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Groundplans

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by megf, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. megf

    megf Member

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    I'm production designer (basically scenic head) for a student film in the early stages of production, and my director needs groundplans ASAP. Do you all know of any websites/books that can help me brush up on my long-neglected drafting skills? I learned basic stage drafting years ago, but haven't been called on to do it for quite some time... The set is simple, but I would like it to look as professional as possible - this is the first time I have worked with the Master Carp and this particular director, so I'd like to make a good impression.

    Thanks!
    Megf
     
  2. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    A good beginner program I have become a fan of suggesting is called SMARTDRAW. It turns out very usable drawings and for a CAD-type of program it is very intuitive and easy to use with a huge library--and considerably inexpensive. Its kind of a scvaled down version of a very rough CAD program combined with basic business stuff. Not chock full of all the stuff & extras you would get with Vectorworx or AutoCAD--and as for specific libraries like you get for lighting it does not do that, but its a good program to get you started and great for floorplans--like basic stage or set layouts...and its free to try out for the first 30 days and 6 printings.

    http://www.smartdraw.com/

    Hope this helps ya...
    -wolf
     
  3. megf

    megf Member

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    Thank you! This is a FANTASTIC - exactly what I was looking for.

    M
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Every time I'm about to draft I'm tempted to install the Vector works or Auto Cadd into my computer but never do. It's been 10 years since for me and the learning curve would be too hard. Plus I have this big expensive Hamelton drafting table proper. So I have a seat at it even if I'm not quite inking drawings anymore.

    Drafting by hand will be quicker for the quick sketch if you don't anticipate a lot of major changes to it. It won't be as flexable but will beat the learning curve and memory killing.

    By drafting, I learned in high school as a perspective architect but one of the more useful books for me on the theater has always been "Drafting for the Theater" by Dennis Dorn & Mark Shandra. It has the USITT guidelines on line width and standards and a decent both design and drafting guide to it. In fact at least 10 years ago it was the only adiquate drafting specific book on the market thus the only one for that purpose. Backstage Handbook has quick reference also to help.

    On AutoCadd/theater there is Computer Scenographics by Payne and AutoCad Onstage by Rose - both are dated but get the point across no matter what version. The avove Drafting also has a computer section so it's your best bet. The other two are better for Cadd only in learning it all.

    Still, if you have drafting skill already, it's going to piss you off how inaccurat you have become, but it will probably still be faster that way if that rough plot is your goal. In the long run if that's the intent, go AutoCadd or what ever version of it you decide upon such as AutoCadd Light if that's still sold. Once you get up to speed it's faster and easier on changes.
     
  5. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya,
    I use CAD a few times a year--but I am not in a direct design position and most fo my applications are for facility use and for house plot documentation--plus most times I am usually implimenting other peoples designs they have provided. But knowing and being able to use a CAD program is a needed thing. CAD design is very common and useful when it comes to design areas of things. General theater practice & tech, unless you are designing or drafting on a regular basis, is more in reading the drafts and designs provided. If you wish to be a TD or Scenic designer--CAD will be very valuable for you in your learning and application.

    -wolf
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Some form of AutoCadd is the way of the industry - I don't think anyone really hand drafts anymore.

    For scenic construction it's AutoCadd or at least was five years ago last time I was around scenic designers, and for lighting it's Vector Works. Both will translate into each other than allow for manipulation such as the Vector Works into WisiWig which allows the show for all intensive purposes to be programmed right into the Hog and run live on a projection screen in sync to the and cues as if you were watching it in reality and the fixtures were physically there. Production Plus, our most used scenic company on the other hand has some kind of new Cadd program that is not Auto Cadd. It allows for photographic quality three dimensional images that are at a glance hard to tell they are not photographs except the talent is not quite reality. Very cool.

    For home use, Generic Cadd/Auto Cadd Lite, and other simplified programs work just fine and normally will translate to any of the other programs. You might loose some stuff in the translation but as long as it's a PDF drawing output it will translate. For the most part the simplified programs just lack refinement and options. I would go with such a thing to get the basics down, than chances are the place you work at will have the more expensive programs available for you to install at home. That's how I got the copies of Vector Works and AutoCadd. Once I install them they will certainly be better than Generic Cadd 6.0 which works off a bad DOS format instead of Windows. Shelling in and out can get nasty.
     

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