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Rendevous with Nomer Adona, a SketchUp artist in true Sense
Q. Hello Nomer! We will love to hear from you about yourself!
A.I am Nomer Adona, I am an art teacher at Saigon South International School. I teach International Baccalaureate Visual Arts and Advanced Placement Art, both of which emphasize drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and photography. I am also currently a practicing architect, visual artist, tutorial writer and designer. I am originally from the Philippines and now living here in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I am happily married to my wonderful Vietnamese wife, Lan, and we have three young children; Lanie, Lissa, and Nolan.
Q. How did you find SketchUp?
A.From 1990 to 1997, I did lots of hand drawn or free-hand visualizations in my old architectural job. In 1998, when the Asian economic crisis struck the region, I started to diversify by exploring digital software; Autocad, 3DStudioMax and Adobe Photoshop. I had very few projects at that time so I started doing digital visualization and I was able to produce decent looking renders using Scanline. My progress was short lived and I started working at Hanoi International School, where I began my art teaching career. My passion with digital visualization was revived in 2004, when a co-teacher, Paul Romaine, introduced me to SketchUp 4. I was skeptical using SketchUp at first, especially when I saw the simplicity of its user interface. I thought that it will not produce precise 3d models like Autocad and 3DMax. I began playing with it, watched some videos, and I got hooked on it immediately. The pains of producing 3D models by dragging vertices and typing long commands are over. The enjoyment of push-pulling faces has arrived.
Q. You are an artist. Then how do you find your passion for SketchUp?
A. My passion with visualization started before my art teaching career. Upon graduation from Architecture school in 1990, my first job had me illustrating and visualizing grand concepts, ideas and visions of urban and town planning and I have truly enjoyed those experiences. Now, with SketchUp, the process of producing 3d models has become so much easier and I can be much more creative. The development of different ruby scripts and rendering software has even opened a bigger avenue to explore, adding more
Q. What is the driving force of your inspiration?
A.I can’t deny that the driving force of my inspiration is exploration and experimentation. Whenever I find something new gets me excited. I find pleasure with discovery. The use of digital tools is one of the forms of art medium; therefore playing with various digital tool software enhances the exploration of this medium. I believe that the most satisfying part of being an artist is the joy of discovery and experience particularly when I take risk. Whether I finish a render or not, is not the priority. The journey is much more important.
Q. Please tell us your opinion about SketchUp?
A.SketchUp is user- friendly software with user-friendly buttons. It mimics the feeling and freedom of working with a pen and a paper in a friendly user-interface. It is fun! I think if you are new in the field of 3d modeling, the “push pull tool” will summarize it.
Q. Did you use render elements? If so, how were they integrated into the pipeline? Were they useful and easy to use during the postproduction stage?
A.Once you are in visualization field, there is always a hunger to create photo- realistic images. Because of this, I tried many rendering engines. In the end, I streamlined and used a few of them on different occasions. If I want to see the effect of lighting to my model quickly, I use Keyshot. If I want to render interior space with bump and reflective material, I used Podium. Most of the time, I used Vray SketchUp for its quality and speed. At present, I am looking and playing with LightUp too. I use SketchUp and rendering engines in my traditional art, too. I quickly study lighting and visual forms in the 3d world before I paint them. This is what fired my interest in LightUp.
Q. Can you share something about your recent projects?
A.Lately, I was drawn more on teaching and sharing my expertise in the field of visualization. So my recent projects are not really 3D design job or rendering images for clients. The very recent interests that I am exploring right now are Virtual reality in Google SketchUp and creating my own IES lighting components ready to be used in Vray scenes.
Q. According to you what is the best companion (Plugin) for SketchUp? Why?
A.Well we know Google SketchUp is so lucky of having good community of ruby script writers who are willing to raise the bar of this software. There are so many scripts that I like. But if you insist, minus the rendering plugins, I will choose “round corner by Fredo.” Most of the time, I use it to quickly fillet my edges before rendering.
Q. How do your artist self and architectural self mingle with each other?
A.I don’t have to mingle architecture and visual arts, for me they are both arts. They naturally co-exist.
Q. According to you what is your master piece till date?
A.Since I was drawn more with sharing my expertise and knowledge in the area of visualization, the masterpieces I considered right now are those people that I inspired and helped in the field of visualization. There is no other joy than to see them grow, mature, and share freely their knowledge to others. I am happy when I see their work develop. I guess I was really born to be a teacher.
Q. How much rendering is important to a SketchUp modeling?
A.For me modeling is more important than rendering. Modeling is the very foundation of a good rendering. If you have a lousy model, this will show in your rendering. Rendering engines only accentuate the beauty of the model. You don’t need rendering software in many occasion, since SketchUp has it’s built in styles.
Q. What is your inspiration of doing 3D modeling in SketchUp?
A.I am always inspired by concept art, particularly if they are related to culture and surreal environment. I am also inspired by my Christian belief. I also use SketchUp as preliminary study tool for painting. Sometimes I paint what I have rendered.
Q. Till date how did you see the evolution of SketchUp?
A.SketchUp had gone a long way because of the community of script writers. It has gained reputation and interest with 3d artists and architects who want to see their concepts quickly. It still lags in handling millions of polygons. The question remains if Google wants to push this software into this direction.
Q. You are an artist, painter, architect, design teacher. How do you manage all of you avatars?
A. I just don’t know how! I follow where my greater passion is. Whenever the inspiration to paint is there, I leave everything and paint like a mad man, sometimes I don’t even eat. But normally it does not last. In the field of visualization and teaching, I think I am more consistent. The field of architecture at the moment I rested it for a while, I got tired with my clients. This is one of the reasons why I move to Saigon.
Q. How do you like to see SketchUp grow?
A.I have only one request with SketchUp developers- to able to handle zillions of polygons. Personally, I love SketchUp and I want it to be a part of each classroom.
Q. As you are a teacher, you see the youth artists. How is the popularity of SketchUp among the newbie designers?
A.I think the popularity of SketchUp will not just be with young designers or university students. I believe it will be even younger than that. I am working in an international school and I have seen how keen the students are in using this software even in their young age. I regularly use it with my Grade 10-12 students. Our middle school teachers use SketchUp in their math lessons. I don’t have any doubt, this trend will continue in the future. Look at www.3dvinci.net . I think they are in the right track of providing resources for K-12 students.
Among university students, SketchUp is popular software. It is like the first ladder in 3d modeling and visualization. In our Filipino forum at www.cgpinoy.org, I have seen an increase of SketchUp users.
Q. Please give some advise to the budding designers
A. My advice for budding designers is this- keep on learning, take risk, explore and be persistent.
Q. What is your advice to the team of Sketchup ur Space?
A. First of all, I would like to congratulate SketchUp Ur Space team for your effort and hardworking attitude. All I could say is that you have made a huge impact on this SketchUp world. Keep doing it! On behalf of the SketchUp community, we thank you!
These are the Links of my 3 blogs.
www.nomeradona.blogspot.com (personal blog)
www.sketchupvrayresources.blogspot.com (sketchup and vray resources)
www.nomeradonaart.blogspot.com ( art and teaching)