“Building a 3D World” – Using SketchUp for Presentations

So far I have used SketchUp for a lot of things, but a 50-minute presentation wasn’t among those. Besides, one of the big no-no’s for “classic” Powerpoint presentations is having too much happen on-screen (flying-in arrows and the like). Given the dynamic 3D interface of SketchUp I was curious if flying around inside its space would be too confusing for the audience. I just had to give it a try and see if it works.

The video below shows the exported (and sped up) version of a presentation I just gave at the 2008 UMass family weekend. The topic was mainly the Google Earth model of our campus that my students prepared but I also gave some background on 3D CAD. Originally, I started to prepare a Powerpoint presentation for this, but quickly realized that it would be too limiting and much more appropriate to actually do it right in SketchUp. All slide transitions and animations were done with the tabbed slideshow feature and I interspersed the show with some live model-building and a switch to Google Earth for a view of our campus.

I guess my advice for doing presentations like these are to keep the environment in SketchUp as visually clean as possible. Don’t clutter it with unnecessary textures. Also, use a large and clean font for the Powerpoint slides that you import (as images). Two items for my “SketchUp for Presentation” wish list are a full-screen viewing option and the ability to import videos just like we currently import images.

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