The scene was quite odd. An apartment development advertisement in the newspapers shows a woman's image superimposed in the foreground of a room with its balcony beyond showing a replicated tower of an ancient city from Europe. The woman's eye level is positioned in such a way that she looks taller than a man. The horizon line beyond the balcony was missing replaced by the tower suggesting that it is somehow slanting away from the viewer. All three layers of perspective - foreground, middle ground and background, have different vanishing point positions, or three different horizon line levels, which suggests the illustrator or the persons producing the image is not aware of this visual cues for a realistic sense. The architecture and significance of style of the project is also questionable, however that's another issue all together.
A drawing is a lie of some sorts. We create these lies in order to tell some truths about something. It leaves you a direct interpretation of something that the illustrator is trying to say. Le Corbusier said, "I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies". The viewer fails to see the truth if an incomplete picture is intentional created for deception for dubious gains. When the illustration comes close to the truth and skillfully done, it becomes not only a visual art piece, it transports you to see a realm of a utopian city, where people dream, work, and play. It is a vision every city strives for and yet without realizing these ideals, citizens fail to see the beauty of a city. Perhaps designers should be more aware of such matters as the custodians of the ideal and the medium of visuals are the most effective in conveying them. Therefore the designers' level of image making or visionary illustration should be that of the highest form possible.
Digital images are getting easier to record or create. Still, we need to remember that the principles of the old arts like the golden rule, sense of perspectives still apply in creating images. We cannot leave to the less sensitive illustrators the responsibility of creating visions of our environments. Architectural illustration has the higher purpose of showing us the emotional truths of our built world.
Architecture after all is a forced art whereby it people have to look and live with it everyday. The art of illustrating architecture is a way to check its balance relating to what we know about our built environment. A skillful artist who understands such principles of reality is able to relate it in any sort of medium from the humble pencil on paper to highly realistic digitally produced images with a computer.
Regardless of any medium, we need to keep in mind also that illustration have 2 basic aspects of information motive (function) and quality (art). This is very similar to architecture except that the strength aspect is not present. Purity of motive and quality of picture the highest ideals of any visual art work, should be present in order to have balance in presenting architecture. One without the other creates a meaningless piece and cannot transcribe into an art. It would be mere technique or weak in conveying the true intention of a project. If the piece lacks both aspects, the result would be entirely pointless.
The distorted image I first mentioned tells us something. Despite our technological and logistical arsenal, a well trained eye is still key in making great pictures of architectural illustrations. Shortcutting the marketing material even at this stage of the project greatly reflects the integrity that comes along with the entirety of the development. It can indeed also mislead people into false perceptions of the market. A segmented picture like it can usually succeed to fool us in believing to be a sound project.
I think it's high time that visual illustrators of architecture should educate themselves much better in order know the highest ideals of the architect's professional responsibility. It's more than images. Quality of lives are at stake. We should know better. All the time.