For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2004
Digital Element Donates Architectural
Animation of Oakland’s Municipal Boathouse Rehabilitation.
The Virtual Boathouse, valued at over $20,000, allows planners
and public to better understand and comment on proposed rehabilitation.
Oakland, California – Digital Element, the Oakland developer of
WorldBuilder, a software tool used to create ultra-realistic landscapes
for virtual environments, has donated to the people of Oakland through
Rotary an interactive “Virtual Boathouse” model, valued at
more than $20,000, that presents the proposed renovation to the Oakland
Municipal Boathouse and the surrounding grounds. The $6-million boathouse
project is slated for completion in the Summer of 2006.
In 2002, Oakland voters approved Measure DD, which established the Lake
Merritt Master Plan, which includes several projects intended to make
the lake and parks around it more accessible, and to provide a unified
design theme for the lake area. The Municipal Boathouse, built in 1908
and enlarged in 1913, is one of the buildings that will be returned to
near its original design. In order to visualize the proposed modifications
to the building, parking, and landscaping Digital Element’s Worldbuilder
Pro software has been used to build and interactive walk-around of the
as-yet to be completed Boathouse project, with an emphasis on the exterior
plantings and amenities.
Lake Merritt, the “Jewel of Oakland”, is one of the largest
urban lakes in the United Sates. It has been host to Olympic Rowing Trails,
a sailing club, the annual Dragon Boat Races, a few genuine Venetian Gondolas,
complete with red-strip shirted gondoliers, and an amazingly large flock
of fat and sassy Canadian geese. It is home to Children’s Fairyland
and a large and impressive collection of Bonsai. Lake Merritt is served
by two early 1900’s boathouses, the Sailing Boathouse and the Municipal
Boat House. Measure, DD provides more than $198 million in funding to
polish the jewel, restoring the sparkle of an earlier era.
The firms of Murakami and Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT, San Francisco)
is responsible for the Municipal Boathouse rehabilitation, with associate
John R. Gibbs handling the landscape architecture. He worked with Digital
Element to coordinate the landscaping in the Virtual Boathouse with the
actual plan, after Don McClure, President of Digital Element, Inc. and
Vice President of the Piedmont-Montclair Rotary Club offered his company’s
expertise to create the Virtual Boathouse. Steve Rothenberg, founder of
3Depot, a ??-based architectural rendering firm, donated his time in project
“As a Rotarian, I believe its part of our duty as citizens to use
our professional skills to better our community through vocational service.
Digital Element believes the greatest service it can provide to the community
is to give the people of Oakland the tools they need to have an informed
opinion about this wonderful public effort.” Said Don McClure, President
of Digital Element “Reading architectural plans takes a certain
expertise, but everyone can walk through the Virtual Boathouse and see
for themselves what the city plans to do.”
The Virtual Boathouse will be used to present the project at an Oakland
City Council meeting in January, at a time to be determined.
The world of the Virtual Boathouse was created using a combination of
Digital Element’s commercial technology, which integrate with other
standard software packages. Using Digital Element’s Verdant technology,
artists created custom models of the plants in the area, which were added
to the landscape, which itself was generated using WorldBuilder Pro from
elevation data provided by WRT. Artists used a popular 3D modeling package
to create the model of the rehabilitated Boathouse and integrated it seamlessly
into the scene using WorldBuilder’s unique communication technology.
The finished model can be viewed on a large screen by a group, or seen
on a standard computer monitor.
Visitors to the Virtual Boathouse are provided a guided tour of the area.
Walking along the multi-use path, they see realistic plants and trees,
that show how the grounds will look after the project is completed. The
Virtual Boathouse makes it easy appreciate the benefits of moving the
parking lot, replanting the landscape, and connecting the building to
the water. Many of the same plants specified by the Boathouse’s
architect, John Galen Howard, well known for his designs of many buildings
on the UC Berkeley campus, are included in the rehabilitation plan, and
in the virtual environment.
About Digital Element
Digital Element, Inc. develops and publishes high-end tools and plug-ins
that recreate nature on the computer screen. Their products are used by
3D artists, architects, game designers, developers of interactive training
materials, and dedicated hobbyists around the world. WorldBuilder Pro
and WorldBuilder Genesis, stand-alone packages that create 3D scenes and
animation, are industry leaders for detail, power, and ease of use, and
exchange data with popular 3D modeling programs. Digital Element's Photoshop
and After Effects/Final Cut Pro plug-ins, including Aurora, Verdant, and
Modelshop, allow Adobe users to create compelling nature effects easily
within 2D applications. Digital Element may be reached at www.digi-element.com,
3Depot was founded in 2004 by Steve Rothenberg specializes in architectural
and civil renderings using a variety of software packages, including Digital
Element’s WorldBuilder Pro for landscaping. 3Depot supplies project
management, custom project design, and has an extensive US-based computer
network for creating high-definition scenes. 3Depot can be reached at
____ address -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors: Photos of the Virtual Boathouse are available on request,
as are more information on the project and WorldBuilder Pro.
Back to Press Index