Monday, March 15, 2010

Why Do You Model?

We'll discuss this in Zurich at the Mapper Modeler Conference next week, and I may give a brief presentation too. I invite anyone to respond in the comments section about their own motivations.

Mine are varied. I have interests in history, buildings, photography, art, puzzles, modeling. About five years ago I realized SketchUp was a new "toy" with which I could combine all those interests.

Can I Do This?-- My First Model. I can't say for sure this was really the first, but it was early-- before photo textures. It looks so chunky, but it all starts somewhere. "I wonder if I can do this" was my first motivation to learn and create. But why did I continue?

Helping Small Business. Here is the same model, but much improved! I found that I could in fact learn quickly and this spurred me on to bigger and better projects. The flower shop shown here belongs to a friend and I did this to help her business be seen.

Helping the Community. There was a beautiful, useful, and very good public library across the street from my apartment in Burbank. I thought a model would help this community hub get noticed. It was a larger and more challenging model to make.

Pushing Limits. My next model was a giant leap for me-- the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Not only was it a significantly larger building than anything I had attempted, but a complicated one with three domes and spiral stairs, set on a mountaintop. 

I did this model to see how far I could push my skills, and I learned a lot in the process. Also, it's a place I loved to go with the philanthropic group Sidewalk Astronomers, and it made me feel closer to the place just by modeling it.

Places We Love. I can't say I really love the Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, but I once did and had hoped to work there as an animator. My interests changed and by a twist of fate I ended up living about two blocks away from the studio, anyway. This whimsical building presented its own challenges-- mostly, how to represent the varied shapes in the most efficient way possible. This was fun to make.

Letting the Imagination Run Wild. Sometimes it's fun to make something from my imagination. The Monopoly City Streets contest gave me the opportunity to do just that. I made about a dozen models, all from my head. Here we see an amusement park and an arboretum. I experimented with color and shape in the park model. The arboretum was made for a friend.

I Saw It On TV! Sometimes I see a place on television and I am inspired to make a model of it. In this case I was watching Chef Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, the show where he tries to help failing eateries make a turn-around. 

I made a a model of the restaurant portrayed on the show, thinking it might bring more exposure to the ailing business. It didn't, unfortunately. This was one of the first models I made using the new Street View texturing feature.

Raising Awareness. I made this model of the National Palace in Haiti as it appeared after the earthquake this year. Since links can be included on 3D Warehouse pages I made links to the Red Cross where donations could be made. I thought that the impact of photos of the wrecked building might also be felt in a 3D representation of the same thing.

Adding Detail. Some models just add to the realism of an already-modeled area. I made this small bridge to add to the feeling of life and realism in the Piazza San Marco area of Venice.

New Innovations In Modeling. Sometimes I make models to try new features in SketchUp, such as photo texturing (remember when there was no such thing?) or Street View textures, or in the case of Building Maker to try an entirely new program. This model demonstrates a mix of both programs.

That about wraps it up. I hope you found it interesting and/or informative. Thanks for reading and maybe see you next week in Zurich at the Mapper Modeler conference.