Drawing is not my favorite activity. But
in custom furniture making, presentation is critical.
Luckily, over my drawings,
they plug in the information and generate a three-view drawing
and then an isometric view. As the piece comes to life on
the screen,I end up with impressive drawings that are easily understood
by potential clients.
The whole process takes about three hours of computer time.
Recently, events led me to push the process one step further.
I wanted to enter the California Design '97 show, which required
the submission of a photograph. Unfortunately, the lamp that
I wanted to submit was not yet made—and there was only one
week until the competition deadline! I called the CAD technician
at Inertia Studios in San Francisco, where I have my computer
renderings done. He said that we could scan the actual materials
for the lamp into the computer to create "virtual furniture."
This rendering could then be made into a photographic slide by a
The first step was to construct CAD three-view and isometric renderings
of the lamp from my preliminary sketches (see
We then scanned in samples of the ebony for the lamp's posts and
rails, copper banding for the hoops, and the paper for the shade,
hand-made by my sister, Leslie Fay.
The scanned materials became the palette to fill in the isometric image.
The next step was to use
to put the lamp's image in
a room-like setting. We decided to place the lamp on a textured marble
surface, with a white wall behind it. Then, the computer was able
to simulate a light source inside the lamp to visualize the light
and shadows cast on its surroundings (see the
This process took an additional four hours.
The resulting image was remarkably realistic--convincing enough
to persuade the jury of the show to accept the piece before it
had been built. I just hope the
delivers on the promise that the computer made.