Note: Google invited 250 of their devotees to a three-day meeting that started yesterday. I was among those invited and although I couldn't get my schedule cleared enough to attend, I was asked to nominate someone to attend. I nominated Rachele Harless Gorsegner, a friend of mine and the woman who writes The Conscious Kitchen. Rachele's written a dispatch from day one of the conference and here it is. Thanks Rachele!
Today marked the start of the Google SketchUp 3D Basecamp "unconference," hosted just a block away from their main offices in Boulder, CO. What is an "unconference," you ask? An unconference is Google's quirky way of nurturing the exchange of ideas and information surrounding popular topics. As part of the gathering, all the participants brainstorm the topics and then vote on them. The winning ideas are then slotted into a discussion agenda for that day.
I am one of approximately 250 SketchUp users attending this 3rd bi-annual unconference, courtesy of an invitation extended through Paul. People are here from as far away as Australia and Peru! There are architects, vendors, script authors, super modelers, evangelists, and dare I say, even a kitchen designer or two. There is a great energetic vibe among the attendees, in part because we are celebrating the 10th birthday of SketchUp (celebrated with cake, champagne, and song), but also because today marked the product launch of SketchUp version 8!
At a high level, the new SketchUp includes improved geo modeling, debuts an entirely new set of tools for Solid geometry, and adds some much improved drafting functionality in Layout 3 (included with SketchUp Pro 8). We were treated to an in depth demo of what the new SketchUp can do. You can read more about the latest SketchUp version on their official blog. I have to say that the Solid Tools are amazing! The examples that they used in the demo involved complex joints in fine woodworking, but that said, I think this entirely new aspect of modeling can really change the way you use SketchUp. Check out this detailed video to learn more on the Solid Tools and how they work:
Tomorrow, Day 2, will be the real "meat" of the unconference. For now, I will leave you with a few more fun photos from Day 1:
John Bacus, SketchUp Product Manager, polls the audience on their SketchUp experience. "How many of you are SketchUp experts?" he asked. Some people raised their hands. "Put it this way," he said, "how many of you, know other people, who label you as a SketchUp expert?" The number of raised hands increased at least by 100%.
This is the real, live Bryce, the beloved SketchUp model scale 2D figure for version 6. He was later replaced by Sang in version 7. In SketchUp version 8, Sang is replaced by Susan. The 2D scale figures have all been real people who work in the SketchUp offices.
Google gave SketchUp software free version 8 to all attendees of 3D basecamp on an "environmentally friendly" bamboo USB stick. Aiden Chopra, emcee for the unconference, appropriately noted that bamboo is not so friendly if you are either bamboo, or a panda.