General Designing

Some Personal Design Notes and References

Dance, Visio, Dance

Work 3

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        When I gravitated from hand drawings to computer graphics, I took the cheap way by using the tools available to me at work.

        Back in the ’80’s while working with SBS (Satellite Business Systems) in Clarksburg Maryland, I discovered  HP’s Drawing Gallery graphic software.  This was very basic stuff but I found it very easy to learn and use.  Alas, the more I used it and became familiar with the process, and my ideas as well as drawings became more complex, this tool could not do all I needed it to do.

        In the ’90’s when fortunate to be working for WorldSpace in downtown Washington DC, I discovered Visio 5.0 at a Windows seminar I attended.  This was just after the company became Visio Corp. from Shapware Corp.  Although there was no way to convert my Drawing Gallery work over to Visio, I fell in love with the program.  I had looked at AutoCad and other high powered design software but in those days, it felt like you needed a PhD just to start it up.  Much too much of a training curve for me.  Visio 5.0 had the same simplicity of use that Drawing Gallery offered, but was so much more powerful.  I first put it to use at work for organizational charts, spacecraft schematics drawings and other satellite related work.   A couple of example are below.

Work 1

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Work 2

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        Then I went crazy on floor plans for many purposes, the work place and for homes.    At some point around 2000 I started fooling around with Jules Verne’s Nautilus.  But in addition, I think I’ve put Visio to doing things I doubt it was ever designed to do.    


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        As an example of the versatile range I forced on poor old Visio, I cooked up a design for what was then my “Dream Ranch House”.  At that time I was hoping to one day have a small ranch and raise motorcycles.  Much cleaner that horses and don’t require a lot of land for grazing.  So, of course, I needed a stable to house all the bikes.  Came out really cool, even if I say so myself.  But it was a trick drawing the motorcycles from the three perspectives; top, side and front.  After all, this was not a true design tool like AutoCad.  But it was challenging and fun.  I could get lost in working that program for endless hours.  And I still do today.


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        Regretfully, my motorcycle accident in 2011 ended the ranch dream.  But I retained all the development work I did.  Like forcing Visio to create motorcycles and cars from scratch for my drawings.  Definitely a fun, but time consuming task.



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        Now I have the new Visio 2013 which is giving me options I only dreamed about with the old 5.0.   So I’m starting to recreate many of the drawings and plans I did with the old release.  Just to make them better.  Like the vehicle I made up for the garage.  Now I added my Mustang convertible… just for the hell of it.


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        On occasion, Visio has to be coarsened to do ones bidding.  Some things, like the Office equipment in a home office or my most excellent drum set, must be created from scratch.

        Finally, I’m planning on obtaining the add-on product called 3D Visioner.  This will run in conjunction with Visio to produce 3D drawings simultaneously from the 2D version created in Visio.  Of course, once I get experienced enough with Visioner, I’ll be able to do new drawings directly in 3D.  I’m very much looking forward to that.  What now takes me many hours to draw for all three perspectives, I’ll be able to draw only once in 3D and see it from any angle.   I’m hoping this will help cut down my design time.

        I hope to do many different projects in 3D from house plans, spaceships and all that.  But I expect the first job will be turning my Nautilus into a 3D environment someone can walk through.  A very exciting project for me.

        Meanwhile, I hope to dump some of my better ideas, and best drawings, here.  For posterity?  At least for a few grins and giggles.

        Here’s one humorous note.  While working for Reico Kitchen & Bath helping plan and layout kitchen cabinet arrangements while also trying to sell cabinets, I managed to fool around with their 3D software “2020 Design”.  Doing kitchen plans was great fun, but… well it’s me after all.  I took a little free time and did some drawings of my most excellent cottage, in order to plan where to place my drum set.  Right.

Reico 1

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Reico 2

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Of course the software, like Visio, was never intended for people like me or my intentions.  So once again, I took it where it wasn’t meant to go.  It was a terrific learning process finding out how to draw drums and cymbals, but I managed.  It’s somewhat crude, but had I more time at Reico with the 2020 Design software, I could have done better.  I think.

to be continued…      


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