Combining Music and SketchUp


Brandon Morgan


Throughout the semester, we have learned about many programs that could be and are currently used in the digital humanities world. One that really stood out to me as promising, though I didn’t know why at first, was SketchUp. For such a simple tool to use, it seemed to me like it could have many uses that are unseen as first. One such use that was actually thought of by a friend in conversation is that perhaps it could be used to design a perfectly acoustic room with ease.


I have not yet used SketchUp, but based on the presentation given in class, it seems to me like it is rather easy to use, but difficult to perfect. However, I think that with a blueprint and a little time, it would be safe to say that a room could be created quite accurately using the program. What comes after the creation of the room that is what interests me. The program could be used to plan out buildings, or to see what past buildings may have once looked like. Also, though, it could be used to make real certain qualities of a building to better see how a structure would behave before spending the money and time to actually create it.


If a model design for an auditorium of some sort was built up on sketch up, it could be virtually tested using the software. Sound waves bounce off of walls at 90 degree angles. Knowing this, a theoretical sound from a stage could be traced all over an auditorium by using a 3D model created on sketch up. With this knowledge, the room could be refined to create the best sound for an audience by changing the angles of the walls of a room, or by moving the seating in the room. Though this is already done by engineers preceding the construction of an auditorium or the like, it may be easier to do with SketchUp because of the relative simplicity of the program.


This also may be amplified in the future if SketchUp became easy to print in 3D. Once the age of 3D printing truly begins, a model of a building could be printed out from SketchUp and actually held to test inside of. This would be much easier than assembling a physical model by hand or machine, as the program makes it so simple to create the proper dimensions and oddities in a room.


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