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About CAD

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CAD 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.

CD tower drafting - Click on the thumbnail to open a larger image
The drawings 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 CAD.

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 images.

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.

Skills CAD Training

> About CAD > Scale > Basic Geometry > 2D Drafting > 3D drawing > The Overlay Method > Graphics > Image Editing

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