Rendezvous with James Hannigan
1. Hello James! Welcome to the Space of SketchUp. Please tell something about yourself to our readers.
Hi Debarati and all the folks at Sketchup UR Space, its great to be here. I worked for many years in the construction industry, but ill health forced me out of that business. I retrained at University and successfully gained my CAD qualifications in 2D/3D drawing which eventually connected me with SketchUp. Most of what I do is CAD based with some SketchUp to enable people to respond and understand better with what is being placed in front of them. I don't do much rendering as I have no real need in my case, though sometimes it helps, but is quite time consuming and not necessarily a requirement. Originally from Montreal (Irish Canadian), I currently live in the UK with my wife Bernie, who works as a clinical nurse specialist and my daughter Zara, still at high school, a serious competitive horse rider, computer wizz kid and a budding artist! (oh.. and one large spoilt black cat called ...you guessed it Blackie!).
Finally I am also Co-Owner of SketchUpArtists.org and Online Editor and Media Manager for the site.
2. How did you find SketchUp?
By accident really, back in 2003, I think. It was version 3 that was out then....so when ever version 3 was the current release and @Last still owned it. What a find though! It turned my 2D world into 3D..and with such ease.
3. Please tell us something about SketchUpArtists.org.
SketchUpartists is an online learning resource, primarily based around SketchUp, with tutorials on all aspects of modeling, rendering and post processing techniques and the 3rd party software used in this process. Basically a tutorial site for helping 3D modelers and artists in their daily workflow whether it be at home or the office and also allowing creative professional artists and modelers to showcase some of their astounding work.
4. Why did you think to create SketchUpArtists?
Actually it wasn't my idea originally, it was my partner Mateo Soletic who came up with the initial idea and concept to have a site for SketchUp artists. Without Mateo..SketchUpArtists would not have been born. I am so proud to have Mateo working with me. His design skills are next to none, being one of the top professional designers based in Croatia, working on projects such as the international airport and many luxurious hotels in the region and traveling throughout the region and abroad working for many large international organizations. That's enough about him....LoL. Next we had to set about the difficult task of putting it all together.
5. When did you set up SketchUpArtists? Tell us the story of the early days of SketchUpArtists.
After months of planning and many late nights SketchUpArtists was born on the 20th May 2009. Initially, it was certainly a steep learning curve for us, with no help from anyone on the technical aspects of putting something like this together. We certainly had a few mountains to climb, but in the end, with perseverance and some sweaty palms we went 'live'. One major aspect of SketchUpArtists, in it's early days, was the huge support and kindness shown by all the professional authors and contributors who helped add so much of the amazing high quality content and learning material you can see today. We will always be grateful to those who did this and they continue to do so, many becoming good friends. Its amazing how SketchUp can bring so many like minded individuals together, with the same concepts, ideas and general good nature towards one another. That really was the foundation stone of SketchUpArtists....
6. Now you have another role to play – the Super Administrator of SketchUp Talk. How do you enjoy it?
Wow, I have been promoted! I'am not really a super anything...LOL but thank you for the complimentary title. I drop in every so often to see what is happening and check out things, maybe offer a bit of support or encouragement where I can, and post anything that may be of interest to the poor souls who may come across it.
7. Why do you choose to be a moderator of SketchUp Talk?
Firstly, I was asked (he blushes) and it is always a privilege to be asked. Secondly I know the team working behind the scenes of SketchUp Talk, they know what they are doing and they have been very professional and polite in their approach to it, as they are in all their work....oh and they are also really nice people, that does tend to help too. And lastly its all about SketchUp, say no more
8. According to you what is the prospect of forum like SketchUp Talk?
Like any forum, it has to grow in popularity and content. It is early days of course, but I see no reason why SketchUp Talk can not be one of the friendliest SketchUp forums around. There is good content starting to be added and some fine people joining now. As the saying goes.... 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow'... It will take commitment and time, all depends on how much of that you have.
9. What is your opinion about SketchUp?
Amazing, intuitive, fun fun fun and quite powerful. You can rough something out very quickly, like pen to paper. It has come a long way (10yrs) from its beginning and like any software, it has its weaknesses and strengths and can't be everything to everyone. Most who come across it love it....but then, I would say that wouldn't I ? ( big cheesy grin on my face, with those around me rolling their eyes up).
10. What is your driving force or inspiration?
The people I meet and communicate with around the world on a daily basis who work, design and create 3D art in SketchUp, producing astounding work. Both established and new, their work is my inspiration and there are to many to choose from, they are all my inspiration.
11. Till date how do you see the evolution of SketchUp?
SketchUp continues to evolve and in 10 years time it will still be here. There are great many people behind it, including the community of ruby script writers who have added to it's expansion, and in my opinion, they are the true development guru's of the software.
12. In future, how do you like to see SketchUp growing?
I love it the way it is, though to be able to handle more complex models without coming to a standstill would be fantastic, though I know there are work arounds for this. Also maybe its own built in renderer would help those modelers starting out for the first time with the software, kind a like a complete package, maybe could be part of the Pro version. It all depends on where Google wants to go with it. You can't keep depending on the Ruby guys to keep extending its capabilities, and remember most of them are doing it for free!
13. According to you how is the popularity of SketchUp among the newbie designers?
Definitely growing with new designers and already being used in schools throughout the world. Our personal experience was with some very young gifted students from the Center for Talent Development at NorthWestern University in Chicago, when we carried out a web conference with them last year. They showed a keen interest in SketchUp and its uses in a working design practice and real world situations. They showed a good knowledge of the software and it instilled into them a keen interest in architecture and engineering. They knew of 3D warehouse and had already been downloading models to practice with. Who knows they could become future architects and 3D designers because of their beginning experiences of 3D modeling with SketchUp. It was a good experience all round.
14. Please give some advise to the budding designers.
Make sure your using SketchUp, its like a snowball rolling down a hill..its getting bigger and becoming more integrated into the professional workplace. Visit SketchUpArtists, if you want to see what the best guys/gals are doing and how they do it (sorry for the plug). Also read Sketchup UR Space another terrific resource (you can pay me after guys).
Watch the video tutorials, visit the Google SketchUp forums, they are very helpful and above all keep practising, having fun and expressing yourself with one of the greatest 3D modeling applications ever invented...phew!
15. What is your advise to the team of Sketchup Ur Space?
Keep up with the good work you are doing. You are becoming a valuable resource to the global SketchUp community and design industry. Its not easy, by any means, to set up a new online Emag and achieve what you have a achieved in such a short space of time. We definitely applaud you and look forward to many more years of inspiring informative content.
Thank you for asking me to participate in this article for your magazine and I look forward to writing something new for you guys real soon!