Our goal is to make the best possible stage design, from creative concept to reality.  Here is how we do it:

Background Information:

A) Input Meeting(s)

Meetings via phone, Skype, email input, or better yet, in person.  We will listen to your concepts, goals and objectives and help you to create a live experience that enhances your vision.  The team at Designsmith understands that reality not only includes creative ideas, but also budget, build time, venue constrictions and other logistical concerns.  We want to understand as many of these parameters as possible at the onset of the design process.

B) Research, Style Boards

Once goals and objectives have been established, the next step is visual research.  Ideas are pulled from magazines, trade publications, art research, web research and other reference material.  If appropriate, mood boards or research style pages are created in order to communicate a broad design direction.

C) Rough Drawings

After a general direction is approved then rough drawings are created.  These take on many forms from “napkin sketches” to computer aided wireframe line drawings, or graphic comps.  The goal of this phase is to quickly communicate the forms and beginnings of the physical elements of the design.  Rough drawings including preliminary ground plans are done for spatial studies, seating studies and sightline analyses as needed.

D) Three Dimensional Computer Aided Drafting (3D CAD)

This is a bulk of the “behind the scenes” work that we do.  3D models of the venue, the products and the scenic elements, based on the rough or preliminary design drawings, are drawn.  The CAD files usually become very detailed in order to be used to generate the deliverables below:

E) Deliverables

Deliverables are the outputted drawings and materials used for end client presentation.

i) Rendered Sketches
Scenes are rendered from the 3D CAD model to create still sketches that capture not only the physicality of the set design, but also the mood and feeling from lighting and other environmental factors.  Our method of rendering in Autodesk 3ds Max and applying finishes in Photoshop can generate a dramatic photo-realistic result.

ii) Ground Plans
Ground Plans or floor plans are done at this point to help communicate how the elements of the design relate to each other in the space or venue. Often several plans are drawn to illustrate multiple configurations of scenery or seating.

iii) Graphics Comps (if necessary)
Low Resolution Graphic comps can be delivered if the design includes stage graphics or if Designsmith develops a theme graphic.

Other deliverables can be added to the presentation.  See the list of services for more details.

F) Client Feedback, Revise Design

After the design presentation to the end client we will meet again to discuss the end client’s reactions and input to the design.  Revisions will be made to the design, 3D CAD model, ground plans, sketches and graphics as necessary.  Rounds of revisions are repeated until a final design has been approved.

G) Designer Drafting Package

The next stage is to draw detailed drafting elevations.  The drafting includes composite plates such as ground plans, sections and front elevations.  Also included are element detail plates drawn to communicate finishes, sizes, construction methods, lighting integration, moldings and other details of the design.  A typical drafting package has elevation details for a stage deck, video screens, scenic walls, lecterns, draperies and all other constructed scenic elements.

H) High Resolution Graphics (if necessary)

High Resolution Graphics are created from the approved low resolution comps.  The high resolution graphics are delivered in Illustrator or Photoshop formats depending on the final application.  Our graphics have been printed at over one hundred and twenty feet wide and on many substrates including fabric, translucent, vinyl, Plexiglas and others.

I) Vendor Communication, Bids

Designsmith associates will have meetings with the fabrication vendors to help them to understand the design.  We work with each vendor to refine construction methods and finishes to meet logistical and budget parameters.  As an optional service Designsmith can help with the bid process including vendor recommendations, bid letters and bid outlines.

J) Shop Visit

A member of the Designsmith team can make shop visits to oversee the construction of scenic pieces.  This is highly advised for larger scale projects to ensure high construction quality and design aesthetics.

K) Load-in, Art Direction for Installation

The project designer or an associate can attend the load-in or installation of the project.  Our associates aid with onsite adjustment decisions and decoration.

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