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Where can I find FREE set design software?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by bryandavid25, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. bryandavid25

    bryandavid25 New Member

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    Ladies & Gentleman:

    I see/find/located a fair amount of FREE software for both lighting designers and sound engineers; tech talks abounds but not a whisper about set design for the theatre except for Mac users.

    As a Playwright & Lyricist I have VERY limited skills with sketching a set that doesn't look like a third grader's drawing. (No offense to all those great 3rd graders who can draw!) HELP ME! I can 'see' the set as I write and dictate blocking based on the location of everything from the bed and fireplace to the curved ramp and staircase but can't draw a straight line without a ruler.

    ANYONE OUT THERE USING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM FOR US DRAWING CHALLENGED?

    Thanking you all in advance for any advice and council.

    Bryan David
    bryandavid25@gmail.com
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  2. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Google Sketchup is free, and surprisingly standard in the lower end of professional theater. The pro version even outputs file types that are compatible with other drafting programs, although you'll have to pay for it.
  3. bryandavid25

    bryandavid25 New Member

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    It's NOT what you ask but WHO!

    THANH YOU 'Sayen'
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    Most people use Vectorworks or AutoCad but both are expensive. If you are a student you can get a student edition of both for free here and Autocad here. However they will be watermarked in some way as Student edition so it's not something you can use professionally, it's also against the user agreement. But it's great for school projects.

    Otherwise, Sketchup is your best bet. I like using Sketchup to make simple set models for early production meetings. Directors love the ability to fully visualize the set on a computer and it's REALLY easy to create something fairly complicated.
  5. JohnD

    JohnD Active Member Premium Member

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  6. Luna1968

    Luna1968 New Member

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    Thanks for the info!
  7. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Active Member

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    My preferred software for sketching up models is, ta-da! SketchUp. However, for creating drawings that I use to give to TD's or to do construction drawings, I use the free CAD program Draftsight. It is a standard command line CAD program for generating DWG type files that includes the ability to map custom keyboard shortcuts for most tools and actions. There is even some degree of 3D functionality. Compared to not free programs that are 2D it lacks the ability to database, making it fairly useless for drawing lighting plots unless you plan on generating paperwork manually, or for creating parts lists based off of compenents in the drawing.
  8. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Member

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    I second Draftsight. I haven't found any 3D functionality, but I haven't played with it that much.
  9. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Active Member

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    I've managed to model a 4x8 platform in 3D in Draftsight, however I've yet to figure out how to get that model into drawing sheets in some useful manner *scratches head*
  10. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    Sketchup is what you want to be using. Its free, incredibly easy, and works in 3d right away. A curved ramp might be something of a challenge, but thats hard to draw in any program (except as an orthographic projection, its a couple of pretty basic shapes...) The other option is going to your local community college and taking a couple drawing classes at night. Its amazing how much of the "inability to draw" is really "no one has told me I can draw just fine, and equipped me with tools to do so".
  11. np18358

    np18358 Member

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    Also, you may want to look into a few simple (cheap) drafting tools, like two drawing triangles. They can really help with drawing.

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