Technical Illustration is the use of
illustrationto visually communicate information of a technical nature. Technical illustrations can be component drawings or diagrams.
Today, technical illustration can be broken down into three categories.
* For specialized engineering or scientific communication: The first category is technical illustration used by engineers/scientists to communicate with their peers and in
specifications. This use of technical illustration has its own complex terminology and specialized symbols; examples are the fields of atomic energy, aerospace and military/defense. These areas can be further broken down into disciplines of mechanical, electrical, architectural engineering and many more.
* For communication with other highly skilled experts: The second category is technical illustration used by engineers to communicate with people who are highly skilled in a field, but who are not engineers. Examples of this type of technical illustration are illustrations found in user/operator documentation. These illustrations can be very complex and have jargon and symbols not understood by the general public, such as illustrations that are part of instructional materials for operating
* For communication with the general public: The third category is technical illustration that informs the general public, for example illustrated instructions found in the manuals for automobiles and consumer electronics. This type of technical illustration contains simple terminology and symbols that can be understood by the lay person and is sometimes called creative technical illustration/graphics.
Technical illustration uses several basic mechanical drawing configurations called axonometric projection. These are:
orthographic projections (oblique, planometric, isometric, dimetric, and trimetric), and
* many types of
perspective projections (with one, two, or three vanishing points). Technical illustration and computer-aided designcan also use 3D and solidbody projections.
Illustrations used to be hand-drawn but in 1962 computer engineers created a method to draw both straight and curved lines using computers. This resulted in rapid advances in both computers and software and this allowed people to create even very complex technical illustrations on a computer.
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