Although I gather it’s been out for quite a while, I only recently downloaded SketchUp. It’s a 3-D drawing program now part of Google’s stable that is simply phenomenal. I can’t draw for beans, and if you start with me about horizon lines and all that high-tech art talk I leave the room and doodle. But with SketchUp you can create buildings, you can construct rooms full of furniture, you can represent actual structures and attach them to Google Earth’s map of everything.
The program is very deep — even the free version — and it’s going to take me some time to uncover all of the bells, whistles, sirens, horns and bull roarers in the thing. For example, I just stumbled across the fact that you can introduce shadows into your designs. Big deal, you say? Hah! These are not just any shadows; they are shades that occur at a precise time on a precise day (okay, I haven’t figured out how to fix the lat. and long. yet); so in the crude graphic I made for this post (click on it to see the proper full size), you’re seeing shadows as they are at 3pm on December 15, which I think is fairly cool.
So try your hand at castles in the air or just a few boxes in anticipation of Boxing Day. Whatever you do, I think you’ll find that a D beyond 2-D is rewarding.