After SketchUp’s 3D Basecamps in Boulder (2012), Vail (2014), and Steamboat Springs (2016), this was my fourth such event, this time in Palm Springs, CA. Aside from the move from CO to CA, this event also hosted a lot more attendees, over 1200 in total, with folks coming from over 30 countries.

I really enjoy these 3D Basecamps. Not only because I can talk about topics that are dear to me, e.g. in my presentations this time on Ruby coding, but at which other event can you meet so many amazing people that all share the same passion, then listen to a keynote about making (delivered by the incomparable Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame), then sit at lunch with an Oscar-winner (by complete coincidence), followed by listening to presentations about design, laser scanning, and drones in construction. And let’s not forget that the same day was capped by a party under the Californian sunset with old and new friends from all around the world. Oh, and I even got to learn what “In-N-Out Burgers” is all about…

Once again there was no major theme at this conference. SketchUp is used in so many industries that there was something for everyone who is interested in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, rendering, construction, making, 3D printing, AR/VR, event design, movie design, and a bunch more industries that I am forgetting to mention here. There was, however, a good amount of AR/VR on display, especially on the “VR Island”, a room where folks could strap on a variety of headsets and try them out. Kubity even handed out nifty little phone/VR glasses.

As always there was a good showing from rendering solutions, e.g. VRay, Lumion, and SUPodium. Especially the rendering and visualization solutions that come out of game engine technology seem to be quite popular these days (e.g. Lumion and Unreal Engine).

SketchUp also keeps pushing the “BIM envelope” as evidenced by the PlusSpec, Dibac, and 3skeng parametric and data-centric building modeling approach. Condoc Tools, Estimator and others showed how such data could then be used in the construction process workflow. In terms of “big data”, however, gigabyte-volumes can most easily be reached by creating a few laser scans of existing buildings (or land forms), which is an approach that Trimble, Matterport, and Undet showed.

Contrary to previous Basecamps, there was no major product announcement from SketchUp, but given the size of the event, I can imagine that they had their hands full just organizing that. Also, this time Basecamp was preceded by a “Bootcamp”, which allowed for a broad range of SketchUp training to happen beforehand.

As always there was a good amount of swag available from SketchUp and the vendors in attendance, I also got to catch up with old friends at Trimblemind.sight.studios, PlusSpec, 3skengCondoc Tools, SketchUcation, and many others.

While we all have to wait another two years for the next 3D Basecamp to come around, we fortunately already know where it will be happening: Vancouver, BC, Canada! Woohoo!!! Looking forward to seeing everyone there in 2020…


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