First Project: Story of four corners

A neighborhood filled with greens on the sidewalks and relatively quite ambience, Moorewood Ave and Ellsworth Ave was only 15 minute walk from CMU campus.

As I entered the intersection, I scanned through the landscape and tried to learn the atmosphere around it.

From the first glance, Two buildings stood out to me. School buildings and a church. Most of the school buildings had more than two floors, and the church was built in brick stones and wooden doors which smoothly blend with old trees around it. The church seemed to present history of neighborhood through its unique and old-fashioned architecture.There were also many stop signs warning drivers to watch out for pedestrians which is a common landscape around schools.

After observing through distinctive features, I began to look into more details. From the process, old utility poles caught my eyes and led me to closely observe their structure. Most of the utility poles in the Moorewood Ave and Ellsworth Ave intersection were built out of woods. I took a closer look at them and found out cracks and scars on the surface of the woods which proved their longevities. Trees in the neighborhood were mostly thick and old looking which contributed to stable atmosphere of the neighborhood. The road was busy with cars demonstrating its function to connect with various populated neighborhoods.

One of the most interesting observation was to watch types of people crossing the street.

There were many bicycle riders who were riding on the street along with cars. Pedestrians were mostly students with backpacks and they were generally in pairs. Bicycle riders and pedestrians with backpacks provided a strong evidence that there were educational institutes around the neighborhood.

Stopping on each of the four corners at the intersection, I captured more characteristics than what I thought I would. Things that we do not pay careful attention in our normal days, and feelings that we assume to be natural passing through different neighborhood were now more apparent through observing what causes a place to give certain vibes to the people.

First Iteration

Choosing Photo

When I was choosing photo for the cut-out project, I mainly focused on essential elements which could not be eliminated when it comes to identity intersection of Moorewood Ave and Ellsworth Ave.

  • People with backpacks
  • People on bikes
  • Trees
  • Church
  • Utility Poles
This photo was most adequate for this project
Difficult Moments

The hardest part of this project was designing the steps of cut-out layers. At first, I began with imagining and sketching areas from lightest → darkest but it was hard to imagine layered papers without actually building a model. So I built a model in order to see how orders of layers can effect the landscape.

Also, figuring out the way to trace lines from the tracing paper gave me a headache. The method I used at last was to apply pressure with pen onto the tracing paper and tracing lines on an actual paper.

Things I Learned
  • I needed to sketch and fill in the darks and lights before beginning the process
  • Details aren’t important unless they are essential for the atmosphere of the intersection
  • Curves are extremely hard to cut-out
  • I had to take pictures throughout the process
Things I Need To Improve
  • Other ways to trace lines from tracing paper
  • Faster and smarter ways to divide layers
  • Cutting curves with X-Acto knife
Final Product
First Iteration
Feedback From TA and Group Mates
  • A tree takes a heavy portion, and it disturbs viewers from understanding the scenery as a whole
  • Crosswalk lines look like they are floating
  • layers are unclear, especially where sidewalks are connected to cars


Second Iteration

Changes Made From The First Iteration
  • Tried to make church building more cohesive
  • Separating shapes of church building by adding roof and grass
  • Tried to make middle tree look taller
  • cutting for more depth of in buildings
  • Elimination of unnecessary elements
  • Removing crosswalk lines
  • Correct person on bike because he looks like he is falling
New Techniques I Used

I changed my tracing method. Before, I pressured pencil marks on tracing paper with a pen to trace objects on to actual white paper. However, now I cut out the shapes and traced their shapes on the white paper. I learned this new technique from discussing with others and it helped me to reduce tracing time and become more exact when I trace.

Using New Method
Final Product


Third Iteration

Criteria For Choosing Grey Scales
  • I wanted the main focus to be the road and people on the street
  • Darkest color was placed as a background
  • I wanted to effectively show layers and since I have different grey scales,I added more details such as small narrow windows on the church building
  • Eliminated a huge tree in the middle of the cut-out to show delicacy of the church
Using grey scale papers
Final Product
Feedback From Professor

Eliminating the tree changed the whole atmosphere, so I need to figure out if I want to add a tree again or not

What Changes Were Made After The Feedback

I decided to add middle tree again because I now have better craftsmanship and am able to cut out more delicate tree. I also realized that new version without tree did no longer create the atmosphere I wanted.


Fourth Iteration

Changes Made From The Third Iteration
  • Added a tree in the middle
  • Eliminated first layer
Introducing Color Into The Composition
Provided color papers
Why Did I Choose Light Green?

I realized that grey scale iteration lacks an inviting atmosphere of my intersection, thus by experiencing several colors I decided to choose light green for its sense of liveliness and youth.

Improvements Throughout Iterations
  • Better cutting skill
  • Realizing what is important to describe an atmosphere of the place
Final Product
Feedback From Professor
  • Divide the building and grass area to clarify different sections
  • Add trees to all white on white iteration and grey scale iteration


Fifth Iteration

Changes Made From The Fourth Iteration
  • Added dividing border between the church building and the front yard
  • Added trees to each of the iterations
Final Product
Final three iterations
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