Learning to use SketchUp was initially easy because the main actions (adding a 3rd dimension to rectangles, adding texture, etc.) were intuitive (and covered in class). I was glad these actions were simple drag-and-drop type motions instead of having to manually input dimensions or choose from a menu of actions. In addition, it was so fun to be able to see my house become recognizable so fast.
Tips and Takeaways
I wish I’d gotten more familiar with the keyboard shortcuts earlier in the process, as this would have saved me a lot of time. I spent the most time trying to build out elements into spaces that were previously empty space (like the pieces of roofing that stick out above my front and back doors), because I would always end up moving in a direction I didn’t intend. It obviously wasn’t just trial and error as I assumed for a bit too much time, which brings me to my favorite SketchUp tip:
While dragging the mouse, to snap to a specific axis:
Arrow UP for blue axis.
Arrow RIGHT for red axis.
Arrow LEFT for red axis.
All in all, I’m so satisfied with how my back door, back patio, and roof came out. In hindsight, my model house is a lot narrower than I think it actually is and I forgot to add the egress window that’s on one side of my basement.
Though it’s a very different software, the process of bringing my house to life was so fun that I downloaded Blender to see if I could learn some of the basics there too.
In the Humanities
There are a lot of humanistic uses I can envision for this tool. One use I’d be interested to see is modeling ancient civilizations. For both research and teaching, being able to model homes and cities could be used to demonstrate how old societies appeared and functioned. These societies can be brought to life using both maps and ruins. In addition, natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions) and war damage could be studied or taught through modeling the true extent of these events.