Masonry (Brick & Stone) Monument Base Design - For Signage


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Hi Everyone,


I know this may be a bit out of the ordinary for this software, but it would be related to Architectural structures.


I work as a graphic designer at a large US based sign company. More and more lately we've been asked to retrofit or modify new signage onto existing brick / stone monument bases. I mainly work in Adobe Illustrator and also augment that with some subdivision 3d modeling apps (Modo, Cinema 4d, Blender). The problem with those is that there aren't many built in tools to deal with intricate / custom brick and stone patterns. While I can draw or model them manually, it takes a lot of time and it's difficult to input exacting accurate measurements. I do have some plugins for Adobe Illustrator that allow me to create a Chord Arc from three points. The pattern maker in Illustrator is extremely confusing, and that's coming from someone that's used it about 30 years. I would have to do a lot of guess work and incremental testing back and forth in my 3d apps to get these base structures modeled. Most of them also do not have any built in way to input Chord Arc measurements, or other CAD drafting features. We've also had a few recent clients ask us to come up with some totally new monument base designs. We don't produce these directly, but we're asked more and more to design bases that work well with our signage designs. So I'm making more of an effort to learn about how Masonry works.


I'm attaching a picture of one of the existing curved face entrance monuments that we've been asked to show a proposed option to retrofit new signage on. (They also may be willing to remove this and put an all new sign in, but they want to see all design options before deciding.)


So to my question, is there a best way to go about modeling this in Home Designer Architectural? I currently have v2020 for a Mac, but I don't have a problem updating to 2023 if it has better built in functionality for this type of project. Would a curved exterior wall, curved foundation wall, or curved pony wall be the best place to start? Some other better method from within the app?


If anyone has any suggestions of other software that may be more dedicated to this purpose, please let me know. If that's an ok thing to do here in this forum. I know some forums don't care about other software discussions, while some others strictly forbid it.


Also if anyone knows of good training resources for learning Masonry, with special focus on the design aspect, that would be great as well.


Thanks in advance for any responses!



Entrance Monument.jpg

Illustrator Monument Draft.png

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This software uses Image files or textures to display material patterns, so the image must first represent your desired outcome when applied to your 3D surfaces in a plan file. Home Designer Architectural and Professional allow few choices for custom solids that you can easily make (Like your posted sign image) but there are "Custom Slabs" and "Soffits", found under cabinet tools that can be customized a little to represent things.


Chief Architect Premier, costing a lot more to exchange for, contains the most numerous choices for customizing objects. Do a "Search" at the Home Designer Website and at YouTube to find the latest video tutorials for what you search for.



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Thanks as usual for the quick replies David! I know you've helped me several times before. It's greatly appreciated.


I had a guess that the patterns would be much like a brick patterns found in most CAD apps. I'll have to explore the app a little bit more in depth. It's not terribly different from UV images in the 3d apps I use. I have to force them into scale and correct proportions typically, and there aren't many settings for giving an exact dimension for the mortar and brick/CMU sizes. Procedural materials do have some settings for that, but they usually aren't in any real world values. More based on ratios. Plus there aren't any built in features for custom brick patterns, borders, and insets (attached examples of that from another current project). I had minimal measurements and pictures to go on for these. So these have a lot of problems. But at least they will give me a start to come up with some beginning options.


I have about 4 projects right now that have some sort of monument base work that needs to be done. So anything I can do to speed up the initial drafting during the design phase would help a lot. I'll keep exploring solutions, and if anyone else here has some other suggestions, I'm all ears. 


I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Screen Shot 2022-11-19 at 6.46.30 PM.png

Screen Shot 2022-11-19 at 6.46.16 PM.png

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