this end, I now work mainly in simple pen sketches to discover the initial ‘spark’ of an idea, to experiment with proportion and find a concept that carries enough visual effect for me to pursue. Then, I go directly into the three-dimensional realm through the Alias system, where I develop the nascent sketch idea into the form and proportion continuation of that ‘spark’. Photo-real renderings are created directly from this 3D digital model in KeyShot or other rendering programs, and this helps my client audience to visualize the product we are developing quite well. I can also cut 1/5 scale (or other scale, for larger projects) models from this data quickly, for those whom the digital presentation does not present enough spatial information. Finally, I pull dimensions from the digital model and create the actual product, going into prototype production with a vast amount of confirmation.
Here is a small project that shows you how this process works for me. Of course these are very direct and basic examples; at any point in the process I may work further to develop the concepts, and I can do any level of color sketching, part/view sketching, material selection rendering, or modeling to explore as needed.
TYPE 4 DISPLAY TABLE
Here is an example of the key sketch in simple pen technique which generated the initial spark of an idea for an elegant small display table. It simply contains enough information to cement the idea in my mind, to point out the most critical aspects of line and proportion that I find appealing. These sketches are usually done on the Rocketbook, a traditional ‘pad of paper’ which can send the sketches directly to digital devices.
Here you see the 3D digital model built in Autodesk Alias, direct from the simple sketches shown above. This model captures the essence of proportion and line that I liked from the initial sketch, and allows me to quickly experiment with all forms that comprise the concept.
Rendering in KeyShot allows me to explore material choices with great accuracy, and generate wonderful imagery for presentation as needed.
For prototype producution of this table, I then pulled dimensions from the 3D digital model and fabricated them in full size. I could just as easily have sent this data off to be cut, milled, or 3D printed in almost any material, but in this case I wished to present the table as a hand-made final product.