Sketchup is a 3D drawing tool especially suited for quickly capturing ideas and designs. Unlike many 3D design packages, it has a very intuitive user interface. I found using Sketchup to be entertaining and highly addictive, especially the latest version (Google Sketchup 6). I think Sketchup is a great tool for artists in that it helps one to think more three-dimensionally (I found it helped my drawing). It also provides a way of generating scenes and then viewing them from different points of view – like walking around a movie set with a camera to find the best composition for a shot.
While I love architecture in the real world, there is a long tradition of what could be called “Fantastic Architecture” (structures which could never be built), ranging from the drawings of Piranesi to those of Lebbeus Woods. As an ongoing part of my artistic process, I hope to use Sketchup, as well as plain pencil and paper, to come up with more of my own whimsical architectural fantasies.
The crowd scenes below were created with the Ruby plugin I wrote for that purpose.
See also my art blog for recent SketchUp experiments.