Sketchup UR Space
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Rendezvous with ManO Papanikolaou, the featured geo modeler of Google
Q. First of all, Congratulation ManO for the achievement of being the featured Geo Modeler by Google
A. Thank you very much! I work hard for these models, I love them very much and it is nice to hear that people from all over the world notice them and like them! It is my reward. And my honour!
Q. Please tell us something about yourself.
A. I started to paint when I was 4-5 years old! I knew that in my life, I will be making pictures with any possible ways! Painting is just one!
Q. And what about SketchUp?
A. SketchUp is the tool I was looking for years! When first SU came into my hands, I knew it could be a great way of making pictures! And I knew that like all the other tools, anyone can use it in his own way! To give his unique I can say a lot about SU & GE style! Well, all that experience, to have your own planet and build anything you want on it. It is one of the best things that happen on the web! It feels a bit like you are the god! I love SU! I feel that I don't know much about want to learn it more and I’m learning each time I make a model...with it... I use a small part. My models are actually my studies...on SU percent of its abilities…
Q. From when you did start modeling on SketchUp?
A. I didn't know the program so in my first model you can see the beginner’s faults, but there is a progress and in my last ones you can see the difference! My first "touch" was in 2007. I started geo modeling in 2009.
Q. And till date there are 32 models by you I guess
A. yes! And I have around 40 terrains in my SU that are waiting... I mean models that I work on...
Q. So we will see some more wonderful building soon
A. How soon I don't know...
Q. What is your feeling after being the feature of Geo Modeler?
A. As I told you, it came very natural... I was a geo-modeler before but now it is more official! I feel like I must work harder to be a super-modeler! Maybe next year... But I must work hard for it, I know!
Q. Why do you prefer modeling in SketchUp?
A. Because it is free, first of all! I tried other programs, more complicated, but I should go to school to learn them! I can afford neither the school, nor the original program to buy! An SU is so simple; it was exactly what I wanted! I think is the next generation of the CAD programs! All the others will follow...
Q. According to you what is the importance of geo modeling to a general people?
A. I think that the fact that we can have access to a virtual representation of our planet is important anyway for all of us! For me it is important because I can show my point of view on how it should work better! For the people it is important because they like to see the micrographics of their cities and point themselves on the map! I think it is so important for the people, as important are the paintings of their cities! To see in a small frame the place they live! It is an old tradition actually! Sometimes I feel like I’m in that place when I’m modeling, if that is what you mean! And that is the advantage. Plus you can build anything you want! This is the fascinating thing about it!
Q. What is your first 3D modeling?
A. It was a little chapel that my father built in front of our house! I was experimenting first! Well, I didn't care if it will be accepted because it is a very personal model and not important sightseeing! I used some 3d plants from the warehouse and the geometry was too complicated and it was not accepted. But as I told you I didn't care. I wanted to make first the important buildings of my hometown Thessaloniki! The models there were few and bad! I started with the Santa Sofia Church! Sofia means Wisdom and with that model I wanted to bring me the knowing of building for GE. I can't forget the time when it was accepted! I didn't expect it! And the first good critics! Feeling that something good might come here! I realize that my models are likeable not only for me but for others too!
Every new model was better and that gave me the willing to go on. Better & better and the critiques were becoming more & more! Because sometimes I was very disappointed with everything and I wanted to stop any activity... But if you have good work, sometimes you have a chance... Now I see that every new model I make gets rates very quickly... and I love it! It is like I’m getting paid at the end of the day after hard Important is what is made for a reason! And the reason I started modeling is because there were not good models in Greece, in the country that used to have the best architecture! I was "jealous" of the other countries and the other modelers, so I "study" them and make the same here too!
Q. What is your favorite city/building in 3D? Which is the city/building you enjoyed most to do 3D modeling? And which one was most challenging so far?
A. Generally speaking, the best GE city is with no doubt San Sebastian in Spain!
Q. And among your models?
A. The most difficult so far was the Arkadi monastery in Crete! This birth was painful (Smiling)! It is a whole complex of buildings and I was never there to take photos by my self. But the result was a "faithful" representation of the place. I make my first GE-SU video with that model! I found the plan, I found photos, I use my logic and I spent over two months...
Q. Which one is most difficult?
A. The most difficult are the models where the modeler does not have enough photos! And of course, when the terrain in GE not good! Maybe Delphi is such a model. I mean the whole complex with the temple, the Stadium... It is difficult because they are all ruins, the photos can not give a complete view and the terrain is very "rough"!
Generally speaking, I think that archaeological sites are the most difficult to me, but my favourite also! But, I have to say, that modern stadiums and bridges are the most challenging models a modeler can make! I'm just not interested in them yet!
Q. And during the modeling phase so far which model do you enjoy most?
A. All! (Smiling) But, believe or not, the center of Athens was the funniest one! With the Parliament, the Unknown Soldier and the Syntagma Square! The heart of Athens!
I enjoy it most! Maybe because it is a complete piece of neoclassical structures and is the most important center in Greece! Millions of people pass by, all the newest history have seen this place! All that gives a special atmosphere! That is the secret for a good model! To include the atmosphere of the place! Atmosphere to that model! But you didn't ask me what is the secret!
Q. If you will be given an option to make 3D model of a city of your choice then which city it will be?
A. You won't believe! An old city in Yemen!
Q. There are many Greek mythological inspirations in your models. What is the secret?
A. We are all creatures of the mythology! It is like a religion to me... I have it inside me, we all have it! I just express it this way! To believe in mermaids is to believe in fantasy! Fantasy is the first material for building the future! So, mythology=future to Man! or to me!
Q. Who or what is your inspiration of doing the 3D modeling on Google Earth?
A. Google Earth it self! And SketchUp of course. First of all was the fact that Greece had no good model. Then, when I saw the work other countries have done, I started to be "jealous". I wanted to see some good models here too! And that gave me the power to start! While I was "studying" other modelers' models, I started to "format" my own style! I had to find the specialties of the Greek architecture and to represent them in SU! There are many great modelers that inspire me and through their work, give me "lines”! I learn quite fast when I like something like all of us I guess! Models on GE!
Q. Please give some tips to the budding Google SketchUp modeler.
A. Respect to what their doing! Take care of the photos! ...and feeling! Always use the right photos is the secret! SketchUp is the canvas, the photos are the colours and our models are the paintings!
Q. What is your advice to the team of Sketchup ur Space?
A. You are doing a great job, I can see your passion for 3D in your site, you are presenting our subject in a very popular way and you give me inspiration for seeing my models from another perspective! I would advice them if I can, to pay attention in the local 3ds because India has more buildings than Taj Mahal and Budhas to show! There are so many unbelievable places in India and I’m sure a good modeler can make wonders in GE!