Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hollywood Bowl in Sketchup

For reasons I'd rather not dwell on right now, I needed to build a sketchup replica of the Hollywood Bowl this week... well, almost a replica - this was to be a future version...

In order to replicate some photographs, I needed to be fairly accurate. So first I did a search for the overall dimensions, which are, according to the article I found, 60' x 130' for the largest truss.

During the search, luckily I found this satellite view of the Hollywood Bowl, courtesy of the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

I imported the satellite image into sketchup, and from the very blurry image made some guesses as to the sizes of things, based mainly on that one dimension I had, and some other images from wikipedia to get a sense of the proportion of things.

Once I'd laid out the rough geometry of it, I was clear to start building the main elements. Initially I tried a couple of inner 'fin' versions but none were quite right.
Even though I was working at full size, I couldn't fit enough of them in, so my Hollywood Bowl (one of the future by the way!) has fewer fins than the real one.

For me, one of the most useful tools in sketchup for creating interesting and difficult shapes is the "follow me" tool. Define a flat shape, create a path and drag the flat shape along it to create your complex 3D object.

The seating in the amphitheatre would be impossible to create simply in sketchup without the "follow me" tool.

I added some simple 'tower' elements I'd already designed quickly. These were never intended to be particularly inventive or stylish, they were simply supposed to vary the look a little from the current Hollywood Bowl. Finally, I added the screens and some rough blocks to represent the surrounding buildings.

...only, I'd forgotten the darn lighting rig! Again, "follow me" was my friend in creating this element too.
Hooray! I have my own 3D posable Hollywood Bowl - I'll probably never need it again and in my opinion, you'd never know the trouble I went to from the artwork I've produced...

...having said that, the power of a having 3D environments that I can move, alter aspects of and change camera angles within makes my life a lot easier if I'm using something for multiple panels in a strip.
I think that I probably spend a little too much time in sketchup, creating objects and environments, but I'm never sorry when I can drop a complex object into my page layout and know I've got all the perspective correct... well, until I spoil it all by drawing the figures all wrong.

1 comment:

matt dawson said...

So you can add the architect string to your bow now too! The saga of the Hollywood Bowl makes for a great blog post and a superb illustration of what you are capable of in seemingly 'mundane' research, and what sketchup (I keep seeing "ketchups" when I see that written) can do for the illustrator. If my work called for it I think I'd try and persevere with the programme... as it is, what little I've tried, drove me nutty! As always, inspirational and jaw dropping work amigo!