The other courses we had last semester were introduction classes to computer software. There were 4 classes, one for 3d Studio Max, the traditional 3d modeling software for architects.
One in Rhino, which is also used for modeling, but is actually more for product designers, and is very good with curbed surfaces. But we only spent a week on modeling and the rest of the course learning how to script, ie program. Which was interesting, but I’m not sure I learned how to model in it to begin with.
We also learned Maya, which is mainly an animation software used in most animated films like Ice Age and the like. This program was a lot of fun, as we were misusing it to create architectural effects with hair, particles, fluids, etc.
And the most difficult was Catia. This is program used mainly in the aerospace industry, and Frank gehry started to use it in architecture with his Bilbao Museum. Its interface is very different from the other programs and it is based on relational geometries. So not only is it a very hard program to learn but our tutor was a young Japanese guy who spoke bad english in hushed voice with his hand over his mouth and his computer was in japanese so you couldn’t tell what all the little pops were saying. Further he had never taught before and knew the program so well that he forgot that we had never used it before so he moved way too fast. All these things added up to no one learning Catia and his class size fell to 2 by the end of term (I stuck it out for 4 weeks then gave up).
Another reason I stopped going was that 3 of these classes were held on the weekends (Catia was on Sunday morning at 10). That was not my idea of a weekend. Luckily this semester we no longer have the classes, but I can’t say with any confidence that I learned the programs because we barely got a chance to use them.
Sorry for the brief descriptions but I don’t know how much I can really get into detail without boring everyone about computer programs. Also I ahven’t used them that much so far, especially not with any “beautiful” results, so I’ll let you know more as I go about how they work and what I am using them for.