CAD is not new for art. I recall the numerous stories we ran on artists using AutoCAD in the early days of CADalyst -- an installation artist, a stained glass designer, a book typesetter, and even the giant King Kong at some amusement park. The stained glass designer particularly loved CAD, because of how it could rescale a design to fit any size and aspect-ratio of window -- instantly.
My youngest daughter is in first year art studies (sigh, I know) at Trinity Western University. Here are a couple of her art pieces:
Photograph project: "Taken with my five year old Casio Digital Camera. Edited using Picasa 3 and Paint Shop Pro 8."
Painting project: "Art 182: Full Palette Assignment. 18x 22, Acrylic"
Her professor recently asked the class to create a conceptual piece of installation art -- physical art that gets installed somewhere and then taken down.
"In what should I create it, dad?" she wondered by email. "Paint Shop Pro or AutoCAD?" I suggested SketchUp since (1) it was free and (2) was meant for conceptual design.
Next time she was at home, she showed me what she'd done so far. Her idea was to have a room in which the art spectator becomes the subject. Four walls would be fully covered with film clips of people staring into the room, pointing at and talking about the art spectator.
You can imagine a CAD drawing of a four-walled room. The problem is, how do you see inside? I suggested she look for a translucency adjuster. She found it, applied it, and was stunned: SketchUp can make the outside of a wall translucent, but the inside opaque. It was the ideal effect: as she rotated the room in 3D, you saw through the outside of the wall, into the room and the four inside walls covered with images.
Her professor's next assignment: create an architectural concept of a sacred place. With this one, she's struggling to master SketchUp's 3D capabilities, particularly with her somewhat complex ideas of intersecting semi-parabolic shapes reaching skyward.