Software for Theme Camp Layout

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Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:29 pm

We're preparing to submit our theme camp questionnaire, but need to complete our theme camp layout plan. We want to make it to scale and have all necessary measurements between our objects.

I've hunted around on here and found little in the way of suggested software, and my hunting online has led to more advanced 2d and 3d CAD software. I've found programs like Sketchup, DraftSight, and others, but they all seem unnecessarily complex for what I'm trying to do. Something like Photoshop or MS Paint will be a PITA to use if I'm trying to do scale drawings & include automatic measurements between objects.

Last year we used some online home furnishing website "build your own room" modeler that we found but we couldnt actually save our design. We then had to rebuild the plan in Powerpoint, which currently seems like my best option....

I know it doesnt have to be absolutely perfect, but surely there's some simple software out there that can help me build a scale 2d drawing with measurement lines...

Any suggestions for a simple software that I can use to create my scale-drawing camp plan? Here's the example from the theme camp guide, which is basically the level of complexity I'm going for.

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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby EspressoDude » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:37 pm

ms paint has a grid mode
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:42 pm

EspressoDude wrote:ms paint has a grid mode


As does Powerpoint, though no auto-measurements between objects. I'm gonna do it manually if I have to, but there must be a better program...
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby Rice » Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:33 pm

I used Google SketchUp. It allowed me to to draw everything to scale, with measurements....
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:36 pm

Rice wrote:I used Google SketchUp. It allowed me to to draw everything to scale, with measurements....


Thanks, will check it out. Looks like some robust software, but maybe to get everything I want I will have to learn one of these more powerful apps.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby some seeing eye » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:12 pm

I wouldn't be surprised that placement would look favorably on a scale hand drawing. Print or find some graph paper. Establish your scale in English or metric to fit the paper in a convenient scale. Make paper cutouts to scale for the objects in your camp. Move/ arrange them. Draw their outlines, note what the org wants for clearances, scan or photo the drawing and send to the org. Done.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby trilobyte » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:18 am

Placement doesn't favor either hand drawn or designed with software. They favor legible, easy-to-understand, and clear. From conversations with placers I'm told they get lots of plans that are incredibly tough to read (bad handwriting or crazy font choice), don't identify shapes/structures (sure, you know that one rectangle is your dance floor, but without a label how will anyone else?), and don't cover the basics.

At the very minimum, the camp layout map should specify the total width and total depth, and you should clearly mark which side is your frontage (faces the street). I screwed up on that one this year, I noted the size of each of the structures but neglected to put the total width and depth on the layout plan (after entering that info into the questionnaire form I spaced on adding it to the layout in Illustrator). Make sure that stuff's on your layout - your placer will not always have your questionnaire handy when they're working on fitting camp layouts together on the city map.

I think it's a 'your mileage may vary' kind of thing. I think pro design software like Illustrator or Photoshop work great for the task (use a grid) - but it's also something I know and have readily available. If you don't already have and know how to use something, then I'd point you in the direction of something like Sketchup (formerly Google Sketchup, it was sold off in April of last year). I haven't used it in a couple versions but I think it'll do what you need it to even in the free version, and it's probably one of the easiest 3D programs to work with. Some people go so far as to work up detailed objects, but all you really need to do is a simple block layout.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:41 pm

If you're looking for something strictly 2D, you might try Inkscape (http://inkscape.org/download/?lang=en), an open source vector illustration program. It has a grid that you can snap various shapes to and handles mostly like Adobe Illustrator, only it's free.

Along the lines of what some seeing eye suggested, a trick I learned from my father is to cut out shapes from graph paper and then place them on another section of graph paper the size of the camp space. That way you can move around cars and shade structures and tents and so on to find the best configuration. When the items are in the arrangement you finally decide is best, just trace their outlines.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby International Incident » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:17 pm

I tried to draw ours and was laughed at by my campmates (bastards). I then stuck the crayons up my nose.

So I cannot assist, but wanted to say that I understand and share your pain MacG.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:08 pm

International Incident wrote:I tried to draw ours and was laughed at by my campmates (bastards). I then stuck the crayons up my nose.

They aren't afraid enough of you, Ms Incident. I suggest pissticuffs.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby Capt. RON » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:25 pm

Hands down, SketchUP..... it takes about 20 min to learn using the on line tutorials.

BUT

Here's the SECRET SAUCE..... there is a MASSIVE on line catalog of common Burning Man structures in the 3D library!!!!

It's drag and drop simple from there....

Lableling is a breeze using the 3D lettering, clean and legible

When you're done placing tents, stages, RV's cars, bondage tables, ect. you just do a a save as 2D JPEG and VOILA
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby oscillator » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:42 pm

For simple 2D, I've found that a regular Google Doc drawing is just fine.

You have to setup your own grid, but that is easy.

Plus the doc is shareable, etc

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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby DrYes » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:45 pm

Argh. So, I am a newbie at camp planning, and this is the first year I've been in charge of submitting. I apparently missed something quite important, as I never saw that example drawing. What I submitted had the overall camp dimensions, and was more-or-less to scale, but didn't have distances between perimeter and camp structures. We've got a fairly simple camp with nothing fire-related, but I'm wondering: If we get rejected because our camp map isn't 100% what they wanted? And if so, will they give us a chance to correct that?

Thanks. A bit freaked out that I may have let down our camp.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:49 pm

They may contact you for clarification.
May. But I've heard stories...

Fuck, I shouldn't have posted, because I don't really have enough knowledge to give out a definitive answer. I have the distinct impression that they will work with you if the rest of the entry indicates that you're worth with.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:57 pm

Capt. RON wrote:Hands down, SketchUP.....


I'd seen this a few years ago but never looked into the details. I'm going to download it tonight just to mess around - looks super easy to use! Thanks, Captain!
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby Rice » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:59 pm

DrYes wrote:Argh. So, I am a newbie at camp planning, and this is the first year I've been in charge of submitting. I apparently missed something quite important, as I never saw that example drawing. What I submitted had the overall camp dimensions, and was more-or-less to scale, but didn't have distances between perimeter and camp structures. We've got a fairly simple camp with nothing fire-related, but I'm wondering: If we get rejected because our camp map isn't 100% what they wanted? And if so, will they give us a chance to correct that?

Thanks. A bit freaked out that I may have let down our camp.

You might want to rehash your camp map with the added details and email that to them. You have a few days before the submission time ends.

Better to admit you made a submission error than to get rejected over something you could have easily fixed...
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby trilobyte » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:07 pm

If you missed it, that means you glossed over or skipped some of the stuff on the questionnaire, it was linked directly from a page in that process. If the rest of your questionnaire info is solid but they're missing what they feel is important info, they will likely attempt to contact you. If the submitted info falls short in a number of other ways (interactivity, etc), then they may not bother to ask you for placement dimensions. This post has some good info, and the form itself actually tells you what things are more important (if you read the instructions thoroughly, they spell it out pretty clearly).

If you need to update either your camp layout or something significant has changed regarding your questionnaire answers (you get emailed a copy of the completed form), you can send in an update to placement@burningman.com. MAKE SURE that your subject line contains your camp name, exactly as it appears in your questionnaire (that way whoever is checking the email address can easily match it up and forward it to the right team member). If you're updating a questionnaire answer, make sure to specify which question number you're changing or adding something to, and just send the changed/amended info (don't forward your entire revised questionnaire).

And if sending an update/revision, please be patient when awaiting an acknowledgement. They get a tidal wave of questionnaires (as well as questions) in the last week of registration, and we're in that now.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:35 am

trilobyte wrote: They get a tidal wave of questionnaires (as well as questions) in the last week of registration, and we're in that now.

Now, trilo, you know that those waves of questionnaires are cause by earthquakes and not tidal forces.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby MacGlenver » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:05 pm

Thanks for all the advice! I'll check out the Sketchup tutorials and give it a go. I was half way through with my Powerpoint-based drawing, so I went ahead and completed it. At the risk of being critiqued, here's the final product in case it helps someone to see what they can do with basic PPT functions. After i finished mine I realized i used the same symbol for the generator as the DPW example... guess maybe they used PPT for their sample also.

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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby lemur » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:47 pm

coming from a different perspective.. doing application processing from the DMV..

i speak for myself.. and the voices ive heard echod in the sessions many times that say (mostly joking):

"CAN WE BAN SKETCHUP?!"


really.. id advise against it. paper and a pencil provides a much better idea of these things, for some reason.

maybe the placement team loves it!!

it doesnt do much for me in my work with the DMV.. makes it worse/harder to get an idea of the actual thing.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby trilobyte » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:16 pm

MacGlenver - your layout seems fine to me (and congrats for getting it all done).

lemur - I think that in the case of the DMV, we're talking about a completely different kind of beast. In the case of mutant vehicle registration, you guys are looking for something that can visualize artistic and creative work. Unless a person is extremely skilled and detailed, Sketchup is probably a poor choice for that. On the placement side, they're looking for a block diagram layout.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby EspressoDude » Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:57 pm

all that is missing is the Theme Camp name, contact person with phone number and e-mail. All on that document; so placers have all info on one piece of paper in their notebook
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby MacGlenver » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:41 am

EspressoDude wrote:all that is missing is the Theme Camp name, contact person with phone number and e-mail. All on that document; so placers have all info on one piece of paper in their notebook


Yep -- chopped that part off before posting here for obvious reasons.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby DrYes » Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:24 pm

Thanks for the help, folks. Revised plan submitted. I can smell the dust already.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:37 pm

So, what about some simple graphics? Just resizing and stitching together some images...
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby trilobyte » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:23 pm

If you're talking about the theme camp questionnaire, Fishy, the document that's being asked for is a single page layout plan. The only real 'extra' they call for are pictures or drawings of what the frontage would look like.

If you want to provide additional visuals, illustrations, renderings, or photos my guess would be the best place to put that would be on your camp web site. You can then link to the page that's on in the additional info/comments portion of the questionnaire. It's optional at best, and wouldn't be a substitute for providing the necessary details in all the required parts of the form.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:01 pm

No, I'm drifting the thread, because it follows for me. I knew I shoulda made a new thread, but it seems to dovetail so nicely.
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Re: Software for Theme Camp Layout

Postby DrYes » Thu May 02, 2013 11:47 pm

Props to the great placement crew. I got a response acknowledging my resubmitted camp plan soon after sending it, which sets my mind at ease.
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