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"