The Big Think

November 7, 2007

Sketchup

Filed under: Mad Science,Telescope — jasony @ 4:27 pm

I’m a huge fan of Google Sketchup. I’ve been using it since before Google bought it and was ecstatic when Google made the previously $700 version free for anyone. There’s still a “pro” version but it pretty much only adds esoteric functions like output to 3D printers and CAM program drivers.

I used Sketchup to design my studio and got to know the program pretty well (LOTS of trial and error), but whenever I go back to it there is a lot of frustration as I relearn various little things about the program. I’m not a designer my trade and have very little in the way of artistic talent, so any program that can help me translate my ideas into good looking and accurate 3d models is a boon. Unfortunately, even the best 3d program has got to be powerful enough to do useful work, and that power comes at a price. Things get technical and hard to grasp quickly in a 3d program, and using one only occasionally like I do means that when I do go back I end up spending a lot of frustrating time relearning the same things.

Well, there’s now a great new book for people just like me: Google Sketchup for Dummies. I’m adding it to my wishlist (since Christmas is so close!) if you’re looking for ideas. The best part of the book is that the author has posted 62 how-to videos to go along with the book. The vids are free on YouTube, but there’s much more in the book itself. I think this is a great idea for future authors. Way to use technology to extend the usefulness of your product!

In related news, I’m homing in on the general design of the telescope and will be using Sketchup to make a mockup of it sometime soon. I’ll post screenshots (or the file if you have the free Sketchup program) soon.

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