The first, and very important to our project, tool is SketchUp. SketchUp allows the user to create 3-D models of… whatever the user pleases. The nice thing about SketchUp is that the projects do not have to be buildings, but rather whatever the user wants to use their imagination for, such as video game design, film, video, or even animals . With that aside, SketchUp is primarily used for architecture and internal design. The greatest asset of SketchUp, I think, is that after the models are made, they can be used for 3-D printing, which is something that our group may attempt to do for our poster presentation. I first used SketchUp when Ed (I believe) came to lecture at the IQ center to build a model of Lee Chapel using blueprints found on Google. At first, I was fairly annoyed with the user interface; however, the learning curve was modest at best and I quickly found myself wanting to do more and to create more, faster than Ed was instructing us to. To create a 3-D model, use the shapes tool or the drawing tool to make a 2-D image. Then, use the push/pull tool to drag out the 2-D image to one side or the other, which creates the 3-D model. You can use other tools to refine the edges for greater detail. That is the pretty much the basic concept of SketchUp. We are attempting to use SketchUp to create a 3-D model of Lee “Cathedral” and I just recently learned that Google SketchUp is compatible with Google Earth, therefore I will be able to place my model onto Google Earth due to Google’s integration. The only problem is finding that exact version of SketchUp. SketchUp is also open source, and although I do not know how to take advantage of that, that means it is approved by most digital humanists… Yay.
Another fun tool that is not necessarily beneficial to our group, but is beneficial for the future is a little program called GitHub. Sound fun? GitHub is a program that allows the user or users to keep multiple versions of a document. This may sound familiar to Word’s “recovered” files or Google Drive’s “saved” files, but this is something that goes beyond simply saving some drafts. The best metaphor I read of was the tree metaphor- the main trunk of the tree is an idea, or an original draft, from that point on, the branches could either be one individual’s arguments either for or against the idea in the tree trunk. Alternatively, the branches could be different people’s drafts on the same subject, so it could essentially replace a “blog” style argument. GitHub will definitely help me in philosophy, as I can create one draft that argues purely against the idea, and one draft purely for. That way, when the two drafts are visualized side by side, I can create a stronger final essay more efficiently.
That being said, will I ever use GitHub? Maybe. There is still an uncomfortable thought with leaving behind the way that I’ve worked all my life, which is a microcosm of the macrocosm of why humans in general are slightly hesitant towards Digital Humanities. What we had before digital humanities worked for the longest time, and only recently started to “fail”, why bother switching when the “other method” is still reliable enough?