These images were sent in to us by Dennis Nikolaev, a third year architecture student at Virginia Tech. Dennis used SketchUp to generate a series of perspective and orthographic drawings for a final image board (pictured below) which was submitted to a student design competition. It took second place out of 124 entries, but took first place in its division in the 2002 CADALYST Image Awards.
Like most users, Dennis has successfully integrated SketchUp with his existing digital media toolset. We recently had a chance to conduct an e-mail interview with Dennis during his spring break trip to Egypt.
Thanks for taking the time from your trip to answer a few questions. Are you enjoying your break?
Oh, yeah, its a real blast. If I didnt enjoy my work, Id say that this is the real life! (Ive got both!!!)
This is an unusual design, and probably needs some background information for users viewing the gallery to fully understand. Can you tell us more about the project such as program, intended user, constraints, etc.?
The problem was to design a mobile, autonomous archaeological research station that would accommodate 4 people. The design could be no larger than 116 (3.5m) high, 40 (12.2m) long, and 14 (4.3m) wide. (Mine is just 386(11.7m) long.)
Interesting... What was the concept behind your solution?
Maximum space with minimum enclosure. The structure creates additional room just by unfolding. The room under the stairs is for findings storage and tool storage.
Did you use SketchUp primarily as an integral part of the design process, or simply as a presentation tool because of the sketchy quality of its output?
The only thing I created in CAD was the profile for the main truss. (I did it that way only because it was my first time using SketchUp.) After that I was modeling only in SketchUp, and then the images were further manipulated in Photoshop and CorelDraw. The images were produced from SketchUp with a gray background. This allowed me a lot of flexibility with color while re-touching the final board in Photoshop.
This was your first SketchUp model? I didnt know that before. Thats quite impressive!
At the awards ceremony I was specifically asked by the jury if these are hand sketches. Thats when I had an opportunity to say a few words about your program.
We appreciate that. :-) What current features of SketchUp do you find most useful? 1. Real-time shadows. (This helps to find a dramatic view.) 2. An intuitive interface. When using software I can never remember where and what a function is and what it does. All I know is what I want to see on my screen. SketchUp helps me to skip the part where I have to figure out how to achieve what I want - It just happens.
Thats good to hear. Your comment is very congruent to one of SketchUps main interaction design tenets: Let user focus on what theyre drawing, rather than how to draw it.
What future SketchUp features do you look forward to the most?
Working with curves and cutting sections. Also, depth cues and more sketch imitation styles. (For most of these issues I have participated in the forum.
Congratulations on your award, Dennis, and thanks for helping us spread the word. Oh yes! And congratulations for making the cut on SketchUp 2.0 splash screen. Thousands of professional users will hopefully be inspired by your project every time they start their digital design exploration process with SketchUp. You are now famous! :) - Big sincere smile. Im glad Im helping to popularize this tool.