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A Designer’s Dilemma – It Looks Good On Paper and the Computer, But Not In Real Life – Too Late Now

A Designer’s Dilemma – It Looks Good On Paper and the Computer, But Not In Real Life – Too Late Now

Well, I just ordered a new drafting table, this one with the latest giant tablet table top, along with a rather high-powered computer resting in the cradle underneath. Expensive piece of business furniture you say, surely, but life has changed and with it the designer’s office and furnishings I suppose. Today, if you cannot show your project concept rendering in a 3-D model, actual or in one’s and zero’s, then fat chance getting anyone to give a hoot about it, regardless of its brilliance or creative genius original thinking. Okay so, let’s talk about the designer’s dilemma for a moment.

Why is it that my prototype designs whether they be robotic unmanned underwater vehicles, micro-air vehicles, or new component innovation always look so different in the real world than they do while on my drafting board, or within a CADCAM 3-D rendering? Well there are lots of reasons really, but more importantly, what can we do about this in the future? Yes, a very decent question indeed. And perhaps we might like to consider this perplexing and known problem.

There is an excellent paper you might like to read one which takes an architectural slant to this topic; “Architectural Design Through Computational Media,” by Mark John Sich, submitted on May 9, 1997. In his abstract he asks some dubious questions, one every designer, engineer, architect, or concept thinker ought to consider as they create their CADCAM 3-D computer renderings or even an actual scaled model of their innovation, whatever it might be. Mark asks;

1. How can an architect’s sensibility to physicality be integrated into computationally based modeling and representation?
2. What are the inherent difference between actual physical models and computational models?
3. What is lost and what is gained, and can they be reconciled with each other?

The researcher suggests and proposes the creation of an immersive tool which will allow for a phenomenological creation of a virtual model.

Okay so, he wrote about this back in 1997 and it was obviously a problem prior to that, but even more so today, as people expect the finished product to be exactly how they envisioned it or saw it on the computer, DVD video presentation, or on the old flat 2-D artist’s rendering, patent filing picture, or even a website right? I mean we see it, we want it, but then when we have it in our hot little hands (personal tech device) or walk through it (architectural creation) out here in the real world, well, it’s just nothing like we expected.

Sure, we have problems with unrealistic photo-shopping and other modeling strategies with unrealistic landscaping with fully grown out shrubbery, but it’s more than that really, we all know it is, at least if you are a designer, like me, you sure as hell do. So, what’s the next step? Well, we are approaching the next 3-D holographic reality, and we have 3-D printers that can make architectural models in 24 hours instead of weeks of staff time. But playing god at a 3-D 1:100 scale model, or HO sized model just isn’t the same as walking through the damn thing, on the walk ways, and through the halls that is.

Imagine being at a City Planning Commission meeting, turning on the holographic presentation and allowing each guest to walk-through the building, or get close up and personal to the component or device. Yep, that’s what’s needed, and maybe this is why Google Earth has moved inside, mapping out the interior of public buildings with their “street view” strategies. I’d like you to think on this for a few moments and then perhaps we should take this conversation to a much higher level, you may email me.