Thanks for coming! For those that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet, I am Pearl Chen. You can find me on Twitter as “androidsnsheep”.I don’t have a set time duration for this presentation so I don’t think I’ll spend that much time on slides…Mostly I want to show you a hands-on demo of the software and then spend some time talking about the potential use-cases for SketchUp in your day-to-day life.And I really, really want to emphasize this idea of using SketchUp as a *non-professional* 3D modeller. SketchUp really is for everyone.
For example, I work at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab as Research & Tech Manager. The Media Lab is a post-graduate training facility (among other things) and one of my jobs is to help our students make their ideas happen on a technical level.This image is from a project called Txt2Hold in which the students conceived of a system that would turn text messages that are trapped on your phone into origami keepsakes.It’s got a very do-it-yourself, crafty aesthetic to it but, in reality, there’s quite a bit of Java programming, SMS hardware integration, and server-side stuff that had to happen in order to actually get it working in real life. So that’s something I worked on as a programmer and educator.
This is a light sculpture I did many many years ago while as an undergraduate at Ryerson. I discovered this system of soldering LEDs directly onto wires so I was able to sort of “weave” the wires together to create flexible LED matrices. It was meant to be hung as a light fixture.So, yes, there’s most certainly a level of tech that’s involved in this project but I think of it almost secondary to the 2 weeks of full-time soldering I had to do to pull it off. I felt very much like a jewellery maker or a knitter.So this is why I stumbled upon SketchUp. I wouldn’t label myself an artist but I do tend to work on a lot of art installations in which the physical placement of objects is very important.
So let’s talk aboutSketchUp.3D is hard, right?Anyone in here every try working with 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Autodesk, or any other professional 3D software?Well I have to say that I tried Lightwave in undergrad and I sucked sooo bad at it. It was confusing as hell and I just didn’t get what was going on. There were all these buttons. And I could never figure out how to get that thing on the screen to turn into the thing that was in my head. Suffice to say, 3D modelling was not on my list of potential careers.Who here plays first person shooter games like Call of Duty?If you put your hand up, you’ll probably be even better at SketchUp than me because I can’t even play 3D games. They give me headaches.So what I’m saying is that I suck at 3D. Truly I am terrible. So why am I up here making a presentation on 3D software if I’m that bad?It’s because SketchUp makes it *so easy* for someone as bad as me to be good at 3D. So there’s hope for everyone in this room!
But before I jump into the demo, here’s some quick facts on SketchUp.- SketchUp has been around since 2000- It’s motto is “3D for everyone” and was very popular with movie set designers and industrial product designer.It wasn’t originally Google software; it was created by @Last Software , an American company, and was bought by Googlein 2006 (SketchUp was at version 5 at the time and that about when I discovered it. I’ve use dit on and off since then)- SketchUp is now at version 8
Like most of Google’s products, a version of SketchUp is offered for free. There’s also a more advanced version available for $500.For most things you’ll want to do, the free version will exceed your expectations but if you find yourself creating a lot of presentations and documents around your models, the Pro version was created to make that workflow easier.Just go to sketchup.google.com and follow the giant “Download” button. It’s available for Windows and Mac OS X 10.5
So I’m just going to switch over to the software now. One thing that’s super SUPER important to know when working with SketchUp is to have a mouse with a scroll-wheel! It’s really slow to work with otherwise.If you have a Macbook, someone’s got a video on YouTube about using trackpack gestures to replace the scroll wheel but it’s still easier to use a mouse.[turn slide, switch to software]
One great thing aboutSketchUp is that it’s very well documented.All of their training is done as video tutorials and they are fairly concise and short, about 2 minutes on the low end, to the majority being under 10 minutes.The SketchUp Blog is where they put some newer Tips & Tricks.So don’t skip over this start screen! If you watch at least one video each time you open SketchUp and open up SketchUp on a daily basis for one month to muck around for only 15 to 20 minutes, you will be have been exposed to all the features of the software. If you keep it up for one more month, you’ll be an expert![Choose Simple Template]Another nice thing is when you first install SketchUp you get this Instructor Mode ( Top Menu: Window > Instructor ) that demos all the tools when you switch to it. Keep it toggled on until you feel more comfortable with the tools.[Items on next slide]
So pretty easy, right?Google mostly bought SketchUp so people could make 3D models of buildings in Google Earth. The community for that has exploded but, as much as I like mapping and cartography, I never really got into Google Earth. (Maybe someone could present on that next GTUG?)So why do I use SketchUp? And why do I think others should use it too?A mantra I like to tell people is: “Show, don’t tell”
Consider the name of the software: “SKETCH” upIt’s about quickly conveying ideas by drawing them out.If you have some drawing skills, scribbles work well in most cases and it’s very fast. There’s on denying the usefulness of a scribble.As an aside, we should all practice scribbling more often. That’s why I love this tablet. It comes with a stylus and I was playing Age of Zombies a couple of weeks ago and thought up of a wacky game idea….
As you can see, I’m a terrible drawer also. (Trying to get better though!)Does anyone remember Kids in the Hall? Does anyone remember the Head Crusher skits? “I’m squishing your head!”Anyways, this was my rendering of a squishing game meant for multi-touch screens…. That’s the hand, squishing those guys.. (Does a game like this exist??)So sketching is great for getting ideas across but the sketching isn’t very precise and they often still need to be explained. Sketches can be very abstract.
Here’s an example of a 3d sketch that I did because I was sick of sending and receiving emails between 3 other people in which most of the emails were trying to clarify what someone else said in a previous email.I was setting up a project at an art exhibition and I knew that we had gotten a 15’ by 10’ area with 8’ walls. Some of the questions were around:where electric plugs would bewhether this payphone was wall mounted or on a stand (Yes, this installation involved a payphone.)Where were we projecting? Where’s the screen, what’s the projector sitting on?Do we have room for a tv?Do we even have enough space?It was such a waste of time sending all those email back and forth without any visual reference.[show file]In an hour and a little bit, I made this sketch and it was like BOOM! Let’s stop speculating and let’s talk about our constraints and what our desired layout is. I can move stuff around but at least we have something concrete to discuss around. It’s also a way to prototype what may or may not work in advance. Don’t underestimate the built-in SketchUp people in your models. Putting people in spaces is a great way to indicate scale.And important to know: everything besides the walls came from the 3D Warehouse. I was really surprised at how easy it was to find a payphone and an overhead projector.[return to slide]
Okay, so not everyone puts on an art exhibit but everyone lives in a home that typically goes though some furniture moving or home renovations.In my case, I bought a condo off floorplans and went through the game that all condo purchasers in Toronto go through: “Will my current furniture fit??”Btw, the answer was no. But up until that point, before I did a to-scale rendering, I was 100% sure that we had more space. Wrong! So SketchUp saved us money and time.
Something else that saved me time and money…This is not a Google product but **Post-It** notes are also very awesome before going to IKEA. Last year I had to re-organize my office at work and it was impossible to just move stuff around because there was already so much stuff in it. Plus I needed to figure out what kind of shelves to get, and how many shelves.If you create some to-scale post-it note cut-outs, you can just re-arrange things at will.Think about SketchUp as part of a complete set of tools you have available to you for visualizing.
Okay, so this is what gets me really excited about SketchUp.Who here knows what 3D printing is? [Explain tech. Show Umbra samples and materials.]Mail-order services available such as Ponoko and Shapeways were, 8 years ago, only something that was once predicted as the “future”. So here it is. We’re living in the future.It’s not the cheapest but it’s great when you have an idea for something you really want or need but can’t find. You can stop going from store to store hoping you might find that perfect hook, or that perfect cell phone stand for your Android phone when everyone just makes stuff for iPhones, …or a Nyan Cat.If it’s something you want, you have the power to sketch it up and you don’t have to wait for some manufacturer to decide if there’s enough people out there to make it worth their while to start making large batches of stuff.Both of these sites also have markets too. If you design something, you can get it listed and if it sells (because remember it’s ON DEMAND printing), you get a commission on the sale.
3D printers are getting cheaper too.This one, the MakerBot, can be yours for under $2000 and some assembly time. The fidelity of the prints aren’t as smooth as the high end printers that cost $30,000 but it is good for prototyping or for making things that only you will see.
MakerBot also spawned the Thingiverse. If anyone was watching Stephen Colbert a few weeks back, they scanned his head so you can make derivatives from that model.You can find a lot of stuff on here. Some of them are in SketchUp format but some of them you will need a SketchUp plugin in order to import it and work with it.
If you’re thinking of trying it out, give this article a read first.There’s also other 3D printing blog posts on the SkechUp blog.
Transcript of "A case for Google SketchUp for Toronto GTUG"
SketchUp<br />Pearl Chen<br />@androidsNsheep<br />#GTUG<br />For people who livein 3D,<br />not just people who do 3D<br />
Who Am I?<br />I am a programmer& an artisan.<br />
Txt2Hold<br />recent project created at the CFC Media Lab<br />
(fly)light: 500x LED light structure<br />old project created in Ryerson’s New Media program<br />
Why use SketchUp?<br />Isn’t 3D complicated???<br />
What is SketchUp?<br /><ul><li>Launched in 2000