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SketchUp David Gran Students today are already com- fortable in navigating and even creating in 3D environments. As mentioned in my October article of this year, even the popular game Minecraft introduces students to a simple method of building block by block in a virtual world. 3D Versatility Trimble's SketchUp is an excellent tool for helping students explore sophisticated 3D modeling. The free version is versatile enough to be intro- duced to students even at the primary level and complex enough to engage high-school students in architectural design. Furthermore, public schools O ver the past few years, I've written about the many ways that art is being created in vir - tual spaces. Three-dimensional rendering is a key tool for the creation of video games, animation, augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D printing. Each year it becomes a more critical tool for both artists and designers. are strongly encouraged to apply for a SketchUp Pro grant license, making the full program available for free. Setting the Foundation To demonstrate how quick and effi- cient it is to create forms in SketchUp, let's try this activity together. Start by downloading and opening the lat- est version of the program. At the top of the screen, you'll see an icon that looks like a square bisected by a red line. Select that icon and then click and drag anywhere in the main window and—boom—you've got your first foundation. Form Efficiency A few icons over is the Push/Pull icon. It looks like a small platform with a red arrow pointing up, but you can also discover the functions of the various icons by hovering over them with your cursor. Use the Push/Pull icon on the rectangle you've created and drag it up the screen. There's your first 3D form! You can use the Orbit tool, represented by green and red arrows rotating around an axis, to move your object around to see it from different perspectives. Exploring the Paint Bucket The Paint Bucket tool will look familiar to those of you who have worked with Photoshop. Use this tool to quickly fill the sides of the object with a color, or click on the icon that resembles a brick at the top of the col - ors panel to select a variety of textures for the surface. These textures include common building and interior design textures such as tile, brick, and carpet. Inscribing Shapes Let's return to the square icon and inscribe the shape on the form you've already created. Grab the Push/Pull icon again and you can push the shape into the original form or extrude the shape from the surface. The line and arc tools, the pencil, and the half-circle give you further ability to customize and design your buildings and forms. Now you're ready to explore on your own! Experiment with the other tools to see what they do to your shapes. Try moving your objects around the screen and adding a layer of complexity with some simple copy- ing and pasting of your forms. Watch this space for more interesting ways that your students can take their ideas in SketchUp even further. David Gran teaches high-school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about 21st cen- tury art education. email@example.com Three-dimensional rendering is a ke ool for the creation of video games, animation, augmented realit , virtual realit , and 3D printing. 22 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts M E D I A @ r + s