SketchUp Basecamp 2018

SketchUp 3d Basecamp logo

This is my fourth 3d Base Camp, and it was the biggest & best yet. I was there to teach sessions about photogrammetry & 3d scanning, geolocation & terrain, and visual storytelling. But I also learned a few things!

3dBC Add Location Session panorama

Great turnout for my session titled "Add Location: The what, why, and how of 'where' in SketchUp"

For example, did you know that Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters fame, helped Disney build a robotic stunt double. He discussed the design process for this project as part of a larger keynote address about creativity. The speech was a real crowdpleaser, and seemed to unify a group of attendees with an extremely broad range of interests and experience.

Grant Imahara keynote at 3d Base Camp 2018

Grant Imahara on stage at SketchUp 3d Base Camp. Photo credit: Steve Guzman

SketchUp has many uses outside of traditional Architecture, Engineering and Construction applications. I talked to people using SketchUp for event audio visual planning, fine art shipping containers, industrial equipment sales, and yes, even forensics. I’ve always know there were a few people (other than us) in the world using SketchUp to investigate crime scenes, but this was the first time I’ve met any of them at a conference. Exciting!

3dBC Sebastian

I also got to reconnect with some former colleagues. Hi Sebastian!

Technology development around photogrammetry and 3d scanning has come a long way since I first presented on the topic in 2014. Want to view point clouds inside of SketchUp? There’s a plug-in for that. Want to document a scene with a handheld scanner? Or a drone? You’ve got lots of options. I led a session on this topic and learned a lot about what’s possible, but also that there’s a lot to be said for keeping a human in the loop when creating as-built drawings.

Virtual / Mixed / Augmented Reality is ready for prime time. It’s in the SketchUp viewer app, plus half a dozen other robust platforms that play well with SketchUp. Many of the vendors and sponsors that came to Basecamp 2016 had demos that worked alright, but this year was polished. I was also very impressed with the vendor integration in general. We had lots of space and time for good conversations about how to extend the capabilities of SketchUp.

I also got a better idea of how to use SketchUp Layout to export high quality image sequences. I’d always ignored Layout since we have no need to create drawing sets, but I’ve been frustrated with the process for getting large numbers of images exported from SketchUp. I'm happy to have found a better workflow for doing this.

Palm Springs is really hot in October (the average high was 105°F). I’m looking forward to a milder climate, but no less excitement in 2020 at SketchUp Base Camp in Vancouver, BC.

If you're in the Portland area and want to share your 3d Base Camp experiences, or hear more details from those who attended, please join us for a SketchUp Meetup on October 30th! Hope to see you there!


Joshua Cohen is a Principal at Fat Pencil Studio