Digital Animation for Representing Architectural Design

Digital Animation for Representing Architectural Design

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7359-3.ch004
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Since the late nineties digital movies have emerged as one of the main methods for submission of architectural designs at international competitions, public presentations, and shares on websites of contemporary masters. The chapter highlights how the ability to access the fourth dimension, through the construction of a sequence of images, constitutes a specific prerogative of digital representation, which goes beyond the static constraint imposed by conventional methods of representation. The author investigates the methods, techniques, and languages of the fourth-dimensional communication of architecture. The chapter provides analysis and critiques of the case studies collected by the author from the beginning of the phenomenon and traces an ideal interpretation path, due both to the changing technologies and the emerging specific languages.
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Digital modelling has affected the entire design process in recent years, starting with the conception through the control and communication of designs and finally to the provision of tools for building construction and then management activities. For the design stage of the process, these new modelling tools seem to have unified the constituent elements of drawing and design, reconstituting them within the etymological roots of the Latin term designo, the twofold meaning of which alludes to an abstract component, indicating the mental processes intrinsic to design, and another concrete component relating to the tangible operation of drawing (Garzino, Spallone, & Lo Turco, 2011).

These tools offer a possible answer to Rogers’s wishes, who in 1990 said that “what is needed… is for the meaning of drawing (and therefore also the pedagogical and practical interpretation that is derived from it) not to be just the descriptive representation of an object generated by means of symbols, but for its ancient semantic value to return to it, which is summed up today by the English word design (as opposed to drawing), in which the symbols themselves contain the concept of thought, concrete intention and the design of an object” (Rogers, 1990).

Digital models have a syncretic nature which offers new opportunities to the scientific research and architectural design: tests and errors occur in a space in which our experience of problems are rendered fluid and immediate as in an architectural promenade, “3D computer models… allow more enhanced and more controlled interaction between users and models, they are able to cover the whole range of possible models in a single system of representation” (Maldonado, 2005).

Moriconi, an earlier scholar of infographics, underlined that “through the infographic support, digital drawing simulates a hypothetical reality, goes beyond the limitations of the static and allows interaction with any type of sign. With the creation of virtual images, infographic technology represents what is perhaps the most appropriate tool for interpreting the complexity of reality” (Moriconi, 2001).

According to Manovich the rise of the movie camera as a universal paradigm for the interaction with any data which is represented on three dimensions goes back to the 1980s and 90s. Indeed he affirms that “as the computer culture is gradually spatializing all representations and experiences, they become subjected to the camera particular grammar of data access. Zoom, tilt, pan and track: now we use these operations to interact with data spaces, models, objects and bodies” (Manovich, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Post-Production: Post-production is part of the process of filmmaking, video production and rendering, which consists in a series of editing and optimization of the product, subsequent to the camera shot or the animated sequence creation.

Montage: Montage is a technique which uses rapid editing, special effects and music to present compressed narrative information.

Animation: Animation is the process of creating a continuous motion and shape change illusion by means of the rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. In the architectural representations, animation can be the creation of a path inside and outside of buildings, or the putting in motion of static elements.

3D Modelling: In 3D computer graphics, 3D modelling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model.

Secondary Animations: In architectural movies, the secondary animations consist of motions of people, vehicles, videos which overlap the animation created by the video camera movement.

Rendering: Rendering is a image generated by a computer using three-dimensional modeling software, after applying materials and lights and setting a perspective view.

Compositing: Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.

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