Image to emulate
The above image is the diagram we are going to recreate but with a more skewed view, below is the view we are going to develop in the same style
The process is broken down into a few steps that include setting up the view for all image layer extractions and setting up the view in a way that will make creating the drawings as simple as possible.
There may be drawings that need to be extracted that you want to optimize for post processing in the following steps I will show you how to set up and create the diagram above with Rhino, VRay, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
One of the most important aspects of creating a good diagrams is making sure that you have a view saved, having a view saved can help you in many ways such as; being able to create multiple iterations of different geometry from the same spot, creating cohesiveness between drawings will set your graphics apart from others, being able to change your drawing at any time in the process of development of the mass, giving you the opportunity to create nice overlays and the history of your design process.
To create a saved view in Rhino you can either type in Command:Namedview or you can go to the properties tab and on the options wheel in the upper right hand corner, click on that and a drop down menu will appear, make sure you have named views checked, if not go ahead and check the box.
Choosing the right view is all up to personal preference and hidden within Rhino are ways to dramatically affect your image. Just go to your perspective view and right–click to bring the options down start playing around with these settings to get a desirable view that will convey your ideas and what you want to showcase
Shown above is messing around with the lens length, start playing around until you find the right view for you.
After you are satisfied with your view go ahead and save the view by clicking the save icon in the named views tab to the right and a window will pop up for you to name your new view.
Now it’s time to set up the rendering to get some realistic shadows that will help accentuate your geometry
The first step is to setup your sun, I always use the directional light instead of the native sun in Rhino, so go to the right of the screen and same as where the Named Views are located you will find the lights tab, go ahead and turn off the Sun and lets add a new VRay Directional light to the scene.
To get the directional light into the scene type Command: _DirectionalLight or go to your VRay light options in the VRay menu and select the directional light.
Set up the direction of your light, I use the gumball to adjust the X,Y,Z, direction but the direction will matter more later when we start to adjust the settings of the camera and brightness, and you can change the direction at any time.
Setting up a soft shadow
Hard edges from a shadow rarely look real so let’s go ahead and soften the shadows up a bit, this is a very simple process
First select the directional light and go to the properties tab on the right and the third widget over will be the light options, click on that. What we want to focus on is the shadow radius, it currently is set to 0.0 I have it set at 0.05 for this render but you can adjust to your liking. The closer to 0 the harder the shadows will become and vice versa for softer shadows.
For the material I have chosen a prebuilt material I have found online with a few minor tweaks, it can be found here:
The material has plastic characteristics that work well for diagrammatic images.
For the changes made to the white plastic, I have only made minor adjustments in terms of plastic color, transparency and reflection.
Color: to set the building apart from the ground I have changed the color to a light grey // Value: 241
Transparency: I want to see the geometry behind for this image so I have made the material semi transparent // Value: 65
Reflection: Should be already set but you can bump it up or lower it per personal preferences, I didn’t change it for this image.
The most important setting is the camera settings, this works just as a real DSLR works, just copy my settings and to make it brighter or darker change the shutter speed setting up or down to get the desired effect.
Since we are not going for hyper-realistic (Use Maya/MAX for the realist of real) we don’t need to change a lot, so I just choose Exterior and a quality, the higher quality the longer the render.
Make sure the view you have in frame gets captured, click on Get View Aspect to make sure that happens, if you can’t press it unlock the aspect by pressing the L.
Make sure to lock the aspect ratio after you get the view aspect so when you change the render size the proportions stay the same. I have my size set to 2000x899 which is sufficient for what I needed but if you want to blow that sucker up BIG, then blow those numbers up!!!!!!!!!!
NOW HIT RENDER!
See what all these settings gave you, you should have something like what is above, if now well shit, go change some settings and if that doesn’t work email me and we can figure this out together.
Select the geometry that you just rendered and type in the command: Make2d
The most amazing command in the entire world of 3d Modeling
Make sure you have maintain layer source and show hidden lines checked if you don’t, go fix it and meet me at the next step.
The lines will be translated to the 0,0,0 position on the model space, go grab your lines and export them as an illustrator file and . The lines are already set up for adjustment since we are only adjusting the hidden lines.
Open your file in Illustrator
You might have to adjust your artboard, or scale your lines to fit the artboard, the only thing you need to know when scaling is do it proportionally so when we underlay the render it all matches up.
Hidden Lines: .25 pt dashed line
Visible Lines: 1 pt solid line
We might adjust this once we over lay the render but let’s see how it looks, so let’s import the image into illustrator. You can adjust the levels in Photoshop but I am satisfied with how the render came out raw, so le t’s run with it.
Your image will come in off so here we have to do some manual scaling to match the corners until we get it lined up.
Once we are lined up, the question is, do you like the lineweights?
Right now I don’t, way too thick, time to slim up.
Feeling the burn
I have changed a few factors, the line weight scale, color, and Opacity. All these changed elements seem to be working in perfect harmony.
Hidden Lines: .10 pt dashed line // grey // 50% opacity
Visible Lines: .5 pt solid line // black // 70% opacity
Great now let’s add some people for a little stylization, I have added the website I use for the vector people:
Adding the details to all the little people, what is this a center for ants!!??
Since I skewed the perspective, I had to adjust the people as well, to get to this menu, select the objects to transform, right click and scroll down to transform each. Once you are there adjust the angle that you feel is appropriate.
Now zoom out to 100%…………….BOOM you did it!
The Final Image
Look at that you’re done, what a beautiful image you have created. You now have a new illustration style to add to your already established graphic arsenal.