Patrick DuChene bought his Surface Pro 4 right before a last-minute business trip, and has been in love ever since. “I always kind of brushed these Surface Pro 4 devices off because I am so into raw power in computers. I never thought they were this capable…but it is truly a great machine.”
The founder of DuChene Design Solutions, LLC, an independent design consultancy company, Patrick is committed to providing landscape and design firms with dynamic, cutting edge designs.
Patrick is all about productivity, efficiency and technology, which are key to making his business run. He enjoys flexibility, and says Surface is “awesome because I am able to move around the house to work where I feel like working, take it to the clubhouse where I live and have a drink and do some emails or write a speech, take it outside to my backyard and watch the boats come into the dock, and then manage my business at night by downloading files sent to me by clients and organizing them into my design schedule.” When I asked him what else he loves about the Surface Pro 4, he responded: “The screen, the screen, the screen! It is beautiful – the whites are so great, not bluish or yellowish like other laptops.”
Patrick does full-color rendered 2D designs and 3D modeling and rendering, using programs like DynaSCAPE Design and Color, Lumion, SketchUp and Shaderlight. Then, he switches into Office, using Excel and Word to generate financial estimates for the work and presentations to show clients. Patrick uses Microsoft Outlook for all of his email correspondences. He notes excitedly, “I can do my design base sheets, sketch on those base sheets for concepts for my clients or for myself, bring those sketches back into my software, finish the drawings, color the drawings, model the drawings and render the drawings ALL WITH ONE COMPUTER—not jumping back and forth from one system to the other.”
I asked Patrick to share his top 3 tips for other designers who want to use Surface:
- Create a base sheet for the property you are designing and take measurements and make notes on your Surface in the field with the Surface Pen. This will help expedite the design process later on and will help you capture that “feeling” you get in the space.
- Use Drawboard PDF or Microsoft Paint – both of which come free and installed on the Surface – to do labeled concept sketches that you can easily email to a client for feedback. Collaborating with your clients electronically during the design process makes them feel attended to and can make the whole process more enjoyable and effective.
- Make sure you purchase the right Surface configuration for your needs, as there are many hardware configuration options for different users and uses. If you are doing more intense tasks like 3D modeling or a lot of multitasking with design programs, I’d recommend you spring for the i7 with 16GB of RAM like I did. It will be plenty of power for almost anything you throw at it!