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Author : Debarati Nath

Rendezvous with Oscar Rottink, the 3D Printing Competition Winner

1. Hello Oscar. Welcome to the space of SketchUp. Please tell us something about yourself.

I'm Oscar Rottink, a Dutch 38 year old designer who started his career working in the prepress business for some years. After that job I got a career at an advertising agency working for companies like Volvo Cars, Gazelle (Dutch bicycle brand) and some other large companies. I was mostly working on online campaigns for those brands. My SketchUp is mostly hobby but I love everything concerning design. When I discovered SketchUp I started building concepts of houses since I love great architecture. To finish the images I use V-Ray to render smooth images. I would love to do more paid jobs with SketchUp/V-Ray.


2. You are an architect, visualizer, 3D designer, advertising person, forum moderator, social media marketing manager. How do you manage all of the avatars?

Sometimes hard to find the time but if you're interested in a certain subject you will find the motivation and energy. Have to admit it is sometimes hard and especially designing in SketchUp can take a lot of time. And I have the handicap… I'm pretty picky of the things I create. Not easily satisfied about my own work (if it's just 2D design or 3D, doesn't matter).

3. You are quite a famous name in the SketchUp 3D Printing arena. Please share your experience in 3D printing.

Well it's quite an expensive technique still. But since my hobby is designing houses, I joined a contest organized by i.materialise called 'world of houses'. The three best designs got their house 3D printed in full color. Which is an awesome technique and it is great to have your design touchable at your desk. Too bad they don't print on full-scale .  After the 'World of houses' contest I joined a contest also organized by i.materialise where you should design a lamp. Since a lamp is just a lamp I made the 'aMazeLight', a lamp containing 4 different and playable mazes on the side. Interactivity and function combined. That light was 3D printed as well since they decided to give me the 'special jury award' because they liked the concept of interactivity. (pictures of both prints can be seen at
The nice thing is they also took my 3D house to a Dutch fair past month placing it in a vitine. Yeah well it's a big motivation if people are enthusiastic about the things you design.


4. You are the winner of the international 3D designing competition. We want to hear from you about the experience.

Well with the 'World of Houses' competition there were a lot of great designs people created. Not really sure why my design was a winning model. But designing a house is a lot of work if you are picky as me. I joined because I already got an almost finished design. I did send those two houses and I think they also liked the other one but not enough to be a winner. But it's nice they take my house to exhibitions about 3D printing to show their full color 3D printing capabilities.

Feels great when people like your design. Got a lot of positive feedback from friends and the 3D print of my house is at my office space at the moment because people over there were curious about the quality compared to low end printers like the Makerbot which is just more rough and not full color. I think the nice thing about design in general is the fact that people have an opinion and think about it. If they love it, hate it, doesn't matter. The more experimental a design is the more extreme people’s love/hate opinions will be. Its nice people think about something these days and think everyone has an opinion about design/art related things.


5. According to you what is the importance of 3D Printing?

Well I think it has a great future. Since there are more and more materials you can print with (even metals) it is possible to create i.e. your own wedding rings, jewelry. It's still an expensive technique but I think the price will be lower as time moves on. It's a great way to visualize your own designs and think the resolution of the printers will get better over time as well. They are now experimenting printing human organs which print human cells. Sounds a bit scary but I think it could be a real help if donor organs are needed. I'm really curious how 3D printing will evolve in the next 5-10 years. But if you could for example print new skin for burning victims, would be a great help.


6. How did you find SketchUp?

I discovered SketchUp when I was trying to model my house in another 3D program. That program was not real easy to use and I then looked on the internet for another program and discovered SketchUp. At first I had mixed feelings about it. It is a very easy modeling program if you don't want to make organic models and you can use it for free (with some minor limitations). But if you start with SketchUp it's really a good thing to buy a book like SketchUp for Dummies. I used/wasted a lot of time discovering some things which are really easy but not that clear if you just use the program first time. Like entering measurements, creating groups so everything doesn't stick together. All not that complicated but pretty hard to find out without a book. There are some great tutorials on YouTube. I had some 3D experience from ages ago working with 3D Studio under DOS. But SketchUp works very intuitive but you really need some nice (mostly free) plugins to work efficiently.


7. What is your inspiration behind the 3D Printing in SketchUp?

Well 3D printing ain't my first motivation to use SketchUp but it's great it's possible and everyone is able to print their own designs. I never start using SketchUp because I want a 3D print but it's great there is an easy 3D tool, SketchUp and that you are able to convert those idea's to a real model. If you asked me this 15 years ago I wouldn't have imagined it would be possible. And there are more and more 3D printing corporations think that will be good for the consumer in the end. I mean, it's so cool to have something you designed as really usable object. i.materialise but also some other printing companies also offer you the change to sell your design at their store. So if you designed an awesome ring you can offer it in their store and even earn money if it gets sold.


8. What is so special about SketchUp that you choose it over other 3D designing tool?

There is very low learning curve if you watch some tutorials or buy a good book. And I think for fast architecture designs it's great if you know the basics. Not that there aren't any disadvantages.
It’s disappointing how SketchUp handles big models very bad. I don't understand why there is no 64-bit version which would be good memory wise. Same with the fact SketchUp doesn't support the CPU's multi-cores. And it's nice they added a Boolean function in version 8 but without some nice Ruby plugin's some things are really hard to create. And I know you can't compare SketchUp to something like 3D Max but the usability of SketchUp and low learning curve is great. Some things just should be somewhat more user friendly like entering measurements. If you know how to do it it's so easy but all people I told they should try SketchUp have problems because the box with measurements doesn't give any feedback. You just have to type in numbers, which is easy but you have to know it works that way. And I'm very interested in interface design and usability and SketchUp can improve a lot looking at those aspects.


9.So far, what is your most favorite 3D printing model of SketchUp?

My house is my favorite model. It might not be useful like the lamp but love it since its printed full color and there's a lot of work in it. Also for the guys from i.materialise because they had adjusted some things so they could be printed. Like the balconies and the winding staircase inside.


10. What is you hobby?

I love design but when I'm not busy with design, Sketchup or something that might feel as work I love to meet with my friends in a pub or restaurant or just lie down on the couch to see a nice movie. It simply can't be all work. But when I have a nice idea about something I can't resist visualizing it.

11. How do you like to see SketchUp develop in future days?

Like I said earlier, think it should be faster and plenty of great ruby scripts should be implemented by default. It's not that they should turn SketchUp into a 3D Max/Maya program but faster and some new options would be really great. And maybe a better interface with some tooltips to help new users. Some things are really improved but Google improved in version 8 some things which made it easier to create Google Earth models. That's their advantage, now do something for people who use Google SketchUp for other things. Wonder what a new version will bring us.


12. Please give some advice to the budding designers on SketchUp and 3D printing

Watch some tutorials on YouTube. There are plenty concerning houses. There are also plenty of ways how to come to the same result. But I like to make lots of groups so I am more flexible to change stuff afterwards. Learn how to enter measurements in SketchUp (which is easy but not really clear) and keep an eye on the units you filled in at the model info panel since they do matter. If you want your creation to be more realistic consider using a 3rd party render plugin. There are free ones but you can also use something like V-Ray which has a free 30-day trial. Without the render plugin's I wouldn't have use SketchUp that much since I love a nice picture of my creations. Although the 'sketchy' output of SketchUp can work as well if you just have to present a raw concept.


13. What is your opinion about Sketchup ur Space?

Sketchup ur Space is a great magazine to promote the use of SketchUp and learn a lot about its users and how it can be used. There is a lot of progression in how SketchUp is used by people in architecture but also on other levels. Think SketchUp is a great and easy tool to use for starters but also more experienced designers and Sketchup ur Space shows that perfectly.

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