Sunday, August 23, 2009

SketchUp Island: The Others (Part 2)

The Super Modelers in action. Photo by Aidan Chopra

When we last saw our hero, he was signing non-disclosure agreements at the Google office in Boulder. And he joked that he couldn't say ANYTHING about the trip. Kidding!

What I can share is that we got some behind-the scenes glimpses of what happens to 3D building models once they are posted to the 3D Warehouse. If you've never made a model before, it's actually quite exciting the first time it appears on Google Earth. It used to take months. Agonizing months of "maybe." Now it takes days. In fact one model I posted last week went live in less than 24 hours! BAM!

(And if your model doesn't work for Google Earth, they will automatically give you feedback as to why. Mostly this involves the model being inaccurate in some way, or the file size being so large that it can't work  efficiently in Google Earth).

Aside from the conference aspect, we got to meet the makers of the products, put real names to real faces, and also we got to meet each other-- the Others-- AKA the Super Modelers. It's cool to find out that someone you only knew as SittingDuck is an actual person from Antwerp named Nick. It was just as easy to forget, too, that the people sitting all around me were the very super-talented designers/artists who made all these amazing 3D models.

Towards the end of the conference we had a BBQ up on the rooftop deck at Google. Then, before I knew it, I was alone once again on SketchUp Island. Did it all really happen? Will I ever see the Others again? Stay tuned...

Incidentally, I was not the only one who thought James Therrien was a Nigerian Prince.