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Investigation of Digital Three-Dimensional Representation: Results of a Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement Grant

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Architectural Design Topics in Architectural Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.825.1 - 24.825.14



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Paper Authors


Shahnaz J. Aly Western Kentucky University

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Shahnaz Aly, LEED AP, M. Arch. is a Registered Architect in India and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences at Western Kentucky University. She has ten years of professional experience in the architecture and construction industry in residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. She has five years of experience in teaching and research in areas of architectural design, sustainable design, construction documentation, historic preservation and service-learning.

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Heli Shah Western Kentucky University

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Investigation of Digital Three-Dimensional Representation: Results of a Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement GrantThe language of architecture is expressed in the drawings that are used to conceptualizestructures. For students as well as professionals, design language alternates between three-dimensional and two-dimensional representations. Three-dimensional graphics is the mediummost suited for use by clients while professionals are expected to switch seamlessly betweenthree-dimensional and two-dimensional representations at various points during project designand execution depending on the situation. It logically follows that for students a vital part of theirtraining is learning to work with two-dimensional as well as three-dimensional representations.An internal faculty-undergraduate student grant received at the university towards the study oftools and techniques used in creating a three-dimensional visualization of a given structure hasenabled us to conduct an indepth investigation of programs and techniques used to create andrender three-dimensional representations.An important and integral part of the generation/ creation of a three-dimensional model is therendering process that the model undergoes. A good analogy can be taken from manufacturing;the barebones three-dimensional model can be compared to a cast part while the renderingprocess is the machining analog. One follows the other. The objective of rendering a model is tointroduce various elements of realism such as texture, lighting, sun angles and reflections. Theseare some of the most important aspects of visualizing a given model. This paper looks at the thetechniques used to create a three-dimensional model and examines in greater detail renderingtools and approaches used for the created three-dimensional model.The visualization process begins with the creation of a three-dimensional model. Once the three-dimensional model has been completed, a variety of rendering software available will beexperimented with. This paper will look at the process of creating the three-dimensional modeland compare the rendering programs used with respect to (1) steps required to setup the view tobe rendered (ease of learning), (2) time taken to produce graphics, and (3) and quality of grahicsgenerated. Quantitative as well as qualitative data will be collected from this study. Quantitativedata will be collected by observing and recording two of the above mentioned parameters (stepsrequired to setup view and graphic generation time). Qualitative data will take the form ofanalysis of the three-dimensional model in terms of the process used to create the model and theend result in the form of graphics created. The renderings generated using available programswill also form part of the qualitative data, which will describe the process involved in using theprograms, difficulties encountered, expected outcomes and final outcomes based on the imagescreated.

Aly, S. J., & Shah, H. (2014, June), Investigation of Digital Three-Dimensional Representation: Results of a Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement Grant Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20717

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