|Review by Vate||posted 07-19-2011 11:33 PM||5122 views||5 times favorited||8 comments|
- SketchUp Learn Google Sketchup in a Weekend with Robert Lang
- Brand: SketchUp | Category: Courses
The Woodcraft store in Atlanta offered this class, which is three 8-hour days of training (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). I signed up after they dropped the price from $449 to $349.
Overall, it was a very good class. Mr. Lang is engaging, knowledgeable, and clearly has deep knowledge of both woodworking and Sketchup. The content, apart from the basic Sketchup tools and navigation, was completely oriented toward woodworking, and was very useful. Mr. Lang mastered Sketchup by necessity, as a writer and illustrator, and teaches a number of clever and hard-won techniques (such as transferring tenons in one piece accurately to mortises in another). I left with many ideas on how I would use Sketchup on future projects, and a reasonable amount of confidence that I could work my way through it.
I also purchased what might be called the companion CD, Mr. Lang’s Woodworker’s Guide to Sketchup, which contains an almost 200 page PDF-based book with both text and embedded video, for $30. The techniques and lessons in the class are also covered in the book, and the book is therefore a very useful reference after the class is complete (when you might have forgotten something). The embedded videos are animations of screen actions, with voiceover, and are therefore very useful as “show and tell”.
Is the class worth it? For me it was, as I wanted to intensely dive into Sketchup and shortcut my learning curve, and I doubted my own ability to set aside the time. I also value in-person training and coaching. Once the class was paid for, I knew I would block out the time and not waste the money. However, if you are motivated and good at self-teaching, you can learn all these techniques from Mr. Lang’s CD-based guide, and save the leftover cash for tools or wood. If you plan on using Sketchup for woodworking, I recommend the CD without reservation – it is well worth the money.
If you take the class, I would highly recommend learning the basics of Sketchup ahead of time – the navigation, the drawing tools (lines, arcs, rectangles, etc.), the push/pull tool. There are many free online tutorials that cover the basics. Sketchup is not hard to use, but it has a certain technique and rule set that is not necessarily intuitive. Many of the people in class had just downloaded it and opened it for the first time and they struggled.
My one improvement comment is that I think the CD should have been included in the class price, especially since the class lessons are largely replicated on the CD, making it very useful. Yes, that meant I was willing to pay extra, but I would have appreciated it as part of the class package.