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There is something beautiful about a sketch that goes beyond personal expression. Sketches are intentionally loose, sometimes rough and almost invariably incomplete. Like words in a book, they leave space for the viewer to visualize, adding their own details and infilling image gaps in color, shape and form with their individual imaginations.

The jump to ever-more-realistic, three-dimensional renderings has opened up a whole new world of rapidly-produced, infinitely-malleable models that can be set in different contexts with any material, texture or lighting levels you could hope for. The strength of these possibilities, however, holds the seed of their weaknesses as well.

Photographic realism completes the picture for a client in perfect detail, but perfection can be a limitation as it leaves little room for interpretation and can look like a finished product that cannot be changed (rather than a work in progress).

Here are some examples of lovely, lifelike and artistic representations that may or may not go too far toward imitating reality, depending on their purpose (and one’s point of view).

As this miniseries progresses, we will cover other kinds of 3D drawings and techniques, but for now enjoy a tasty sample – snack on some food for thought (and a bit of eye candy for desert), and consider what each presentation attempts to accomplish.

Are they trying to sell someone on a modern minimalist mansion or help them envision a fairy-tail dream home? Is the emphasis on pristine perfection, or are chaotic  and natural forces allowed to temper otherwise-pure forms, truer to real life?