Sun 24 Apr, 2011
Tags: Design, LayOut, Ruby, Script, SketchUp, Software, Tutorial, Video
Yesterday one of my readers sent me an email and asked if I might consider a series of tutorials on how to write Ruby scripts for SketchUp. I thought about that for a while. It seemed to me that the typical approach would either be to address an audience that already had some programming experience, perhaps even with Ruby, or in the other extreme to use the least common denominator approach and assume the reader had no programming experience. At first glance the latter seemed undoable because it meant teaching basic programming techniques, then Ruby and finally the SketchUp Ruby API. But as I thought more about it, including all last night, while trying to sleep, I believe I have come up with a way to teach script writing to lay people; a practical approach to SketchUp’s Ruby API and the Ruby language. And so, such a series would be possible and I believe productive.
However, the real question is, what would my readers like to see in the next series of tutorials. Another idea I had was an Advanced SketchUp tutorial focused on the Pro version of SketchUp, including LayOut and one or two rendering plugins. This tutorial series would emphasis polished and professional presentation of furniture pieces; material that could be used to sell a client for example. In addition, the more powerful solids tools would be introduced and used in furniture modeling. As I thought about this opportunity I realized the target audience might be limited also; not everyone would buy a SketchUp license just to follow a tutorial.
That led me to a third option. That is to start at the beginning of SketchUp, but this time in stead of jumping in and drawing a piece of furniture, each part would focus on one SketchUp tool and delve into it in detail. For instance, many people don’t realize that there are numerous ways to use the Select tool. We tend to use tools the one or two ways we see someone else do it and stick with that method, never bothering to explore other functions of the tool. This series would be akin to a Master’s Degree in a field of study. To make it interesting to woodworkers I would use common furniture parts or joints in each tutorial; and each tutorial would also use different parts or joint so that there would be some woodworking learning as well.
So, as it stands there are three options for a path the next tutorial series might take:
- Ruby Scripting
- SketchUp Pro
- Mastering SketchUp
You might have yet another idea, and if you do I would like to hear it. Please comment your thoughts and ideas on this post and help me design a tutorial series you the readers would want.