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VCD Yr10 AOS 2 Plans and 3d drawing

Plans, elevations and planometric.

Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to;

  • Understand and apply 'scale',
  • Interpret 3 dimensional information and translate it to 2 dimensional information,
  • Use manual and digital methods to create plans and elevations to scale.
  • Use manual and digital methods to create 'planometric' drawings.

What you will do

In this unit you will learn how to create architectural plans and elevations to scale. You will use the model you made to inspire you to create a more formal version of your building in detail.

You will then learn how to use the 'Planometric' drawing system to visualise your building structure in 3 dimensions. 

You will work with manual and digital techniques.

In this unit you will create visualisation and presentation drawings.

This unit is from the environmental design field.

Quick menu

Model answer 2d

Plans and elevations of my festival ATM.

Model answer 3d

A simple planometric drawing of the same ATM structure.

Learning intentions

Learning intentions should be set at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals during the task.

Read through the content on this page. Discuss what you think could be learnt and form them into three 'learning intentions'.  Use sentences like, 'I will learn about making 3d drawings', or I will learn about 'media codes'.

Write your three learning intentions.

For advanced learning intentions, go with 3 different levels. 

  • 1 - What you will learn. (For example, the media code of camera describes the techniques camera operators use to record a scene)
  • 2 - How what you will learn can be used to create meaning or structure. (For example, camera techniques are combined with sound and/ or editing to create suspense).
  • 3 - How could your understanding of the learning be extended or related to other learnings. (For example, the use of camera has changed over the years and the invention of digital formats have allowed anyone to become cinema photographers)

Success criteria

Success criteria should be negotiated between students and their teacher. The class group agrees about what is successful completion of the task. Identification of success criteria is done at the commencement of each unit, then at regular intervals.

Now that you are familiar with what you will learn in this task, it's time to lock in how you will be able to demonstrate that you know it, or can do it. 

Write three success criteria, using sentences like the examples in the next column.

I will demonstrate that I have mastered the learning by;

  • 1 - I Can identify all of the camera techniques used in the selected clip.
  • 2 - I can use a camera to film clips in the ways I have identified.
  • 3 - I can explain how camera is combined with other codes to create meaning in a narrative.

Architectural drawing

How do architects draw?

In this section we will explore the purpose and layout of architectural drawing.

Plans and elevations

Architects and environmental designers all use 2 dimensional drawings for their projects. These drawings are know as 'Plans and Elevations'. 

Each project will require many drawings. They will be at different scales and have different amounts of details, depending on the purpose. 

You can find more information about environmental drawing for Visual Communication Design by accessing the VCAA Technical Drawing Specifications 2018. Press the image at right to download a copy.

A professional architect's plan

Image caption.

task 1

1.1 Investigation

Look carefully at the plan shown above. Discuss and write down all the visual features that you think have been used to describe the proposed building.

If you are familiar with '3rd Angle Orthogonal drawing', describe any similarities or differences you can find in the drawing conventions (rules).

Identify what you think the purpose of the drawing might be and the target audience. Why?

Describe them in your visual diary.


scale and symbols

Understanding scale

Environmental drawings represent big things. These objects need to be drawn (or printed) on paper that is much smaller than the objects themselves. In this section you will learn how to select a scale and shrink things down so they fit evenly on your page.
Take a look at the pictures below. They are taken from the VCAA Technical Drawing Specifications, referenced above. Access this document and refer to the actual pages shown in these thumbnails.

Architectural scale in use

Page 32.
Page 33.
Page 34.

tasks 2

2.1 Exploring scale discussion

Discuss 'what is scale?' What could '1 to 50' mean? Measure the length of this class room. Write it down. Now figure out what would this dimension be if you used a scale of 1:100? How long would you draw the room on your piece of paper, at that scale? Draw it and see what it looks like? Add a table.

2.2 Finding sizes

Make a list of ten things you think you might need to know the sizes of if you are going to draw a plan of the building you made your model of in the last task.

When you measure things up, don't forget to write down length, width and heights. Draw some little pictures and annotate the object's dimensions.

Your list could include;

  • a toilet,
  • a washbasin,
  • a wall,
  • a table.
2.3 How big is it in scale?

Now that you have a list of ten items you need convert their dimensions to scaled objects. This means work out how big you will need to draw them in drawings set to standard architectural scales. For a list of standard scales, see the Technical Drawings resource.

Create a table like the one on Page 32 that tells you how big to draw them at the scale of 1:50. This is the scale we will use in our project.

Four stages for measurement

Measurement can be really tricky, especially if you haven't done much before. Let's try a couple of exercises to get your hand in.

To help you learn to understand size and visualise dimensions in your drawings, try these exercises.

How big is it?

Measure some objects. Try the height and width of a bin, the length of a table, the width of a bench. Use a metre ruler or tape measure and write the sizes down. Get used to figures in millimetres.

How big is 'how big is it'?

Think of some dimensions. For example; 50, 200, 600, 450 millimetres. Make these sizes with your two hands. Get a partner to check your estimations. Get used to what sizes look like.

But how big is it in scale?

Here it gets more difficult. In this task we are working at 1:50. Practice converting all the sizes we tried above to 1:50. How do we do it quickly? Simple divide the number by 100 then double the answer. Try some numbers now. 

How big does it look on the page?

Now measure and draw rectangles using some of the sizes at scale.

How can I control how big things are on my computer?

Later you will be drawing on Adobe Illustrator. Learn how to set the width and height of rectangles with the fields at the top of your screen. Practice changing the fields with the 'lock proportions' on and off.

Symbols in plans

The items you have identified in your list of ten need to be drawn simply and clearly. Look back at the plan shown in the 'Model Answer' and in the Technical Drawing Specifications to see how architects draw things. You are going to make more formal drawings of each of your ten objects.

tasks 2

2.4 Symbol page

Make one A3 page of symbols to represent your ten objects at 1:50 scale. Rule them neatly and identify them in annotations. Don't forget to include examples of walls, doors, windows in your symbols page.


Making plans

Back to the model

Using manual methods
In this section we will use the model we made in the last task to inspire us to create plans for a building within the strict limitations we learnt about last task.

In this section we will use the model we made in the last task to inspire us to create plans for a building within the strict limitations we learnt about last task.

You will find you need to change your ideas to get them to fit in the space restrictions. That's ok. You can work from your ideas and use them in your new form.


Don't forget

Your building must be no bigger than 6 x 3 metres (your roof is allowed to stick out a bit), and must have one internal space accessed through a door.

This is so your plans will fit on one sheet of A3 paper.

Photograph your model

A view of the front.
A view of the side.

Sketch plan


Here is a sketch plan of my model as constructed. I have shown all the walls that touch the floor and the roofs above.

I drew the plan the same size as the model, I didn't worry about scale at this stage.

Really sketchy plan

This is how the PLAN view started out on a previous model. It can be really loose, as long as you are getting your ideas down.
A view from the front.

tasks 3

3.1 Getting a handle on a Plan

Photograph and print pictures of your model. Stick them into your visual diary.

3.2 Refining your ideas

Draw a sketch plan with pencil on paper of the way you want your building to be. You may modify the plan from what you created in your model.

Don't worry about scale here. The purpose of this drawing is to help you to understand the 'walls' in the model and then to learn how they would be represented in a plan. However, you will need to be increasingly mindful of exactly how much stuff you can really get into such a small space.

Use pencil then go over the drawing in fineliner. In the next step you will learn how to get your building within the restrictions shown above.

observing the restrictions

Using digital methods
You may find that your model is far too big to fit within the size restrictions given. In this stage we are going to cut it down to size.

I went straight onto computer for this stage. Your teacher may want you to create a hand drawn plan first. That's ok, either way is ok. 

The intention of this section is to reduce the size of our overall structure but still retain the inspiration of the model. 

You will work at 1:50. Can you work out how big 6m x 3m is at this scale? This is the size that the floor of your building must fit within.

Drafting in Adobe Illustrator


A screen shot of how I used the photos of my model to inspire a much reduced building to serve the same purpose as my original model.

Line styles and conventions

As you will be aware, architectural drawings need to be clear and precise as they form part of a building contract. This means they must be drawn, using standard kinds of lines that everyone involved with the design and building process will understand. 

Standard ways to draw is called 'conventions' and applies to all forms of technical drawing - including those used in environmental design. 

Take a look at line types used on P31 of the VCAA Technical Drawing Specifications.


tasks 3

Making your sheet of plans
3.3 Create plan

Creat a new file in Adobe Illustrator.  Choose A3 for your 'artboard' size.

Create your 6m x 3m base PLAN at scale. I made mine 120mm x 60mm. This is at 1:50 scale. It seems small but it is the perfect size to fit your whole drawing with dimensions and title box on one A3 sheet.

Begin with the walls without windows, doors or symbols in the PLAN view.

Make the walls from black rectangles that are 4mm wide. This seems too thick but represents external walls of 200mm thickness at 1:50. Show internal walls with empty rectangles at 2mm wide.

When you have got the outlines all working, add the windows, doors and symbols.

Be careful to follow the correct line styles and conventions for environmental drawing.

3.4 Create elevations

Create two exterior ELEVATIONS. Position the PLAN over your first ELEVATION then rotate the plan to help with your second ELEVATION.

Be careful to have all the lines correspond in each view. Work to the same scale to show the heights of walls and roof.

Be careful to follow the correct line styles and conventions for environmental drawing.

3.5 Dimensions

Now that you have your basic plan with details and symbols, it's time to add dimensions. Create a new layer and begin to draw dimension lines for the major overall dimensions. 

3.6 Title box

To finish, add a title box and information on your project drawing. 

See images below for examples.

Plans stage 1


A screen shot of the PLAN and ELEVATIONS taking shape. Note I have added doors, windows and symbols to my drawing.

Plans stage 2 and 3


A screen shot of the completed plan as shown above. Note the labels, dimensions and title information including scale, sheet size, north point, author, date drawn and project title. 


3 dimensional drawing


Planometric manual

In this section of the course we will look at our building structure from another angle. In Visual Communication Design the correct 3 dimensional paraline drawing system is 'Planometric' drawing. We will use our plan to assist making a drawing using this method.
In this section of the course we will look at our building structure from another angle. In Visual Communication Design the correct 3 dimensional paraline drawing system is 'Planometric' drawing. We will use our plan to assist making a drawing using this method.

Did you know?

Industrial design and environmental design both have different 3 dimensional paraline drawing systems in Visual Communication Design.

  • Industrial design uses 'isometric' set at 60/30 degrees.
  • Environmental design uses 'planometric' set at 45/45 degrees.

Planometric manual drawing

Begin by drawing your plan, rotated to a 45 degree angle.
Next, using the elevation to guide you on relevant heights, start to raise up the walls of your design. Take care to only draw the walls you will see.
Complete your drawing by heavying in the outlines you need. If you want to have presentation drawing, trace it on the light box.

tasks 4

4.1 Planometric manual drawing

Using a sheet of A3 paper, complete a manual planometric drawing of your building structure.

Remember to work very light with a really sharp pencil from the start. You will develop a lot of lines so we need to be able to see the form without them being too heavy and distracting.

Planometric computer

The most effective way to produce a presentation drawing that is both clean, accurate and is able to be coloured and re-scaled is to do it on computer. We will learn to use Adobe Illustrator, a vector drawing program to control the angle of our lines and produce shapes that can be filled.

Follow the steps below with your teacher to complete your drawing.

Planometric computer

Create a new layer and past in a copy of your plan (produced in the steps above). Rotate the plan 45 degrees.
Identify the corners from where your walls will rise.
Create a new layer again. Now measure the heights of your walls in your elevations. Using the 'transform' palette line tool, create vertical lines of the length you need. Make these lines in a contrasting colour. Don't be afraid to overlap lines. These will not be seen in the final work. Make the lines thin - I did mine in 0.1 mm thick stroke, this is to ensure that I get it accurate.
Continue until you have constructed all the features of your structure.
When you have finished all the outlines, create another new layer. On this layer you will re-draw the drawing as shapes. Lock all the other layers. Now using the 'pen' tool click in each corner to produce each shape. Use a 0.1 mm stroke and a white fill. You can overlap shapes and send them to the back of the layers when needed.
The finished drawing has all the construction layers turned off, the stroke set to 0.25 mm and printed.

tasks 4

4.2 Planometric computer drawing

Follow the steps shown above to create your own computer drawn version of your structure. Print it an place it in your folio.


Evaluation and deeper learning

In this section we will think about the learning we have done. We will review the main topics and evaluate our learning. Follow the steps in the tasks shown here to prepare your folio for presentation and grading.
What have I learnt?

Answer the following questions (on paper or if you use a computer, print them and stick them into your visual diary).

  1. Describe, what is scale and what is it's purpose in architectural drawings?
  2. What are the purposes of architectural drawings?
  3. Who are architectural drawings made for (target audience)?
  4. What is meant by the term 'conventions' in regard to architectural drawing?
  5. Why is following conventions properly in drawings important?
  6. What is a 'North Point' and why is it used on a drawing?
  7. Why is 'sheet size' and important piece of information to put on a drawing?
  8. Complete the 'Ratings' section to help improve this course.
Putting it together

Find where you wrote up what you thought the success criteria might be. Check that you have done something for all of the steps you wrote down.

Photograph and print pictures of your model. Put them in your visual diary and annotate them. Complete all the steps shown on this page.

Check the assessment criteria below to see if you have prepared your folio for each criteria. If not, take the time to complete each section.

Hand up your work on the due date as instructed.


Evaluation and deeper learning
Complete the evaluation, deeper learning and rating tasks as shown above.

Assessment criteria

The extent to which the student: 

  1. Completes exercises to help understand scale and architectural symbols,
  2. Uses manual methods to visualise scale, layout and line conventions prior to using digital methods,
  3. Uses digital methods to produce a presentation drawing following architectural conventions including dimensions, labeling, annotating and titles,
  4. Uses manual and digital methods to produce a planometric drawings of the building structure,
  5. Answers the evaluation questions meaningfully with appropriate design language.

Please note: To achieve good marks in criteria based assessment you must remember to include some work for each part of the task required. Spread your time evenly across the task.