You have to harvest pictures (I refer to it as harvesting.
) and figure out the angle from which you will draw the picture. You can draw the image head on (shows only one side; easy) or at an angle (shows two sides; a bit more challenging but easier than you think).
You have to figure out the dimensions of the building (at least approximate) and taking the complexity of the building's architecture into account, figure out which scale to use for the diagram. I typically use a 2:1 scale where each pixel is half a meter.
You have to figure out the height of the image. If you're going a 1:1 scale picture, a 44m building will be 44 pixels high. If you use 2:1, it will be 88 pixels high. If you use 4:1, it will be 176 pixels high. Et cetera.
Now you have to figure out the width
of the image. If you're drawing one side
, figure out the width of the side you are drawing, and that's your number. If you're drawing two sides
, you have to find the hypotenuse of the two sides. (Or as close to right as possible.)
There is a simple rule to find the hypotenuse and you probably already know it: a² + b² = c². The square root of c is the width of your diagram!
Now we have to figure out the ratio of each side in the diagram. If you're drawing just one side, you don't have to worry about this step.
First: Divide the hypotenuse by the sum of both sides. If (a) = 16 and (b) = 10, then (c) = 19. 19 ÷ 26 = 0.73076923... and so on.
Second: To find the width of one of the sides, multiply that side's width by the dividend. The short side is 10m. 10m × 0.73076923 = 7.3076923...m, or just 7m. (14 pixels in a 2:1 scale diagram.) The rest is the front.
Note that this isn't a permanent thing. You'll probably tweak the diagram a bit later on to fit properly, maybe shave some off the sides or make it wider. I use it myself to get an idea of what I'm going to be drawing on and rarely ever stick to it exactly. So don't worry.
You can even skip this step if you want, but I find it helpful.
3: Now we start drawing!
Let's start drawing!
We're going to draw a simple 12 storey building in a 2:1 scale. It's about 44m tall so that means we'll be working on an image 88 pixels in height. The front face is 16m and the side is 10m, so that means our hypotenuse is 19 meters wide. The diagram will therefore be 38 pixels wide by 88 pixels high. That's doable. (Very skinny, too..)
I usually start off drawing one of the middle floors. (They're usually all the same, and they're usually simple.) For this diagram, all floors will be 4m tall. That's 8 pixels. We draw a line, and shade it to show each side of the building, like so:
The left side is the short side and it will be darker than the wider face.
Next, we have to put on the details. As close as you can, draw in the windows and architectural features, etc., using for now the colours provided by paint to colour them. (We'll work on exact colours shortly.) Once you've finished drawing in the basics, you'll have this:
Obviously, a more complex building will be more complex.
This is just a basic thing to show you an example.
A simple rule: Draw what you see.
Now we have to make the colours realistic. Let's say the building is a cream colour with red-orange accents under the windows.
We go into Paint's pallet feature, double click on a coloured square, and the colour editor pops up. It is in this that we will approximate the colours!
We're working with a building that has only two colours so far, so we'll be making two of each colour, a light one for the lit up side and a dark one for the shadowy side.
Then using the paint bucket tool, apply these colours to the building.
This is an easy step: Copy and paste the floor as many times as necessary. If there the two lowest floors and the top floor don't look like this one, then don't make a copy for them. You'll end up with this:
Starting to take shape! And remember, a real building will look better than this. Don't worry about the windows, we'll do those later.
Now we have to draw on the base. It's pretty simple: Just like the middle floors, draw what you see.
There you go! Typically, the base is one of the most time consuming parts. You'll probably spend more time here than on the upper stories. The same goes for the top floor.
Again, just draw what you see! Remember that the total height for the diagram takes into account elevator shafts, parapets, and other features, but does not include the antennas.
Now the building is essentially complete, except for the windows.
Everyone does their windows a bit differently. Usually, I do mine in Paint.NET, but for the sake of simplicity, I'll show you have to do them in paint.
First, you need some sort of window-coloured gradient. I'll use this image I made in Paint.NET: (You can use it, too.)
Now this part might be a bit tricky, so read careful, eh?
First off, if your diagram is bigger than the gradient, reside the gradient. Press [ctrl]+[w] and use the resize tool.
Now, you have to have the building diagram and the gradient open in paint. You should have two windows.
Select and copy the building diagram: ([ctrl]+[a] and then [ctrl]+[c]).
Go to the gradient window. Make backgrounds transparent. Select the selection tool and then make the box below the tools area look like this:
3: Right click
on the light blue colour (or whatever colour your windows might be) to make it the background colour.
Paste ([ctrl]+[v]) the diagram in. The blue colour of the windows will be transparent and you'll see the gradient through the windows. Move the building around until you're happy with the colour of the windows.
Once you found a good colour for the windows, click on the dead space to let the diagram merge with the gradient. Then, highlight the diagram (either exactly, or with some gradient around it), copy it ([ctrl]+[c]) and then remove the diagram from the gradient. You can do that by pressing [ctrl]+[z].
Right click on the dark blue, and repeat step 4 with the other windows.
If you have other colours to make doors or other windows different colours, keep repeating this until all of them are coloured in.
You should end up with something like this:
Now it looks like a finished building!
If you're drawing 1:1 scale, you're pretty much done. Congratulations! If you're drawing in 2:1 or higher, it isn't ready yet. We have to bring it down to scale.
8: THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT!!! MAKE A COPY OF THE LARGE DIAGRAM AND SAVE A BACK-UP!!! Put it in a special folder and never lose it!!!!
I cannot stress that enough!!
In addition to saving back-ups of completed diagrams, I usually save back-ups of the diagram before putting on its actual colours.
To scale it, I use Irfanview. But you can use Paint, as well. It's very easy!
Press [ctrl]+[w], and if you're drawing in a 2:1, enter 50% to both fields. In a 4:1 scale, use 25%. Then hit enter, and you get this:
(NOTE: If it turns out really bad looking, try scaling it 51%, and then make some minor adjustments to the diagram if it's too tall.
The diagram system uses .gif format images with transparent backgrounds. The first step to making this file is to make all the parts that are supposed to be transparent some sort of outlandish colour. I chose lime green.
Then, using an image editor with transparent capabilities, save a .gif version of the diagram and set the lime green to be transparent. I use Irfanview. (Press ctrl+s, save it as a gif. A window comes up; click on the lime green.)
Once you've done that, you'll get this:
Now the little bit of lime green on top is gone, and it can be uploaded! We're finished!
Also note that the diagram system accepts larger .png versions of images. You can make that by saving the original bitmap image in paint as a .png, or you can use irfanview.
1: Draw what you see!!
If you don't see it, don't draw it. If it's too detailed, shrink the image of the building you're using to see what it looks like when it's really small, and see if that helps.
2: Colours can be tricky. If you open the image of the building in paint, you can use the eye dropper tool on parts of the building's façade to get as close to the actual colours as possible. You can tweak them a bit in the colour editor as well, as they aren't always exact colours.
3: Start with simple, shorter boxy buildings. Get some practice and work your way up to more complex diagrams.
My first diagram:
Programmes I use:
. Irfanview is a very simple and easy to use image viewer. It has a wide variety of tools that allow you to alter the diagram to make it more (or less) realistic.
(We don't actually use edge detection in the diagrams, that's just an example.)
I usually use Irfanview for: Scaling, adding noise or sharpening, and altering the colours of the diagram.
. It's like photoshop, but free! (But you also have to install the .NET Framwork 2.0, and that can take a bit of time. It is worth it, though.) Paint.NET has tonnes of features. I usually use it to do windows, add noise or sharpening, alter colours, and add transparent features, if there are any. It has a bigger learning curve than Irfanview and Paint, but once you figure it out it becomes an invaluable tool.
You can use either programme to fiddle with the diagram to get it to look right. BUT DON'T FORGET TO SAVE BACK-UPS!!
If you have any questions or comments, you can post it here, in my diagram thread, send me a PM or email (vidioman -at- gmail.com), or contact me on msn (vidisigns -at- hotmail.com) and I'll help any way I can.
And for a lark, here is an example of what one of my diagrams looked like before adding on the actual colours: