Sketch to 3D: A Chair Design Exploration

Jun 4, 2024

Throughout history, the chair has been a staple for designers, constantly reinterpreted through their unique perspectives. Crafting a good chair balances form, proportions, ergonomics, and manufacturing techniques. This challenge led team member Chris Ference to consider how Vizcom’s rendering and 3D capabilities could enhance the design process and enable him to create a chair in just two days.

The exploration focused on creating rotomolded and injection molded chairs suitable for outdoor or dining settings. The process began with rough sketches, then transitioned into Vizcom to visualize ideas in higher fidelity. This approach allowed for the identification of strong concepts, the elimination of weaker ones, and continued ideation with greater intention and focus.

Through rounds of generating 3D forms, sketching over them, and generating new images, a deeper understanding of the desired chair design was achieved. Evaluating a number of 3D prints provided a new way to review and critique the work. The ability to hold the sketch in physical form was a unique aspect of the workflow that was found invaluable.

Throughout the process, the aim was to create designs with a clear relationship between all elements of the chair, including the front legs, seat, backrest, and back feet. While drawing the side view of a chair, it was challenging to understand how this perspective would relate to the front and connect with the legs. The seat was envisioned as seamlessly connecting to the back and curving into the legs. By generating a 3D version of the sketch, a clearer understanding of how to resolve the form was gained.

Using the generated 3D object, consistent representations of the idea were achieved from various angles. Viewing the chair in its space through augmented reality also allowed for validation of proportions and seeing the chair at scale.

In just 48 hours, Chris was able to ideate, refine, 3D print, and go through several iterations of the chair. With traditional tools, he might have been constrained by the extensive time required for visualization and development, limiting his ability to create multiple unique ideas. Sketching as a basis for image and 3D generation makes the ideation process feel seamless for designers. Overall, this exercise not only demonstrates the power of Vizcom but also provides a compelling glimpse into how designers could work in more natural and intuitive ways.