00056-00062 The Woods

19 February 2014 § Leave a comment

This selection of sketches were done on site in New Jersey in the woods behind my house way back in 2010.  I think they came out great for what they were–quick thumbnails in the grass.  I have never been particularly good at landscape drawing (probably because I am always surrounded by architecture) so every now and then I try to focus a bit on it.   I used pencil for it seemed more natural at the time, and easier to utilize when trying to quickly capture a range of line weights.  Though I am an avid, avid ink enthusiast, on the occasions that I do use pencil, I carry along with me a small (travel-sized) can of hairspray. Hair spray acts like a fixative and I can quickly spray my drawings & fix the pencil (to reduce fading/smudging) right there on site.  Quite handy for anyone who regularly is on the go with their graphite!

Caitlin Pontrella

Whippany

New Jersey

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Making Of: The Sixth Facade

19 February 2014 § Leave a comment

To pair with the launch of my portfolio site, and in response to some positive interest from viewers, I am going to post up a few screen caps & details that show the process/pipeline of building one of my most recent architectural visualizations.  This image was completed for Snohetta for a design competition they entered last year.  You can seem the other images generated for the affair on their site.  You can also see more on the competition here or here or here.  Vincent Appel, from Of Possible Architectures, assisted with the modelling process while I did the bulk of the post-production in photoshop as show below.  I am actually going to breeze over the details, if you don’t mind too much.  I will address additional techniques later on in different posts.

1 Compositional Render: This was the first pass at this image.  Very rough, no rendered textures as you might notice, and very early in the design stage.  This was modeled in Rhino and rendered quickly in Vray.  The focus was on the composition of the image, as well as the lighting.  It also gave me a head start for collecting resources & background imagry, as well as brainstorming color palettes.

130218 - SKETCH 2

2 Texture Render Tests and Color: One of the big strengths of this image is its utilization of 3d textures.  Anyone seriously interested in rendering very HQ believable images needs to start exploring these & how to use them effectively.  (You can find tons freely available online).   We did a lot of tests and we found that using 3d wood grains really took this image to the next level. If we were to just montage wood textures, we would not be able to get the depth of color & tone & believability without a lot of extra time & painting.  My biggest piece of advice is to be selective–don’t go crazy & overtexture everything.  Too much detail looks as fake as too little.  Also note, that my particular style is towards something more painterly and atmospheric, rather than strict realism.  At this stage I also was working on color overlays–still far from perfected here.

130225 - SKETCH 2 GLASS1

2 closeup

2 ckloseup2

3 Final Base Render : As you can see, the base render is very simple.  White surfacing for most assets and the texture is preserved in this.  The wood was rendered in color because it was easier to modify from there.  What you don’t see is that we also rendered out several channels.  You should always include the RENDER ID channel, as well as light/shadow.  Play around though.  I used a variety of channels to achieve different affects & gain control over different elements.

130303 - LIGHT AND GLASS

4 Initial Color Manipulation and Background : First set of color overlays.  I prefer to start a little oversaturated and reduce as I move on.  The background was pieced together form a series of photographs and ended up being quite a headache to get in perfect perspective.

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5 Color Manipulation, Saturation : Increased saturation; this was actually a test/experiment that I quickly did on the side.  Oversaturating sometimes allows you to see what colors are actually acting in certain areas.  Note heavy purple on left.  That was annoying me a lot.

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5 Desaturation, color, people, snow, etc : Snow added, colors desaturated somewhat, carousel added in the background as well as people.

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5 Season change! : JK Client decided daytime better for selling.  Probably right but I still liked the snow.  Grass was painted in rough.

1-Warm

5 Final Touches! : Softened the images by removing/reducing black.  Also softened background and increased lighting.

01 Podium - V(2)

01 Podium - V(2) small

01 Podium - V(2) small2

00049-00055 Syracuse street & Greenscape design

16 February 2014 § Leave a comment

Since it’s the weekend, I have continued with my efforts to reorganize my digital archive.  Through this process I have been setting aside sketches found from college years completed for my design projects.  The following set was for a project set in Syracuse city.  The initial sketch, done on site of the project location, I then made copies of & sketched over several times to explore different design ideas for the site.  The first two are the before (empty, on site sketch) and the after (the final design I selected).  I also included a few of the process images–there were tons of these, but the ones below are my favorites.
I also hope to , as I get a little more downtime, to colorize the initial sketch.

Syracuse Architecture

Syracuse Slivers 2

PROCESS:

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1

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Syracuse Slivers

00046-00048 Around & Underground the town

14 February 2014 § Leave a comment

Happy Valentines Day!  I was actually thinking I might look through some of my old sketches to see if I ever did anything on a Valentines Day but I got caught up with another project last night–building a fort in my apartment!  We have a huge galvanized steel bar set that we use for our Parkour events that we reconfigured in our apartment.  My partner and I did an excellent job and, as a bonus, once the sheets come off the fort it actually is a fantastic indoor mini-parkour-gym, so double win.  Plus tonight we’ll be cooking our own dinner; fresh cuts of ribeye with selections from our very first farm-fresh delivery from Nextdoorganics (A pay-as-you-go CSA that I highly recommend to anyone living in Brooklyn).  I will definitely be doing a drawing of that as well once a week! I love food and I love brooklyn!

Anyways, these three drawings reflect that I have been very bad at drawing every day for the last two weeks.  I have only accomplished about 4 drawings between January 29th and Today…. 😦  I will draw double time this weekend and next week to make up for it a little bit. But.. most of them will probably be of indoor things since the snow just doesn’t stop. 😦

January 29th – On the subway on a Friday after work on the subway.  This woman, I wish I had time to capture in water color; golden brown furry coat with matching boots, bright blue jeans, dull red hat, and a tangle of scraggly brown hair.
February 2nd – Washington Square Park as I walked through before/after my NY AIA Review seminar for the ARE BDCS (Less than 2 months away now!)
February 11th – The stairwell in a downtown Manhattan subway station as I was waiting to transfer from the J to the M train.  I really like axonometric drawings…

Caitlin Pontrella Sketchbook

Washington Square

NYC Subway

00043-00045 Omega & Design

11 February 2014 § Leave a comment

The drawings below are from a study conducted in 2010 of the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.  It houses a huge eco-machine which breaks down & consumes pollutants in water.  I will post up some more drawings from my finalized studies later tonight!  The last drawing is a design for a ‘hydroponic card catalog cart’ that was a component to one of my design projects for my 3rd year comprehensive architecture studio–those drawings too will eventually appear on this website, and I believe you will find them delightful!

I have yet to scan in my most recent drawings.  I actually have been bad at keeping up with drawing every day.  I find that my plate is loaded with things I need to do–from running my company The Movement Creative, work everyday, studying for the ARE’s, research for my book (on play & architecture), losing weight/exercising, restructuring my data storage, redoing my website, and a handful of other goals I am trying to complete (read a book a month, sketch every day, etc).  Though I definitely can find time to draw, I feel that my biggest wall is that I want to draw something interesting.  I think I need to get over that though, and just draw everything and anything.  Cups, books, couches, people,–lots of people.  I’m not super interested in these items as standalone objects of study, but I think if I want to see the improvement in my technical skills over time, I need to just push forward to draw everything critically.

Hopefully when it gets warmer out as well, it will be easier to draw my objects of interest more often.

Caitlin Pontrella

Caitlin Pontrella

Caitlin Pontrella

Drawing Exercise 1: Serials

11 February 2014 § Leave a comment

I also want to start including a list of drawing exercises that I enjoy doing when I am wandering the city.   I will try to post & execute one drawing exercise a week.  This first one I have already hinted once about earlier on my blog–Serial drawings!  Serial drawings are easily one of my most favorite exercises.  You can serialize all sorts of things–the collection of bottles in a perfume store, facades on your street, even movement–body positions, facial expressions, etc.  Just separate your page into several compartments and draw! It is an opportunity to closely study a specific typology of items.

2009-17 2009-12

00037-00042 – Tea & Music

5 February 2014 § Leave a comment

A few final sketches from the 2008-2009 sketchbook, from a visit to a tea shop and my sisters high school band concert.

This past weekend I attended an ARE seminar at the Center of Architecture in NYC.  It wasn’t as useful as I was hoping, and found it very sparce in terms of content.  However, what was useful was watching them walk through the Vignettes.  I do have a sketch from Washington Sq Park & of City Hall that I will upload sometime this week.

2009-22

2009-21

2009-20

2009-19

2009-18