SketchUp in Higher Education

Film School is a one year associates degree in film
production, and the school covers every area of
film production. So it goes writing, producing,
directing, cinematography, production design, editing,
sound, the whole gambit. And every student gets
the same education. The production design part of
the Los Angeles Film School Filmmaking Program initially
started with hand-drafting. But because SketchUp is so
important to the film industry, we had to include
it in our program. That just has become one of the
more popular programs for pre-visualizing. SINEAD CLANCY: When we first
meet the students, a lot of them have never drafted before
or designed, and anything really before. So what we do is we take them
through the whole motions of two-dimensional and
three-dimensional design. Then we introduce them
to SketchUp. And then we show them how easy
it is for them to take their ideas from paper, put them on
computer, and how easy it is to manipulate it from
that point onward. BOBBY LOFSTOM: I graduated from
the program in 2005, and at that time I learned SketchUp
and I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve just found that it really
helped me visually communicate all the facets that I need
to to a director in three-dimensional space, which
is really important that SketchUp can do that. Where as a piece of paper you
can only show one angle at a time, in the computer I can
build the whole thing, and then spin it around, show him
the other angle and show him what’s going to work
and what’s not. ROGER KING: SketchUp was the
first introduction we could actually do in a building,
because we do teach it in a way that almost shows you
is how to build a set. When we’re pulling up walls and
we can keep every element of the set in groups so that
we can take it apart. Because ultimately, you will
take a set apart, and you will change it because sets
constantly are being changed because there’s always more
needs or the director has other ideas. SINEAD CLANCY: I find that it’s
a very, very easy way to get ideas on paper. Now I’m at the point where I
use SketchUp all the time. I don’t draft anymore. PAUL LONG: SketchUp works well
in interior design for a variety of reasons. One, it’s so easy to model so
you can quickly test different design ideas and different
design options. The only reason I use SketchUp
is, especially now with the 3D Warehouse, it’s really quick
and easy to accurately represent your design, whether
it’s with furniture or a certain type of furniture, or
a certain type of product. There’s so much available in
3D Warehouse that’s really helpful and useful. And then the other reason that
it seems to be really useful is using the material browser
and the ability to add materials quickly and change
materials quickly. A big way students use SketchUp
is they’ll model their CAD drawings in SketchUp
and they’ll use SketchUp or some other CAD program to turn
their two-dimensional ideas into three-dimensional models. Another way we’re using SketchUp
is we’re using the wide array of aftermarket
plug-ins that we can put into SketchUp to create more
photorealistic type renderings. This is super exciting for
myself and for students because the cost is so efficient
rather than buying a program that’s $3,000
or $4,000 or $5,000. A problem I think students have
in any design program is they put so much time and energy
into a design that they don’t ever want to
back out of it. But with SketchUp you can test
ideas over and over and you can back out of an idea really
easily without having invested so much time and energy. JOHN LANTERMAN: I’ve been
stunned sometimes at final presentations what the students
are producing in SketchUp when I know at the
beginning of the semester they were introduced to
the program. MARCEL DE LANGE: I think where
it really shines in my opinion is in the early stages
of a design project. Again, matching is so easy. I don’t know any program
that matches things easier than SketchUp. From a program point of view, we
use it all the time to map out size of things, and you
can figure out how big a certain area could be and those
can become essentially placeholders in SketchUp,
colorful boxes that we could start to lay-out the program. And that actually leads
to some very exciting discoveries, and also to some
really noble ways of presenting that information. Now we can actually show
three-dimensionally, we can quickly go through lots of
variations and iterations. So that’s something that’s been
one of the big advantages of SketchUp early on
in the process. JOHN LANTERMAN: It’s great for
students to be able to develop a fly-through because this
unfolding of experience in the progression through different
spaces, there’s nothing better than to let the students build
a little movie of what it’s like when they first
enter the site. It’s one thing to read about
something in a book. And it’s completely different to
have them go in and see how their ideas can be reflected
in a built environment. SketchUp’s the easiest,
most successful tool I know of to do that. MARCEL DE LANGE: And the great
thing about SketchUp is that it’s there. It’s right at your fingertips. You can set up your coordinates
correctly, and then essentially you can do a
very accurate shadow analysis, which I think is absolutely
crucial nowadays. JOHN LANTERMAN: For them to be
able to walk through and to understand that sequence of
experiences, I think it really increases that learning curve,
having a tool like SketchUp, because our brains, we’re so
visual, that to gain this instant understanding of what
they’re doing, it makes them better designers. And it makes our job easier. Maybe the students are getting
a little spoiled because it’s pretty sophisticated, the power
that they have at their fingertips. But it’s great.

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