In the theatre, drafting practices are so varied and loosely defined that it is difficult to catalog them. There are as many ways to draft a show as there are designers. If things are so disorganized, it may be asked, why bother to study any particular method? A close inspection reveals that each designer differs only in the amount of information given and in the way material is organized. All have in common a background of engineering drawing and its basic principle, the orthographic projection.
To the initiate, the term orthographic projection may seem remote. Relax! It is not as forbidding as it seems at first glance. Ortho means straight and graphic means line. In other words, a straight-line projection that is perpendicular to the surface in view. It may be simpler to understand if it is compared to the converging-line projection inherent in the foreshortening of a perspective drawing or photograph.
In a perspective drawing or photograph, a three-dimensional object is very descriptive and easy to visualize. Both represent perfectly a three-dimensional object in two dimensions. The object, however, is not represented in true proportion. As some surfaces are foreshortened, they are not seen in true dimension.
For example, it is easy to recognize the familiar three-step unit from a perspective drawing. The carpenter, however, needs more information than a pretty sketch. He wants to know its height, its width, and its depth. An orthographic projection is a draftsman's way of drawing the three-step to give this information.
The orthographic projection reveals an object, one view at a time, from all angles. The observer is free to move around the object to look at it from the top, from the front, from the sides, and if necessary, the viewer can look at the object from the bottom or rear. Each view is seen in true dimension by straight-line projection.
Obviously, a series of unrelated views of an object are of little value unless they