Sketch up

Bali 2nd May 2013

After yesterday’s public (Labour Day) holiday I find myself in Bali again to attend project progress and coordination meetings. One of the great tools for visual modelling has to be Sketch Up. I have seen some amazing models made by architects, interior designers and landscape consultants that allow you to virtually walk through the building or space and appreciate the proportions and views. Most of all for me is that it allows you to understand complicated building structures that not necessarily become clear from looking at CAD drawings. While modelling Sketch Up can be quite tedious (we don’t do it in-house, but use the architects model to play around with) it is specifically handy to understand the spatial proportions. Putting in actual material finishes and properties is probably a monstrous job. For now it is mostly colours and shapes.

But the option to include lighting seems now on the verge of being part of this program offering great opportunities to show the visual impact from different angles and most probably also the impact of shadows and glare. Many (junior) lighting designers have no understanding of the 3 dimensional impact of lighting in space, so this tool will be very helpful. My worry though remains the same as with architectural drafting. The reliance on computers and their software programs, literally weeds out all human skills in design. Many of today’s designers don’t know how to (hand)sketch anymore! If they don’t have a computer at hand they are lost and cant express their design ideas…scary! Now with this tool there is the same risk that it will be the computer that will design for you and the human skill and input will be reduced to your skill in handling the computer software….scarier!

I am a great believer in manual skills, that is raw, personal and human. Using computer programs is clinical and impersonal. On top of that the outcome is as good as your understanding of the program and hence your input. The main risk will be that we will create things that look beautiful but may not be able to be realised in real life! To make these programs successful you need to understand the actual laws that rule our lighting design and not rely just on what your computer says!

Light Watch 4-76: Initial impressions of what lighting up the space within Sketch up will be able to do …


02. May 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting applications, lighting design, lighting of the future | 1 comment

One Comment

  1. “Many (junior) lighting designers have no understanding of the 3 dimensional impact of lighting in space…”

    In my opinion, this is the biggest hurdle in our field: for lighting designers, other design partners, and clients. Even high-quality architectural photos of a space cannot convey the EXPERIENCE of being in a space, and what we are designing is exactly that. We don’t make it “look” great, we make it “feel” great.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

Get Adobe Flash player