Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jim Leggitt

Design Visualization- Merging hand drawing with digital tools

Primary visualist of studioINSITE in Denver, Jim Leggitt is an urban planner, architect, illustrator, and author in touch with both classical and digital drawing methods. In his presentation to CSU students, Jim highlighted clever tips and tricks for representing designed landscapes to clients.

Computers, on their own, cannot replicate the beauty of hand drawing, which is why Jim recommends that students combine SketchUp modeling framework with hand-drawing techniques. People best relate to images which are realistically represented but have the characteristic look of hand drawing. Using layers of trace paper along with photographs and printed SketchUp perspectives helps to build these accurate and authentic illustrations.

The illustration process that Jim follows is roughly like this: using photographs or printed Google Earth images, he traces the footings of the buildings, imports the image into SketchUp, builds up the height and basic structure of each building digitally, pans around the SketchUp model to find the best perspectives, prints those perspectives, hand sketches on trace over the SketchUp perspective with a hard pencil (ink is too strong), colors first with markers then colored pencils, then scans the drawn and colored image back into the computer for Photoshop editing.

Simple, right? Although the process may seem grueling, it can be buffered down to any personalized combination of back-and-forth hand drawing and digital drawing. SketchUp can be learned individually through online video tutorials and webinars. This website offers advice and webinars on getting started with SketchUp.

Additional tips and tricks given by Jim were to add a gray filter and erase lights to create night scenes, using trace paper over photographs to "ghost" the background image, placing images of people and cars in SketchUp then tracing over them by hand rather than inventing people or cars, inserting landscape images into the background of SketchUp scenes, and always trying to limit the size of hand drawings for speed.

Jim left students with this statement:
"magic happens when you combine hand drawing, cool digital tools, and a big dose of creative experimentation"

Monday, September 28, 2015

David Troast

David Troast, City Manager of Hackensack, New Jersey, spoke with students last week as part of SCASLA's Fall into Landscape Architecture series. David is a graduate of Colorado State University's Landscape Architecture program and was eager to share the details of his work experience with current students.

New to the job market, married, and struggling to establish a career, David found himself in between jobs after serving as a small town manager and studying planning under Johnathan Barnett, current University of Pennsylvania professor, in New York City. While laid off, David opted to further his education by completing a masters degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University in New Jersey. From there, he was hired as the City Manager of Hackensack.

As City Manager, Mr. Troast is responsible for preparing the annual budget, engaging with city council members, recommending municipal improvement proposals and locations, and implementing public policy. His ultimate goal is to assure proper financing and push projects through levels of city government. This involves contacting, organizing, and overseeing everyone involved with a given project-- city planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and attorneys.

David made a point to emphasize the role of landscape architects in city planning. Planners must consider which attributes are woven into successful downtown districts, like high population density, mixed-use retail, entertainment, culture, plazas, parks, public transit, adequate parking, etc. The aforementioned threads are what define the character of a lively downtown. Within his slides, David mentioned a quote from Jane Jacobs' book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, stating that "you can't rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there". Simply stated, people must be able to live and thrive downtown, not commute for special occasions.

Currently, David and his colleagues are working to revitalize Main St. in Hackensack. Their goal is to create a vibrant downtown through construction of high-rise residential buildings, vertically-stacked parking, and urban green space in place of inactive hardscapes.

David left students with a quote of his own, saying "the best planners are, first, landscape architects".

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

Jason Himick

Jason Himick of Boulder-based landscape architecture firm Confluent Design will be joining students and staff for a lecture this Wednesday, February 11th.

Jason's work focuses on outdoor recreation, bringing "a design perspective for open space and parks not commonly found among designers", as quoted from http://www.confluentdesign.net/ where you can go to find more information about his work.

Please join us this Wednesday at 12pm in room B101 of the Natural and Environmental Sciences Building.