Computing resources and tutorials

Student Laptop Requirement

Software Tutorials

UW IT Connect offers free and discounted software and several online tutorials for enrolled students in web publishing, graphics and design, digital video, and digital audio – also offers several online tutorials.  You can access for free through the Seattle Public Library.  You will need to first create an account with SPL –

College of Built Environments

Gould Hall Digital Commons
Gould Hall Plotter
Gould Hall Scanners
Architecture Hall printing (Archnet)
Laser cutter


Laptop loaner program (comes preloaded with CAD/GIS/Adobe software)
Application server (for use with your own laptop)
UBookstore discounted software


Free Software


Easy-to-learn 3D modeling. Good for getting a sense of 3D space/perspective, lighting studies, exporting to Google Earth.

Blender 3D
3D modeling and rendering, used by computer game designers to create stunning characters/scenes. Steep learning curve. Comes pre-loaded on loaner laptops

Alternative to Photoshop. There is a portable version that can be run from a flash drive

Alternative to Illustrator. Can import Illustrator/PDF files and can export PDFs. Native file format is SVG, which reads like xml. Comparison to Illustrator can be found here

3D human posing software, with sliders to control gender/body mass/ethnicity/muscle tone/age. Exports in .obj format. Still in development.

Tree generator. Start with a dozen complex tree files or the basic default one, and apply extensive trunk/branching customization. Exports to Autocad dxf.

Scroll down in the database for a long list of free GIS software


Microsoft Software Not really free, but paid for by your student technology fee

Alternative to Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Access

Google Docs
Alternative to Word/Excel, good for online collaboration

Alternative to InDesign/Framemaker