stands for Computer Aided Design. Computers have revolutionised
the way designers work. Speed and efficiency have increased,
as well as ease of communication. For example, working drawings could be time consuming and any revisions even more so. CAD
has not only reduced the time spent drafting
to a fraction of what it used to be, but any changes in the
drawing can also be done quickly without having to redraw
everyhting. Moreover, different views can be easily created
using the same drawing.
for this design of a CD tower were created both using
a drawing table and CAD. Because of the amount of repetitive
features in the design, it took 4 hours to finish
this page to a professional standard using a drawing table and only 1.5 hours using
Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image.
This is not to say however that hand based techniques should
be entirely replaced by CAD. In fact I have seen examples where both techniques work best when combined together. Although
designers use CAD to produce beautifully layered graphic work,
perspectives and walkthrough animations, even test a design
before implementation, there are times when CAD drawings lack
the human emotional content seen in hand drawings.
Highly rendered CAD drawings also appear very finished and
are not necessarily the best choice during the initial development
stage of a project. It is often actually faster and better
to produce sketches at this stage. My advice is to use CAD
when appropriate, not at all cost because it is there, especially
if you are not very knowledgeable in the software you intend
to work with.
I sometimes see students who insist on working with CAD despite knowing
very little about the programme they are using. Often they
are limited in what they can do by their lack of knowledge
and their design suffers as a result. Designers should control
their tools, not the other way around.
What are computer images?
Computer images can be either in bitmap or vector format.
In order to make appropriate choices, it is very important
to understand the difference between the two:
Bitmap images are made up of a grid of dots known as pixels.
When working with bitmap images, you edit pixels rather than
objects or shapes. Digital photographs are an example of bitmap
Vector graphics are made up of mathematically defined lines
and curves called vectors and can be scaled to any size and
printed at any resolution without losing detail or clarity.
To put it into context, every Adobe Photoshop ® (or similar
software) image is a bitmap, whether it originates from a
scan, another application or was created in Photoshop ®.
Other software such as Adobe Illustrator ® and VectorWorks
® use the vector format.
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