This week I’ve been working on finalizing site plans from the eleven Modern Residences at Cape Cod. Taking a plan from its drafted form in AutoCAD or a similar drafting program to its final form as a finished drawing requires many steps and a variety of programs. First, I exported linework from AutoCAD into Illustrator and set up layers for each feature type that consisted of outlines that needed to be colored in. The result of this step is similar to a page from a coloring book.
I then rendered each feature layer using Photoshop. Rendering is the process of coloring in the linework. Photoshop takes it a step further from the sort of coloring you might do by hand by allowing a user to create shadows for objects. In order to render everything consistently, I chose a time of day and placed the light source where the sun would be at that time. Specifically I positioned the light source in the northwest to mimic the light conditions of late afternoon.
Today, I went through the final step of using our digital elevation model (DEM file) to create the appearance of hillshade for the Modern Residences’ site plans. A DEM file is created using radar or lasers to measure relative heights of terrain. ArcGIS has tools that can analyze these files and interpret the surface of the terrain they depict. This is how I was able to approximate the topographic light conditions in the afternoon for each of the site plans. By following this process, which uses four different computer programs, I am able to clearly represent all of the conditions that we observed in the field during our site work back in June.
Until next week,