LA 2101 . Advanced Digital Representation

Instructor . Peter Summerlin

Teaching Assistant . Audrey Cropp . Office Hours: Tuesday, 2:00-3:30

Teaching Assistant . Ju Liu . Office Hours: Thursday, 4:30-6:00

Class Meeting Time: MWF 11:30-1:30

College of Art and Design Room 301


This course intends to present you with contemporary methods of digi­tal representation for landscape architects. There will be an intensive exploration of the methodologies, techniques, and theories occurring in digital representation in contemporary practice. The projects will also explore appropriate computer graphics (CG) techniques in other visual arts industries in order to expand our repertoire of skills. The pedagogy will focus on creating images and animations from 3d modeling and compositing software. There will also be an intense focus on the art of storytelling as it pertains to representation.

Learning Objectives

  1. identify and apply appropriate methods for site documentation for translation into digital models and illustrations;
  2. create a measured digital model from surveyed drawings, precedents and/or site inventory;
  3. apply knowledge from 3D modeling software to develop landscape and architectural forms;
  4. classify and explain intricacies of landscape data models;
  5. demonstrate knowledge of landscape data models through applicable representation formats;
  6. apply file linking paradigms to large scale projects;
  7. develop storyboards necessary to explain complex landscape systems, design intent, and supported research and analysis;
  8. create animated representations of dynamic processes;
  9. develop a presentation package using animation, still imagery and/or interactive elements.


You will need to have your own computer for this course. This can either be a laptop or desktop computer that will run windows or OS X. If you are running OS X you will not be able to use 3ds max and AutoCAD unless you use boot camp to boot into windows, this will require you to take some extra steps to get work done. The CADGIS lab in the College of Art and Design has some software that can be used for the assignments in this course.

Your computer will need a video card that is compliant with either di­rect x or open gl in order to run 3ds max properly.


Because there is a large range of software that can accomplish similar tasks, it is possible to use many different 3d modeling and image editing software packages. In this course there will be a combination of lectures, demos, and labs. The lectures will be more general and will cover the theories and technologies of digital representation. The labs will focus on specific techniques in Autodesk 3ds max or other recommended software for this course.

3ds max 2012 (Windows Only)

Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium CS5 or CS6 (Windows and OS X) Available from Journey Ed or Academic Superstore

Civil 3d 2011 (Windows Only) OPTIONAL

AutoCAD 2011 (Windows Only) OPTIONAL

Quicktime (Windows and OS X)

VLC Media Player (Windows and OS X)

Handbrake (Windows and OS X)


When projects are posted they will also have corresponding links to tutorials and examples. Pay close attention to these examples as they will provide additional resources that may not be presented in class.

Students will also need to sign up for the lab.FORUM in order to interact with the professor, teaching assistants and fellow classmates. This space will be used to ask specific questions regarding software issues and techniques.

It will be important that you begin to utilize the keyboard shortcuts, the most frequently used shortcuts can be found here. LA 2101 Basic Keyboard Shortcuts. A more comprehensive list of shortcuts can be found on the Autodesk Website.



Modeling the Environment: Techniques and Tools for the 3D Illustration of Dynamic Landscapes


Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture: Contemporary Techniques and Tools for Digital Representation in Site Design

Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design

Other Readings


It is mandatory that you keep up with weekly assignments. Late or in­complete assignments are not acceptable.

Because of the volatility of digital media it is important that you keep a backup of your work in a safe place at all times. It is recommended that you keep a copy on your local hard drive as well as a backup on CD/DVD Rom, external hard drive and/or flash drive. Never use a flash drive as the only place to store your data, a flash drive is a device to transfer information from one hard drive to an­other and should be used accordingly. Losing your information because of a computer failure is NOT an excuse for turning in a late project.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have access to the CADGIS server and the shared space available there. All assignments will be delivered to the server and collateral material will be available there.


Attendance is mandatory for the scheduled duration of the class sessions (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30-1:30). More than three unexcused absences may constitute grounds for placement on attendance probation (see Attendance Regulations in the LSU General Catalog). Since most class meetings or general discussions will take place at the beginning of the class period it is important that all students arrive in the classroom promptly at 11:30. Arriving late or leaving early, unless authorized by the instructor, will be considered an unexcused absence.

It is unacceptable to be working on outside projects, browsing extraneous websites and/or updating your status during class time on either your laptop, phone or tablet. Any student observed in any of these activities will be marked absent for the day.


Each student’s final grade will be determined by the student’s progress and final product of each project. This includes the quality of interaction, production, craft, content, and presentation of the student’s work. Students must engage in active discussions regarding the progress of their work. Projects will not be accepted that haven’t been reviewed by the instructor. Late and incomplete work will not be accepted unless the student has a valid excused absence. Students will be expected to participate in all class/online discussions, field trips, and reviews. Participation is critical for your progress in the course and is therefore required.

Final course grade will be determined according to the following course work:

Total = Cumulative Points for the Course Work 100.0%