DIGITAL SESSIONS WELSH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE - CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
ILLUSTRATOR: THE CONCEPTUAL BOARD
WASSIM JABI AND SERGIO PINEDA 0
DIGITAL SESSIONS WELSH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE – CARDIFF UNIVERSITY DR. WASSIM JABI AND MR. SERGIO PINEDA
ILLUSTRATOR: THE CONCEPTUAL BOARD WHAT ILLUSTRATOR CAN DO FOR YOU Adobe Illustrator is recognised worldwide as the professional tool of choice for the creation of layouts including vector-based art and pixel-based images. It was initially conceived as a fairly basic vectordrawing program. Drawn objects can be warped, twisted, rotated, sheared, trimmed and distorted, and other graphics can be brushed or sprayed onto them. Transparency can be applied to anything on the artboard, text can be added in different formats and customized (in terms of colour, font, shape, distortion, etc), and images can be imported and vectorized. It is often the software of choice for the design of book covers, posters, trade show displays and architectural presentation drawings. Once a piece is complete it can be exported in a variety of formats suitable for print, online viewing, work in other programs (such as Photoshop), etc.
SETTING UP THE ART BOARD FOR YOUR CONCEPTUAL BOARD Once you’ve opened Illustrator, choose ‘File>New’ and the New Document Window appears. From the drop down menu choose the size of the print you wish to create (1). This size can be changed later on.
A1 is not on the list. As the Conceptual Board has to be submitted in A1, choose Custom, and insert the following dimensions for a Portrait art board (1): Width: 594 mm Height: 841 mm For a landscape paper size, swap the values.
For any other format insert the given dimensions:
Illustrator should now be showing your choice of format, like this:
VECTORIZING A PIXEL-BASED IMAGE If you have drawings in pixel based format (jpg, psd, png, etc) you can vectorize them in Illustrator. This may be very helpful for different uses: • Vectorizing a hand-drawn plan/section/elevation • Depicting a background of buildings for a given image • Choose an image to vectorize. For example:
In Illustrator, go to File (1) and Place (2).
Choose the file location in the window folders and click OK.
Now Click on Object (1), Live Trace (2), and Make and Convert to Live Paint (3).
The image is now converted to vectors (all of which are still selected) and will look something like this:
To eliminate all ‘fill’ and leave the drawing as a ‘stroke’ drawing only, click on the Fill icon (1) and then click on ‘void’ (2). Then click on the Stroke icon (3).
Now choose a colour from the colour window.
Varying the original image in Photoshop for Brightness/Contrast will change the level of detail in the vectorized image. Within Illustrator you can change the thickness of the lines the make up the drawing, and you can erase lines if you wish to edit the image. To do this, Double click on the grouped lines for the drawing, and then click on one individual line. It will look like this:
Now, erase it! You can erase, for example, the whole frame in the image above, and leave the house as a standalone object.
GETTING PREPARED TO PUT TOGETHER THE CONCEPTUAL BOARD In order to put together the Conceptual Board you will need to prepare your material (images, vector drawings, scanned hand drawings, text) and have it all organised. Recommendations:
Images Save your images as PNG if you wish to keep some sort of
transparency. For example:
To overlay this tree over other images in Illustrator, the PNG file should show a transparent background in Photoshop, like this:
Set in Photoshop the dpi you wish to print with for all your images. I.e., set a minimum of 150 dpi for all your prints, and if possible, set the resolution of your images to 300 dpi.
CAD Prepare your files as DWG drawings. Older dwg versions are generally more universal, so it would be convenient to save your dwg files as version Autocad 2000.
Text Can be prepared in Word (or other word editing software) or can be directly inserted into Illustrator.
SLICING THROUGH A ZEN GARDEN In this specific case I want to use a series of references to portray the concepts in Allen S Weiss’s ‘On the Circulation of Metaphors in the Zen Garden’. My intention is to show the polar opposites of nature and artifice and how they intermingle at various levels. I will use the following source images:
Artwork by Ryozo Tsumaki 10
Cropped Artwork by Ryozo Tsumaki (png)
Kanagawa Institute by Junya Ishigami
Cropped faรงade from the Kanagawa Institute by Junya Ishigami (png)
Roman Baths by Cristina Asenjo
IMPORTING YOUR IMAGES In Illustrator, go to File (1) and Place (2).
Select 1 by 1 all your images. Lay them out in around your Board.
The size at which the images arrive in Illustrator is defined by their size and the resolution (dpi) that you’ve set for them in Photoshop. To assure a high quality print, don’t scale your images upwards, as they might present pixilation. You can scale them downwards without causing any pixilation. Now, just as in Photoshop, elements in Illustrator are ‘in front’ or ‘in the back’ as if they were paper cuts on a table. To locate your files in the order you need them to be, first just grab them and drag them into location. It may be that the files are not in the correct order – for example the background is in the foreground:
To solve this, click on ‘selection tool’ (1), select the background (2), right click on the background (3), go to ‘arrange’ (4), and click on ‘send to back’ (5).
The background will go directly to the back of the stack!
By sending ‘to front’ and ‘to back’ all the elements in your board you can organize in order the elements as you want them to sit on your board.
Now we are going to vectorize the birds (Just as we vectorized the image of the house on page 5 of this tutorial).
Double click on the birds vectorized lines and delete the white background along with the darkened corners and the birds that donâ€™t appear fully within the image.
Drag the birds over to the upper area of the montage. Now, if your design requires that your printed area fills in the A1 art-board that you are using (as in â€˜Slicing Through a Zen Garden), make sure that your image goes beyond the template boarder (as the arrows show in the image below). Following this method you can print onto an Oversize A1 paper (as opposed to an A1) and then crop the paper down to the size of an A1.
TRANSPARENCY By now you probably have a pretty good montage of references. In order to blend all the sources together, you can apply a transparency on the elements â€“ just a little bit! You can leave it at an 85 to 95%. To do this go to Window (1) and Transparency (2).
Select, for example, the birds. Then move their transparency to 75% (1).
Assign transparency to the elements you consider appropriate in the scene.
TEXT To insert text, you may want to prepare in advance your separate sentences, etc, in a program such as word. For example: 17
“Slicing Through a Zen Garden The Zen garden is like a haiku. The very intuition of the instant is a form of narration, abstracted from the flux of time’s passing, yet revealing nothing more than the ephemeral. Equivocal spatiality and polymorphous temporality are unified and surpassed in a flash of inspiration where metaphors ultimately disappear. Such intuition takes the narrative form not of the epic or the romance but of the haiku, depicting the few seconds that it takes a leaf or a petal to fall within the confines of the most durable gardens in history. (Allen S Weiss, On the Circulation of Metaphors in the Zen Garden).” Just grab the text and from word, copy, go to Illustrator, click on Text (1), click and drag where you want to locate your text (2 ), release to form the text window (3), and paste the text.
Now, select the text and give it the font, size and alignment your design requires.
You can move the corners of the text window by dragging them. To snap to the grid (in order to be fully precise) go to View (1) and then to Snap to Grid (2).
Now fix the corners of the text to the actual grid points that centre the text within the page.
CUTTING MARKS FOR OVERSIZE A0 PRINTS Now, because this design is intended to be printed onto an Oversize A0, we need to make markers as to where the paper should be cut in order to produce an A1. Zoom into one of the corners, click on the line tool (1) and make two lines corresponding to where the cut should happen, without touching the actual corner (2, 3, 4 and 5).
Copy these two lines on the other corners of the page and rotate (right click > transform > rotate) in order to set them in the correct cutting place.
Well done! We are now ready to print. The actual print will contain any information see through the A1 template frame. This means that it wonâ€™t be printing out printing guides. We will now wcange the size of this slightly in order to print the printing guides. Go to File (1) and Document Setup (2).
Now, insert the following values: Width: 605mm Height: 853 mm
Then click OK.
You will notice that the printing template now covers our cutting marks.
So we are ready to print! Click File (1) and then Print (2).
This will open the printing window. Making sure you’ve selected ‘Adobe PDF’ from the Printer drop down menu, select the ‘Do not scale’ option (1). Then click on the drop down menu for Media Size (2). You want to select Oversize A1 (3). Then click Print (4).
Find an appropriate location and give your PDF a name. This is the end of the production of the PDF. You are now ready to send to the plotter!
In order to produce a poster for digital viewing (without cutting marks) select A0 from the â€˜Media Sizeâ€™ drop down menu at the time of printing. Keep all other options the same.
WASSIM JABI, PH.D. IS A SENIOR LECTURER AT THE WELSH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE SERGIO PINEDA, AADIP IS AN ARCHITECT AND A PROFESSIONAL TUTOR AT THE WELSH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE