Author Topic: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.  (Read 2412 times)

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wcfn100

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So I been thinking for a long time about producing a city backdrop using old postcards and new pictures of the actual buildings in Waterloo IA and need to get started on the right foot.

I know that floors of a building can vary and that the lower floors can be upwards of 20' in some cases.  But what other visual clues do people use to estmate the height of a strurcture?

Like in the following case (no credit given 'cause I can't remember where I got it):



We got some windows for the upper levels and stone blocks on the lower two to maybe work from. I have my guesses based on 11' upper floors w/ 7' windows, what say yee?


Jason

Bob Bufkin

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 03:11:27 PM »
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Check the heights of the cars parked in front, that should give you a good representation of actual height.

John

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 03:29:41 PM »
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Looks about the size of the DPM hotel ..


wcfn100

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 03:32:17 PM »
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Check the heights of the cars parked in front, that should give you a good representation of actual height.


While that might help me in this example, I will have about 40 buildings to do in all, And I don't know that they will all have parked cars from which to work.

Jason

seusscaboose

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 03:38:50 PM »
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they will have doors...

typically doors are about 6 feet 8 inches. That's standard.
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3rdrail

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 03:40:28 PM »
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You do have an unusual situation in the main entrance. It appears to have steps up to the doors and a ceiling two stories high. Some older hotels were built this way. Your best bet, since most buildings like this are built to the property line, is to research the county property rolls. Who knows, the height might even be in the property description.

If my little county's property rolls are on line, I would imagine you can find those for Waterloo, IA, on line as well.

Chris333

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 04:11:49 PM »
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Zoom in and count the bricks.  ;D

DKS

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 04:44:43 PM »
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This is what I would do. Live Search has really clear aerial views of this area:

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=42.498548~-92.336869&style=h&lvl=19&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=28688254&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

Using these views, I'd make estimates of each building's length and width (using the sizes of cars, streets, or other known landmarks), then use these dimensions to estimate height.
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DKS

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« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 06:09:20 PM by David K. Smith »
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wcfn100

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« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 06:16:35 PM by wcfn100 »

wcfn100

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2009, 06:51:33 PM »
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Well thinking about this further, I can probably figure out the foot print of any given building with Sanborn maps and use that base dimension to create a box in 3D, match the photo for the camera angle/perspective and then adjust the height to fit the picture.  If that works, I can just align all the levels and windows and such.


Jason

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2009, 11:42:46 PM »
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A cheesy idea, but it just worked for me. I wanted to know how tall a coal silo was. The photo I used had a hopper car in front of it at a flat angle. So I zoomed in on the photo while holding a N scale hopper up to it and stopped when they both matched. Now I just took a ruler right to the computer screen.

Maybe you could figure it out using a scale person against a real person.

Zox

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2009, 06:29:29 AM »
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they will have doors...

typically doors are about 6 feet 8 inches. That's standard.

That's usually true for secondary entrances on modern commercial buildings (like emergency exits) and for houses. Unfortunately, main entry doors on commercial buildings tend to be larger than standard.

And of course, on older buildings anything goes.
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DKS

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2009, 06:51:43 AM »
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Maybe you could figure it out using a scale person against a real person.

The problem is, when comparing tiny objects against big ones, it creates a much larger margin of error. Plus... how tall is a person? That will add even greater margin of error. The freight car worked well because it's larger, and has better-known dimensions.

At this point, I think "close enough" would work for a backdrop. Maybe use stoplight poles as a rough reference, at least in the case of the sample photo. I still think that satellite images will help a lot, since they will help establish the scale relationship between the buildings; nail the dimensions of one building, and you can calculate all the rest.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2009, 06:55:50 AM by David K. Smith »
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Sokramiketes

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Re: So how tall is this building and other needed architectural clues.
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2009, 07:24:43 AM »
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Don't know about traffic light pole standards, but the streetlight pole looks to be a typical 40' high.  Might not help you with historic photos though...
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