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How can we more rapidly imagine, sketch and prototype spatial ideas?

  • Team: Self Directed
  • Notable Tools: Unity, C#, Shaders
Using a pencil and paper to create a mountainous texture.

Terace is an iPhone app for quickly creating landscape and texture ideas through your phone.

Reaching visibility quickly

3D models often require a non trivial amount of work to prototype. Tools like Blender, Rhino and Cinema 4D allow for precise creation of environments and models but designers often start with series of 2D profile sketches.

Speeding up iteration in a design process or finding new ways to generate ideas can lead to a wider search space, more informed decisions and stronger results.

I built Terace to explore the translation of easily editable 2D textures (from our surroundings and drawings) to 3D forms. Terace can be used for inspiration or as a way to affect digital models with tangible, physical tools.

People can face the camera towards a piece of paper and draw to raise the elevation. Erasing brings things back to the base height.


Placing any object within the camera’s view affects the terrain in real time, as does pointing the camera at a textured surface. This often resulted in wild distorted textures, but occasionally led to a novel form from something mundane. In talking with architects it was clear that the right output fidelity of the tool would be at the sketch, or massing level.

From there, I worked on adding support for multiple layers of structures.

Generating 3D VR environments from 2D sketches.

Terace is currently available for iOS, would love feedback on how it could be helpful for what you do. I’m currently looking for applications in game development and architecture / urban planning.

Download the app for iOS or checkout the microsite.