Rendering Plans in DataCAD
by Evan H. Shu, FAIA
The floor plan is arguably the single most useful method of architectural documentation. It gives an overview of the project and hints at how the project was conceived and organized. Yet some drafting conventions can be mysterious to nonprofessionals. So it is little wonder that a favorite presentation tool is the rendered plan.
In the days before CAD, rendering a plan might mean using colored pens to shade the walls on the print of a drafted floor plan and manually drawing in entourage items like furniture, trees, people, and cars. Shading could be added to give a 3D effect and, of course, the finishing touch was press-on lettering to give hand-rendered plans a polished appearance.
Over the last couple of decades of evolution in the use of CAD tools, architects have tried to manipulate software to mimic the qualities of hand-rendered plan presentations. A good many tricks and workarounds have been developed to simulate techniques that CAD alone could not produce.
The good news is that with progressive CAD improvements, we can now readily produce the rendered plan as a standard part of CAD documents. Tools included with DataCAD 10 and 11 provide a good example of these capabilities.
Poché and Entourage
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This article was excerpted from the February 2003 issue of Cheap Tricks © Shu Associates Inc. with permission of the publisher.