Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Google SketchUp Guides - Worthy of Mention

I'll make this a short post but just wanted to express my appreciation for the Google SketchUp Guides.

I have been a member of several Software-Specific Help Forums over the years. Out of all of them, only 2 really stand out as being worthy of mention. One is a forum for "SoftPlan" architectural drafting software users, called "Splash". It is a great forum with many very talented SoftPlan users. Due to the number of members and frequency of their postings, it is easy to get fast help there. However, SoftPlan Systems' Tech Support staff rarely (if ever) attend the forums. However, they do have very good Phone-In Tech Support.
SoftPlan's Tech Support and Splash Help Forum are very good, compared to the majority of forums I have been a member of, most of which are user-assisted only and the software manufacturers don't seem to give a darn about anything after they have your money. Not until there are at least hundreds if not thousands of people complaining about their faulty software ... then only then will the manufacturers do anything to rectify matters. But there is still no personalized assistance at all.

The forum(s) that stick out most in my mind are the Google SketchUp Help Group Forums. As in the Splash Forum, there are many very talented SketchUp users available for help, who respond frequently, often with very insightful information.

Even with all this invaluable help, it surprised me to learn how often Google SketchUp Guides frequent the forums. Not only do they attend the forums often, but there are several of them, each of whom regularly post replies to posts and threads and provide detailed and valuable information.

I have learned to appreciate this very much considering the money I have spent over the years on different types of software and yet have received so little and/or much worse after-sales-support elsewhere.
The Google SketchUp Guides are there to help ALL those that post questions in the forums, regardless whether they have purchased Google Software or obtained Free versions.

The level of help they provide and the frequency at which they are willing to help, amazes me to no end. Furthermore, they appear to all be "on the same page" with each other.
Not only are they very helpful to 3D Modelers of all skill levels, but they also display a seemingly sincere interest in listening to SketchUp users for suggestions re: Software upgrades, improvements, errors ... you name it.
Furthermore, I believe these people are also tasked with maintaining Google Earth (at least to some degree) and the 3D Warehouse, where modelers can upload, save and display their models to the entire world for free, whether they are Geo-Referenced Google Earth Models or not, whether they have Pro versions of software or not.

I have also found that the Google SketchUp Guides (Allision, Tommy, Bruce and Barry .. there may be more .. sorry if I don't have your name yet !), are willing to correspond directly with modelers via email which is practically unheard of with other products ... especially free software products.

In short, I cannot possibly say enough to show my appreciation for the skill, patience and willingness of these support Guides. So my hat is off to Google and Google's SketchUp Guides for being there for all of us, which only adds to the thrill of being able to participate in such a worldly hobby.
Google SketchUp Guides - Please Keep Up the Great Work. We Love You.

Side Note:
Okay .. so I said I'd keep this post short. Sorry ! At least it's Colorful !!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Allow me to Introduce Myself

Hello everyone.
My name is SnowTiger. Well .... actually my name is Chris. But you can call me "Bob" if you like ... I don't care .. just don't be surprised if I don't turn around to respond if you call me "Bob".

Without going into any great detail, in short I am an Architectural Designer, Building Inspector and Construction Consultant. Details of my business, skills, qualifications and experience are found at "HomeTech", as well as my contact information.
By not going into detail here, I just saved you from the extreme boredom of having to read a lengthy biography. I'll save that for my "Book".

While I have been using SketchUp since v.4, it wasn't until this year that I purchased a Pro version (v.7). Unfortunately for me, my business has been very slow this year, no thanks to all those greedy CEO's who affected the entire "planet's economics". On the other hand, this has provided me with a great opportunity to really explore both the beauty and complexities of SketchUp. Especially with regards to Google Earth Geo-Modeling.

Through Geo-Modeling and via accessing the Google SketchUp Forum I have been introduced to a new past-time that is quickly becoming a true passion of mine. In addition to this, I have been introduced to many "really talented" GE Geo-Modelers, all of whom are very friendly and willing to share their expertise and talents. It has proven to be one of the best Forums I belong to.

I have now spent countless hours of 3D Geo-Modeling and uploaded my very first Geo-Referenced Google Earth Model to Google's "3D Warehouse" on April 9th of this year. That model is of the "Bay Bridge" in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. The actual bridge name (and model name) is the "Norris Whitney Bridge" and can be seen on Google Earth in the Bay of Quinte (Belleville) or in the 3D Warehouse.

I have since modeled and uploaded a new model every 1 to 3 days and have MANY more projects in the works. You can view my complete collection at the 3D Warehouse. Ultimately, I am hoping that I can supplement my living via Commission 3D Modeling and so am presently preparing a video presentation to take to prospective clients. The potential is there to become much more than a supplemental income and I foresee a time when I might have several employees if all goes as planned.

In the meantime, I can hardly sleep because I am so absorbed with this new hobby-soon-to-be-business. There are so many buildings, architectural features and things to create that one might initially be overwhelmed. Especially an ADD'er such as myself. But this has not been the case at all. In fact, I have managed to focus on only 5 models at a time. Yes ! ... I did say 5. For me this is good focus. If it were anything else, I'd either only be doing 1 thing or 100. In truth, there is no shortage of "subjects" to model.

Anyway, I'm happy to have this opportunity to briefly introduce myself and I look forward to corresponding with many others with similar interests in the near future.

I am also open to suggestions for new subjects to model. Keep in mind however, that I hope to earn as much income as possible, in a short period of time. But I will continue to model all sorts of structures and buildings for the sake of enjoyment and practice to learn new modeling skills. Furthermore, if you happen to have a specific building and/or business you wish to have modeled, or if you know someone who would be interested in this service, please contact me (or have them contact me) at your earliest convenience. Or even provide me with their contact information. There are many advantages and great reasons to have a 3D Model of your business displayed in Google Earth, all of which I'll be happy to explain in detail when we speak together.

Please do return here often to watch my Blog grow. Here I intend to add links to my models, presentations and possibly information regarding some of my other interests etc. Furthermore, I encourage you to keep returning to My Models website while I continue to add to it almost daily (definitely every week). And of course, you are welcome to rate my models ..... especially if you like them !!!

I will also be revising my business website to include a section specifically for my SketchUp models and will post a link here when it's ready. There will be a complete list of my Google Earth Models and maybe even some of my previous works (done for clients in the past) including renderings of custom designed homes and businesses.

Thanks for reading my first Blog.