1. Find a Buddy. Not necessarily to make sure you don’t get lost, but in essence to make sure you don’t get lost in your own drawings. At work I am always checking with others to see what they think, or collaborating in real-time while I do the work. It is amazing how many little mistakes you can miss when you keep looking at the same stuff. When the professors are telling you to work in Studio and talk to other people its not a load of crap – BUT it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be IN studio – you can have people check your stuff via dropbox, screen shots etc. the important thing is just to look over each other’s work.
2. GET A METRIC CONVERSION CALCULATOR (‘nuff said)
my metric calculator
3. Always save views in your 3D programs every time you export or render. You never know when you may need to re-render that view and you’ll be screwed if you didn’t save it. (ie. If you already spent like 6 hours photoshopping the shit out of it and you realize you need to change a few things…)
4. Save yourself some time – use CAD and/or REVIT to your advantage. Take the basic elevations from these programs and just colour them in photoshop or illustrator. It may look a little less realistic/more graphic, but with labels and elevation lines etc. it looks pretty darn professional (like you know what you are doing). Added benefit it is a lot easier to change than having to re-render all your elevations to the level that you need (particularly the night before your final presentation).
5. On that note – pick and choose carefully what you decide to change. People’s opinions are great, but only change what really resonates with you. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE PROJECT LAST MINUTE. Often all your project needs is a change of materials or colors, or a slight tweaking of masses or sizing in order to look better. The same thing happens in the real world, often you provide the client with options, but really not much but the materials have changed to play things down or play them up.
6. Free shit is always awesome – free food, free printing, free materials, free vectors, free photoshop textures – but don’t skimp on the important stuff. If you have a tried and tested cracked version from your architecture friend that just finished their entire schooling with the thing then okaaaay – BUT finding out your cracked photoshop crashes at a certain file size at 1am before a big presentation.. . not worth it people.
7. NEVER forget people in your drawings – it gives scale and reminds you that you still have to design with people in mind. One of the worst things that people got criticized for in school was designing architectural objects that in no way could ever be inhabited by real people. Not saying you can’t design monolithic BUT there still needs to be a relationship. (NORTH ARROWS, DIMENSIONS, AND SUCH ARE REALLY IMPORTANT TOO)
8. Renders are important! BUT don’t do them exclusively – orthographic drawings are just as important to actually understand the space – if anything you should spend more time on these! Also pick your views carefully, they need to talk to your concept or reveal something really important about your design. Some of the best presentations I saw in school didn’t even have that many renders but the ones they had were clear and AMAZING. Remember, in the real world rendering is almost considered a privilege – it takes a lot of hard work to get to the rendering stage, and as they are expensive to produce they have to be RIGHT and showing the client only IMPORTANT messages.
9. ALWAYS PRINT TO SCALE or at least provide a really good bar scale – that way things are proportionate when you draw them! (and people can actually understand the drawing).
10. TRACE PAPER IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND – seriously – I rarely used trace to my advantage in school I use it ALL THE TIME at work. Trace paper in conjunction with juicy fat markers is a deadly combination. Use it to adjust elevations (or even create them to begin with!), to tweak floor plans, to program spaces, to program the site, to draw landscape! Sketches with trace paper can get you a long way before you even have to start really drawing things up in hardline on the computer. At work sketches like that are really great to show to the client for a number of reasons: first, it shows you are working towards a design not just thinking your first one is amazing, second, it helps them to feel like they are part of the design when you can whip out the trace paper and make real time modifications as you go, and finally, you don’t spend so much time creating a drawing on the computer and end up have to change the entire thing when a client doesn’t like the design!
So some of these things may be common sense or you have heard them before, but these things do actually really help. I struggled big time with time management in school, and at work so far I have not felt stress or struggle (of course the time periods that you are expected to have things done are much more realistic BUT). Anyways – I will keep posting these as I think of them, or as I learn efficient ways to do things in my Internship!