Sketchup is a powerful tool to add to our permaculture design arsenal, however many of the components which are freely available (e.g. plants) are too elaborate, which makes them memory heavy and slows down your computer. There is also a dearth of plant components available which are appropriate for permaculture designs in temperate climates. I therefore find myself making new components or more often wishing I had time to make new components. Having spoken to several other permaculture designers, I know I am not the only person who uses sketchup and not the only one who has the same problem, so I would like to utilise the power of community to help each other make more appropriate components which we can all share.
What do you need
As with any good permaculture design, we start with the survey. I know what I mainly need (Trees, shrubs, flowers, etc for temperate climates), but what else do you need?
Ideally I would like to have a forum, which we can tailor to our needs, but I am abroad for the next 4 months, with minimal access to internet, so instead I have set up a google forum sketchup for permaculture designers. If anyone has the skills and time to set up a forum on my joomla based web site, please step up as I'd be very happy to hear from you. In the mean time, you can join the google group to let us know what kind of components you need. We can also use the google group to make requests, and get support on how to make components, etc.
A quick guide to how to make sketchup components
The comfrey image at the top of this article is an image I made a while ago using gimp. It took about 20 mins to make from a basic picture which did not have a transparent background. Rather than expplain how I did it, there are plenty of articles on the net how to create components, so to save me time, a quick internet search has unveiled the following
3. I found a video on how to make a 2D tree, but I dont have enough bandwidth to check it while I am here in India, so please let me know if its not useful.
If you have any articles which you think are useful, please email me or mention it in the forum.
Where to place new components
It was suggested we use google drive to share components, however, google drive does not work with Linux, so instead I would like to propose we use dropbox. The main advantage of dropbox, is you can choose whether access files via a web browser or you can choose to automatically download all components to your hard disk, which will be automatically synchronised as soon as any new component is added or an existing component is updated. Which means you can use the components when you are offline. If you have any other suggestions, please email me or propose it on the forum. In the mean time, please email me via the contacts page to join dropbox.