Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fun With Google SketchUp!

Playing around with Google SketchUp is much easier than I'd thought it would be! Looking at the program is pretty intimidating, especially for those of us with limited experience. However, with a bit of tinkering and the patience to follow some tutorials, it's pretty great to see how much you can get done. Google's Video Tutorials are a great place to start, and they are arranged by expertise (so beginners can stick to the easy stuff, and advance through more difficult tutorials as they improve). Part 4 of these tutorials leads you through the steps to create a simple chair:

I was surprised at how a bit of patience with the tutorials allowed me to fairly easily come up with this chair.
I decided to try something a bit tricker, and ran into some problems:

It's a bit hard to see from this screen shot, but as I tried to wrap my name around that cylinder, I had problems effectively grouping the letters into components. I effectively dragged each letter onto the cylinder individually, and as is evident by the picture, they are not evenly spaced out, properly aligned, or protruding from the cynlinder at the right depths. It was still a learning experience to go through the effort though!

Wanting to incorporate a 3D image into the posters I am creating to accompany my LilyPad Arduino Interactive Exhibit project, I opted to try the 3D letters again. This time I decided to put them onto a rectangle instead of a cylinder to facilitate the process. Since my project is military themed, I went with "WWII" as my letters, and was pleased at the results:

Google SketchUp is less frustrating and a lot more fun than I would have guessed! As mentioned above, the tutorials are an excellent source. There are tutorials not only on the official Google site, but also littered throughout the Internet.