Orthographic projection is a vital part of any architectural workflow, and every stage of the design process can benefit from an orthographic rendering. Use a floor plan to communicate the space to your client early on, and then convince them of the project with elevation views from any angle.
Previously, setting up an orthographic projection could be time-consuming and even added cumbersome steps to the architect’s workflow. Now, Enscape makes it easier than ever to render these views in striking clarity.
In this blog post, we’ll cover not only how to create orthographic views in Enscape, but also how to use them most effectively in architectural plans. To help us with this, we brought in an expert: architectural designer Steven Garubba of Criterion Workshop.
Setting up orthographic views in Enscape
You can set up your rendering viewport for an orthographic projection right in the Enscape window. Notice the projection options in the top right corner of the screen. If you don’t see the buttons initially, don’t worry! Try switching the Help overlay on by pressing the H key on your keyboard.
Left: Help overlay in Enscape. Right: Expanded menu showing perspective options
Hovering your mouse over the button expands the overlay, and you’ll see that you have three options: perspective, two-point, or orthographic. Selecting orthographic will immediately adjust your Enscape window to that projection.
In the default perspective view, shown below, objects further from the viewer appear smaller, as they would if you were looking into the distance in real life.
In an orthographic projection, shown below, the objects in the distance do not appear smaller, making it easier to show proportions in a clear fashion.
When you enable orthographic projection, you will also have an additional set of controls for navigating around your project; once you enter the orthographic view, the Help overlay will change to show these.
By using the NumPad keys 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 you will be able to quickly navigate between the front, left side, top, right side, and back view of the project respectively. This makes it simple to switch between different perspectives of the project. If you are using Enscape with Revit, ArchiCAD or Vectorworks, this is the easiest way to navigate to and from orthographic views.
In Enscape for SketchUp, you can also set up an orthographic projection by matching your SketchUp viewport to your Enscape window.
First synchronize the SketchUp and Enscape cameras via the button in the Enscape ribbon with a camera and blue arrow pointing anti-clockwise. Then navigate to SketchUp’s Camera dropdown menu and select Parallel Projection.
Now the SketchUp and Enscape windows are both in orthographic view, and when you navigate in SketchUp, the Enscape window is synced and will follow along.
In Enscape for Rhino, the same is possible. First synchronize the Rhino and Enscape cameras via the button in the Enscape ribbon with a camera and blue arrow pointing anti-clockwise.
Then in the Rhino menu, navigate to View -> Set View, and you can select one of the following orthographic views: Top, Bottom, Left, Right, Front and Back.
Working with section perspectives
Working with your CAD’s native tools, you can also easily create sectioned views and floor plans.
Navigating to a top-down orthographic projection and applying a section box creates an easy to understand floor plan of any building.
Navigating to a side projection allows you to create elevation views. Add a section box, and you can clearly communicate both exterior and interior elevations.
Left: Exterior elevation of a residence. Right: Interior view created using a section box
Case study: Orthographic projection in action
Recently, architectural designer and Enscape Forum user Steven Garubba took some time and shared the importance of orthographic views to his workflow with us.
Steven, who heads up Criterion Workshop with his wife Kylie, designed a concept project for a medical marijuana dispensary in Arizona.
The retail space contained a variety of different areas, each with different functions, from the reception desk, to the public shopping areas, to the staff kitchen and growing sections.
Creating a photorealistic rendering of a specific area of a space can be a compelling way to convey details or atmosphere.
At many stages of the design process however, it can be just as important to show clearly how the space works. During the dispensary project, this is where orthographic projection came in handy. As Steven put it: “in order to convey all of those programs in a retail space, I needed to show that as convincingly as possible and the best way, in my opinion, was too show a birds-eye rendering.“
According to Steven, it’s more common that you would expect that investors and clients have trouble understanding 2D views. When this happens, he adds orthographic views to his design boards, “to show clients [and] investors the whole set of interior spaces diagrammatically.” Using Enscape, you can create this effect in seconds by using a combination of orthographic perspective and a section box.
Oftentimes during the design process, it can be necessary to submit exclusively 2D elevations or plans, for instance to zoning or planning boards. Steven, who primarily designs in SketchUp, was previously forced to add a step to his process, “using programs such as AutoCAD to redraw everything that we already modeled.” Using Enscape now eliminates this cumbersome step. As Steven simply puts it: “having the ability to use orthographic mode saves an immense amount of time.”
Simple, effective presentation
As a tool for clear communication of space and design, orthographic projection is unmatched. When clients or investors have trouble understanding flat design plans, a rendered orthographic projection can convey the functions of the space with one look. When a 2D elevation is required for design submissions, Enscape eliminates the need to sketch the modeled project in 2D. Rendering orthographic views directly in Enscape has allowed Steven Garubba to accelerate his workflow and convince his clients – what will they do for you?
Bio: Helen Reinold is part of the Customer Service team at Enscape. Since joining the company in 2018, she has also regularly contributed articles to the blog. She strives to not only solve users’ problems, but also elevate their experiences and results.