Neil's News


28 January 2007

[Floor-plan of apartment #8] Being Canadian, I normally do my graphics in CorelDraw and its associated applications. But I kept hearing about SketchUp, so I gave it a try.

The basic problem with all 3D graphics applications is that unless you happen to have a 3D input device it is very difficult to place things in 3D with your 2D mouse on a 2D screen. Corel attacks the problem by projecting orthogonal shadows which you can drag. SketchUp uses an interesting approach where the application attempts to figure out what you want to do then does it for you. I'm still trying to get my head around the hinting mechanism. In the mean time, I have to keep telling it "No, I don't have a subterranean dishwasher" and "No, my bathtub does not levitate on the ceiling." I wonder if another good approach would be to add a physics engine so that objects would normally 'fall' onto solid surfaces.

If you have SketchUp, you can play with my apartment. Add a colony of bats, a bottomless pit, that sort of thing. The model is completely accurate in terms of the current contents with the exception of internal doors and wall-mounted kitchen cabinets (both omitted to reduce clutter). If you use Sketchup, the first thing you want to do is go to Window|Preferences|OpenGL and tick 'Use hardware acceleration'.

[Disclosure: SketchUp is owned by Google, but I have not had any contact with the SketchUp team. Other than filing a couple of bug reports.]

Quote of the day:
  "You're cute, but she's cuter."
-- My supervisor when she spotted Widget peeking out of my shirt pocket during a staff meeting. (posted with permission)

[Clarification: People seem to be getting the wrong idea. Widget doesn't live in the office. I'd just had a huge win at work (involving thousands of lines of code), so I brought her in one Friday.]

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