As someone relatively unfamiliar with computer programs, I figured a good use of my time could be attempting to work with SketchUp and to become more familiar with its features.
My first impressions were that it was very easy to download and get set up with, and it reminds me of this feature on the Jordan’s Furniture website where you can use the dimensions of your furniture to map out where you could put things and what your room can be set up like; in order to prevent moving furniture just to realize the bed does not perfectly fit between the desk and the bookshelf. Interestingly enough I was not expecting them to feel so similar, but SketchUp actually runs a bit slower than the Jordan’s Furniture site; considering I imagine the processing and 3-D axes are what make it more complicated.
My sister and I actually used to use this site a lot when we were younger and shared a room. Mostly it was used first, so we could play on the computer, second, to waste time measuring all the furniture in our room, and third, to unintentionally annoy our parents by making a mess and rearranging our furniture about every 5 weeks. To answer your questions, yes, we are quite the pair, and yes, I still entirely rearrange my room and all my things much more frequently than most.
So, besides the miracle that is the Jordan’s Furniture room planning website, a website I am now itching to use again after all this reminiscing, I had a few bumps with the more intricate SketchUp which I found interesting, but enjoyed learning about.
Some of the features I stumbled with were the building ones, initially. I found it difficult to get the correct third dimension, because if i moved my mouse up on the screen, the program would assume I wanted to move the shape out instead of up, and I would have to shake the mouse around until it saw things my way.
Somehow, after a while of clicking, I ended up with that “structure” on the left. It is something, which could be considered better than nothing, but it is still rather unimpressive. I also found a feature that let me insert previously created 3-D models, and I though that “garden” that is for some reason black, would be fairly cool to try and put in. I initially thought I would have to change the fill, and put in my own colors and textures, but as I learned how to use the rotate and zoom features, I found that for some reason it was just black when you were zoomed out farther. As you can see below I also tried to change the colors of the flowers and grass, because purple grass and orange flowers would be interesting, right? Wrong. The only color it allowed me to change by furiously clicking on the flower petals was the color of the ground in the garden, which is hard to see anyways which was a bit disappointing. Although a garden on the color of water texture I guess is enough for me.
Forging on, I created a triangle/prism structure and played around more with the different textures I could use to fill in the walls. I tried to familiarize myself with the tool that makes circles too. I thought it would be more straightforward, but it is almost better that its not, it allows for more variation and you do not just have to close the circle, you can make more creative choices and have another side of the circle come out, close it with a straight line or a “V”. Being me, I closed the circle like a circle, as I was already fairly proud of my water-textured triangle hut. However, I did in fact fill it with a concrete texture. Thinking back, mistakes were made because it clearly would have made more sense to use concrete on the hut and water on the circle, but to each their own. I am just familiarizing myself with the program and reality is already distant when there is a land-water garden and a faceless man standing in the corner with only axis lines stretching as far as the eye can see. A feature of this program that I really appreciated though was that you can change the color style. In particular, they have a color style specifically to make the program more accessible to color blind people; which, in itself, is incredible.
Ultimately, I had fun playing around in this program, as I am sure is evident, but I do think that this kind of software is something that can make real life jobs like architecture planning more marketable. Additionally, what if it were to become a Google Drive-type program, people looking to build homes could work in real-time with their architects; a chat box could be included at the bottom to facilitate that. Under the section where I found the “garden” in 3-D models, vendors could advertise their products and buyers would be able to insert them into their virtual home as they would envision it being built with the exact appliances. Paint companies could advertise their colors, and people would be able to essentially see a finished-product home before ever buying a thing (besides the program). At least for me, I have had one too many experiences of picking up clothes off the rack and thinking it could look so great, only to try it on and be entirely disappointed. What if you thought that a deep red kitchen would look better than off-white, only to find that upon painting, the kitchen looks so much smaller because of the darker paint? If this program could be expanded upon and taken in that direction I am definitely someone who would buy into it if I were looking to build my own house. It could even be taken in the direction of interior design, including more vendors and having designers to answer questions for you on the other side of the screen.