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Design Process - Modeling and Rendering

You might be wondering what our design process really looks like -- we reference sketching, modeling, prototyping, rendering, and a lot of other design+development jargon that most people are unfamiliar with. Today we are clearing up some of that confusion by showcasing our 3D modeling process and sequential rendering method and style. 

Once the initial sketches and conceptual developments are wrapped up, they are input into the Rhinoceros 6 modelling engine. The initial model shows the rough form and coloration of the design so that we can get a better picture of the scaling and proportions of the piece. As the model is tweaked and further developed beyond the sketches, we create iterations, which are process models with a handful of variables adjusted. 

After going through several generations of iterations, each new generation finalizing a few things and expanding on others for further experimentation, we select the top few models and start to flesh out the details. While joinery is in our mind from the first conceptual sketch, it is at this point that each joint is developed and modeled so we can fully visualize the final product. Not only does this give a high fidelity model with which to develop renderings, but it also gives a firm grasp on exactly how the joints will be produced and in what tooling order. This is a critical step in furniture design -- at best, one out-of-step tool process and you are left with a lot of cleanup work, and at the worst you're starting over. We also model the router work at this point -- any chamfered, rounded-over, or otherwise shaped profiles are included in the model to heighten realism. 

The final step is rendering the models, which begins with creating a rendering environment. If the model is rendered alone, standing on an endless flat plane, it has no scale to reference for size and more importantly it is taken out of the context of it's spatial relationship to the environment around it. Therefore, the best procedure is to develop some kind of setting to place the model into before rendering. We feel this setting must provide three things: it must give scale to the design, it must focus on the relationship of the model to its surroundings (rather than solely on the model), and it must exude some kind of atmosphere. We approach this by creating environments that are gallery-like and familiar, yet abstracted by several degrees to give an uneasy, 'deja-vu-esque' feeling to the rendering. This gives the image some artistic intrigue while also accomplishing the big three listed above. 

Below are several design iterations for our recent entertainment center in Jatoba and Baltic Birch (the landing image in the slideshow on our homepage). 


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