Basswood Experiments

We are always on the lookout for the most effective and beautiful ways of presenting our designs. On the one hand, we love the detail and richness of materials that contemporary computer generating renderings can provide, but on the other hand, we sometimes yearn for the reductionistic simplicity of a good-old-fashioned basswood model. 

So, we've been exploring a rendering technique that simply maps a basswood texture to all of the surfaces of the digital model, and manipulates subtle cues (like the texture's scale and the camera's depth-of-field) to mimic a photograph of a real-world scale model.

Our first attempt at the basswood rendering technique, for the Confluence project. A basswood texture at a very large scale is set as the global material override, giving the model a small appearance with minimal editing to the model itself. We think it turned out pretty well, but we wanted to push the process further with better scale-model trees and more attention to materiality.

We think that, like a traditional basswood model, these images allow us to minimize the number of visual variables, so that the image can focus on massing and the way a project fits into its context. This focus makes this type of image powerful both as a presentation tool and as a working drawing that allows us to study these issues more carefully. 

A more recent experiment, with a more time-consuming treatment of materials and more realistic trees. We appreciate, however, that this allows us to differentiate the project from the context. Both images were processed in photoshop to control depth of field; here, lines from the model were also added to enhance some details.

As a workshop, we would, of course, prefer to build real-world, physical models, but we're excited about this technique as a time-effective alternative. 

As always, if you have questions about how we produced these images, or if you're interested in doing something similar (or, even better, a real model!), please feel free to get in touch with us!