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August 18, 2006

Using Photography to Get the Details Right


A few days ago, I wrote about how fascinating it is to watch the designers and 3D modelers scurry around the virtual aloft lobby as they build the hotel inside of Second Life.

One of the most intriguing things for me is how the designers are using photographs as visual references inside of SL.

A few weeks back when we visited the real world aloft warehouse, Sara took a ton of photos with her digital camera. It's interesting to see that many of those photos have now been placed inside the virtual lobby and are being used collectively by the team of designers as visual references. Often you will see the designer's avatar walk over to the photograph, take a close look at it to understand the details, walk back over to the raw space, and then begin designing the virtual equivalent of what's in the photograph.

Like in real life, group meetings take place over the actual architectural drawings and blueprints.

- Marc Schiller, ElectricArtists


Posted by at 7:51 AM in Visual References | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) |


We can do a tremendous amount based on effective photographs. We also use floorplans/blueprints to guide our way, and in one case where we were replicating a real-world skyscraper, google earth's satellite imagery came in handy to measure the footprint, but the most important reference is always photographs.

There is a particular art to taking reference photographs, so whenever possible we send our own designers to the location to take on that responsibility. When you are the one who has to build something, you have an innate understanding of the angles you will need, what requires a zoomed in or panned out view, and which close-up shots you need for textures (a particular brick on the wall, a particular fabric on the couch, etc). It is definitely more than point and shoot.

In some cases we've also captured video of a location/building to be replicated. Video can be very helpful in reminding the designer of how the entire space flows together

Posted by: Giff Constable | August 18, 2006 11:41 AM

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