The SketchUp Journey from Scratch With Kingsbrook Joinery

Luke’s journey begun at the beginning of Lockdown 2020, as the world went into complete shutdown, he decided to take the leap and start his own business. As you will see from his story today, the hard work and dedication has paid off with an impressive warehouse, a current team of 8 and an ever expanding workload, building incredible pieces from 3D model to real life.

Once his designing journey had begun on his own there are various aspects of running a joinery business Luke opened up to not needing to worry about before. 3D modelling being one of them.

“While I worked for a company, we had designers who would look after the concept side of our projects, I would only be responsible for the building”

However, Luke explain it was a unexpectedly simple process to learn the basics of SketchUp, but an anxious process at the beginning, he told SketchUp that before lockdown he didn’t use a laptop and his partner needed to help him log on for the first time!

With the user-friendly interface Luke was able to pick up his SketchUp skills fast and get designing new projects for the flood of customers coming to his door without spending hours watching tutorials and spending hundreds outsourcing it from the beginning.

You can see from the image below, Luke started experimenting on SketchUp and how quickly his SketchUp skills grew.

“Learning on the job was a must for me, and SketchUp really allows you to work most things out on your own, I didn’t have time to sit staring at YouTube for hours, I had a new family to spend time with.”

As his business grew from strength to strength, Luke was able to move into creating 3D designs in SketchUp confidently for clients, allowing them to see their ideas come to life before they were built, and also transfer 3D models back into 2D designs using LayOut containing measurements for the building process.

“One of our team members Josh creates the LayOut drawings and is a wizz on SketchUp so we are lucky to have him!”

SketchUp UK will be sitting down with Josh for a 1-2-1 tutorial in the near future for anyone who wants to learn more about LayOut and how it works!

The next challenge was being able to create 3D models and designs to hand over to his ever growing team to build.

“Designing in SketchUp had become second nature to me, it was a whole new ball game designing these models and handing them out to others to build, you have to make the designs much more detailed and have a clear understanding on how it is going to be built.”

Finally, we asked Luke to showcase some projects for us and talk about what projects he is currently working on.

“I love working on designs like the ones attached below, they take a lot of work but are worth it in the end, being able to see the final project and how happy the customer is gives us all the fulfillment we love from this business! I also love wardrobe designs are they are the easiest to create in SketchUp and always looks great and classy”

To see more of Lukes work, 3D modelling designs and renders, you can find them on social media here:

The 30 Second Secret To Creating Your First 3D Model In SketchUp

If you’ve never created a 3D model in SketchUp (or any other modeling program), the following steps offer a quick overview the basics:

Select the person, context-click the selection, and select Erase in the context menu that appears.

 

In the Getting Started toolbar, select the Rectangle tool ().

 

On the ground plane, in the space between the red and green axis, click the Rectangle tool cursor (). Then move your cursor to the right and click again. A rectangle appears on the ground, as shown here.

On the Getting Started toolbar, select the Push/Pull tool (), and place the Push/Pull cursor over the rectangle you just created, as shown in the following figure.

 

Click and drag your rectangle up into a 3D shape. Keep an eye on the Measurements box and release the cursor when your shape is about 5 feet tall.

Without clicking or selecting anything, simply type 6’ and press Enter. Notice how the height of your shape changed to exactly 6 feet tall, and the value you entered appears in the Measurements box.

 

In the Getting Started toolbar, select the Orbit tool (). Place the Orbit cursor above your shape. Then click and hold while you move the mouse down. Notice how the view of your shape changes, as shown in the following figure. Practice clicking and dragging with the Orbit tool as much as you like. It’s a pretty fun tool!

In the Getting Started toolbar, click the Zoom Extents button (). If you orbit around until you lose track of where you are in your model, the Zoom Extents button is a handy way to reorient yourself.

 

If you have a scroll-wheel mouse, scroll down to zoom out a bit. Working in SketchUp is much easier with a scroll-wheel mouse. However, if your mouse lacks a scroll wheel, click the Zoom tool () and you can zoom in and out that way, too.

No matter what tool is selected, holding down the scroll wheel activates the Orbit tool until you release the scroll wheel.

Top Tip!

In the Getting Started toolbar, click the Paint Bucket tool ().

 

In the Materials panel that appears, select Colors from the drop-down menu, as shown here. Then select a color from the options that appear on the Select tab.

Click one side of your model with the Paint Bucket cursor to apply your selected color. Experiment a bit with the different options in the drop-down menu if you like. For example, select Landscaping, Fencing, and Vegetation from the drop-down menu and apply pebbles to your model. Select Tile from the drop-down menu and apply a tile pattern that you like. Orbit around and apply different materials to each side of your model, as shown here.

Close the Materials panel and select Window > StylesWindows ONLY: The Styles appear in the Default Tray.

 

From the drop-down menu, select Sketchy Edges and then select a style option. In the following figure, Marker Wide is selected. Notice that the style completely overrides all the materials and colors applied. To see them again, select In Model from the drop-down menu and then select the Simple Style option.

Are you ready to give it a go? Every learning resource you could possibly need. Download the free version of Sketchup Pro and experiment for 30 days. Take the  brilliant v-ray for Sketchup free trial to discover legendary 3d rendering. And check out a huge choice of tutorials, here and here.

Diving into concept design for Oscar award winning films with Chris Rosewarne

“Artemis Fowl: Safe design Lovely prop to work on, super detailed as it was built and automated by the talented folk in the propshop!

Meshing gear, dials and Swiss clock like automation, allot of visual movement in this. I wanted it to look like the inside workings of a pocket watch, ticking mechanisms just visible behind the decorative face” – Chris Rosewarne

Chris Rosewarne, involved in designing props for Oscar award winning films that have taken the industry by storm as we rise out of lockdown in 2022 has now opened up about his SketchUp and concept designing journey, how he creates complex designs from concept to completion and some exciting new projects coming up this year.

Chris, studied Art at St Martins College of Art and Design and went onto do a Model Making Degree Course at Bournemouth. Spending his childhood building things such as Lego, his desire to be hands on with creating and building things, alongside his interest in comics and movies led his path to becoming a model builder for the film industry.

“James Bond: Spectre – cool little prop to design, a laser microphone gun attachment! 🚀 Had a couple earlier designs rejected in favour of the more utilitarian aesthetic which work well for the feel of the series. It’s hard to sometimes play-down a design, but that’s also a look all unto itself, very good lesson to learn!” – Chris Rosewarne

While Chris was studying he was lucky enough to secure a work placement with Artem, a visual effects company in London. As time past, he then begin to move into the design space and away from building, creating storyboards, illustrations and concept art.

Working on Tim Burton’s Dark Shadow was Chris’s first exposure to SketchUp. After learning the basics of 3D modelling in college, his career had been in total 2D until now.

Speaking to other art directors, SketchUp was described as ‘Extremely Simple‘, they can scan elevations and import them as technical drawings. They then give Chris screen grabs to paint over and bring them to life. Gradually Chris begun to start using SketchUp and build his knowledge over time. 

Soon after, Chris started a job on Die hard and decided to try designing in SketchUp, he watched some tutorials online thinking “how do I do this!?” Thankfully Google and YouTube came to the rescue, people had created tutorials, the support system for SketchUp was great and he was finally able to start building on his knowledge.

“Tim burton’s Dumbo circus prop designs. Giant circus cannon. It’s always nice to switch genres in film projects, I love tech and sci-fi but a period movie project is a good “palette cleanser”, I really enjoy doing the historical research for these designs, fascinating to see what was made and built before!” – Chris Rosewarne

Over the years Chris has really begun to push the level of detail on SketchUp, as he begun to render designs to being the concept to life so that the complexity of the 3D model was mirrored in the final render.

When Chris was a child, building Lego was a large part of life and enjoyment. Thus now designing models for award winning films he used his theory of building Lego models in SketchUp. Creating more complex designs geometrically so, when these designs are rendered, the detail was there. To save time, Chris would often create a detailed component in quarters, once the first quarter was done all he needed to do was mirror this component, so the software really does alot of the heavy lifting.

SketchUp has everything in the tool box early on that means designers like Chris can think simplistically, the flow between ideas and screen becomes a lot more streamlined.

I love that SketchUp has a simple viewing port so when other designers need to view my work it displays good graphics simplicity. I often find half-baked ideas present and communicate the concept well throughout the design journey.

Chris Rosewarne

“Death On The Nile (spoiler alert!) lovely little brief, designing Jacqueline de Bellefort’s 22 calibre pistol. Based on a Sharps Model 1A Pepperbox. The script described it as being heavily engraved in the design of a serpent.

I created a cover to dress over the 4 barrels to give us a surface to engrave into, the prop makers did an amazing job with this one!” – Chris Rosewarne

At SketchUp 3D basecamp, people wanted to know how Chris does what he does. He opened up and admitted he actually probably one of the worst technical modelers at the event. He specialises in design work which is polar opposite to technical designers.

Chris flows ideas and aesthetics from mind to software using a lot of detail but overall creating pretty simple designs. The distinction between himself and technical designers is the method of design. Chris will focus on the visual aspect, technical designers take a more practically approach to the design, ensuring objects are water tight etc.

“Star Wars archives: casino droid, went though various designs with the only constraint that it had to look similar to BB8 This one reminded me of Vincent from Disney’s The Black Hole another strong childhood favourite of mine!” – Chris Rosewarne

A lot of what I am comes down making items look aesthetically pleasing, it often comes down to composition and framing, you could spend a week modelling a robot for example but the way it appears on screen is cropped, with the lightning and framing edited to give it a cinematic effect.

Chris Rosewarne

Finally we asked Chris for some of his proudest works, it was a hard job to decide, Chris mentioned there are two types of proud for him, the projects he enjoyed creating and designing, and the end results most popular with the audience.

One of they key favourites was the design of Quills gun from Guardians of the Galaxy, there are some images below, but if you would like to see the full workflow, click here for a short video from concept to creation.

Other personal favourites for Chris included the Sniper Rifal for Skyfall and the star wars casino drones.

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Jurassic World is the next release Chris has been working on recently alongside up and coming films DUNE 2 and Meg 2 awaiting a release date in 2022/23.

To see more of Chris’ work, 3D modelling designs and renders, you can find them on social media here:

So who is Chris?

 
 

Our brand new SketchUp top trumps give you a speedy breakdown and the 411 on everything you need to know about Chris…

 
 

From where he calls home in the digital design space, to his secret SketchUp power, you’ll find the ins and the outs of his SketchUp Journey here…

 
 
 

If you want to have a personalised SketchUp top trump made for you, email us at marketing@elmtec.co.uk and let’s get the ball rolling!

How Can I Access SketchUp for iPad?

SketchUp for iPad offers a full-featured 3D modeling experience that enables you to design on-site, on the go, and in the office. Create, edit, and mark up 3D projects anywhere with SketchUp for iPad.

What You Need: SketchUp for iPad works with a wide range of iPad models and requires at least iPadOS 15 or higher. For more information, take a look at the System Requirements.

Your Models, Anywhere: SketchUp for iPad makes it easy to open, share, and manage your models. You can use Trimble Connect to access your files from other versions of SketchUp, save files locally on your iPad, or use your favorite cloud storage app. Take a look at our Working With SketchUp Files page for more information on how you can manage your models across multiple devices and apps.

Let’s Go! If you’re ready to dive in and start creating on iPad, our Getting Started page introduces you to the basics of SketchUp for iPad.

Create when inspiration strikes

Brilliant ideas don’t always hit you when it’s convenient — but a mobile 3D drawing space makes it possible to get work done wherever you are.

Sketch anything in 3D. Simple.

With support for Apple Pencil, multi-touch gestures, and of course, mouse and keyboard, you can easily draw, swipe, and click to give form to your creative vision.

Mark up & move projects forward

Quickly redline 3D models, make field edits on the fly, and sync all of your changes to the cloud to keep stakeholders aligned while on the go.

Always connected

A robust integration with our cloud-based collaboration platform, Trimble Connect, keeps files in sync across devices so you can move seamlessly between SketchUp for iPad, SketchUp for Web, and SketchUp Pro desktop design apps. Whether you’re connected to high-speed internet, or you’re working offline, take your work with you wherever you go.

How to Print your Models and View them in Google Earth

Printing Views of a Model

Getting your design ideas onto paper is as trouble-free as you’d expect. There are various ways to customise the results including scale changes, orientation and desired quality to name but a few. 

 

Straightforward model printing is possible on both Windows and Mac OS X. And both contain a similar range of options to bring your designs from screen to paper.

 

Printing views of a model in Microsoft windows

 

Windows users can take advantage of several Print Setup and Print Preview options. The majority of setup choices and additional preview features are quite familiar.

Print preview 

Before you begin, it’s worth noting that to print your model to a different scale, you need to click Camera > Standard Views to make the changes prior to printing. There are various views to choose from. It’s also important to change to Parallel Projection view from the default Perspective view.

 

Reaching the Print Preview dialog box requires 2 simple clicks: File > Print Preview. The dialog box now appears with an array of optional functions. 

 

Tabbed Scene Print Range – the Current View radio button is selected by default. Change this to Selected Scenes Only by checking the Scenes button. Enter a value ‘from’ and ‘to’ in order to select the scene numbers.

 

The Copies function lets you simply choose the number of copies you need.

 

Print Size options include Fit To Page and Use Model Extents—both are checked by default. 

 

Fit To Page will automatically make your image fit on the selected paper size. Uncheck the box to enter your own values. Now you can also select a specific scale for the printer to use.

 

Use Model Extents will zoom to the model extents and ensure that it fits the entire model in the print. This is only possible if the whole model is visible in the current view. If it isn’t, then you won’t have this option.

 

Print Quality options let you choose from Draft, Standard, High-def and Large formats.

 

When your model includes a slice, you can check the 2D Section Slice Only box to print it.

 

Selecting the Use High Accuracy HLR box will transmit your image to the printer in a vector format.

Print Setup

Setup choices include printer selection and paper configurations and to access these options click File > Print Setup.

 

    • Select your printer from the list of available devices
    • Select Properties to make any changes to your printer configuration 
    • Select the paper size required and the source
    • Choose the Portrait or Landscape printing button
    • Click OK to begin printing

Printing views of a model in Mac OS X

There are 3 areas where you can perfect your print output using the Mac OS X system. These are Page Setup, Document Setup, and Print dialog.

Page Setup

Head to File > Page Setup where you can apply any current settings to Any Printer. Alternatively, you can select another printer from the list.

 

You can also select the paper size and choose portrait or landscape print results. The Scale box lets you increase or decrease the scale of your printout. Save these settings as the default from here if you wish.

Document Setup

Click on File > Document Setup where you can Fit View to Page or change the height and width.

 

As with Windows printing, you’ll need to go to Camera > Standard Views and select a view before printing. Again, change from Perspective view to Parallel Projection view.

 

Set the scale using the In Drawing and In Model options to change the measurements of your printout and model respectively.

Print Dialog

To finally send your image to the printer, you need to select File > Print. There are a few adjustments you can make to the potential results at this stage.

 

  • Firstly, select the printer you wish to use
  • Input the number of required copies
  • Change the print quality to either Draft, Standard, High or Extra High
  • Select Vector Printing if needed
  • Decide which line weight is necessary for your printout
  • Click Print

Viewing Your Model in Google Earth

Within SketchUp, you can preview your model in Google Earth to see how it sits in its natural surroundings when construction begins. To do this, you’ll need both SketchUp and Google Earth installed on your computer.

How to optimise a model for display from Google earth

Before viewing your model in Google Earth, you’ll need to optimise the model. The following steps will show you how to get your design ready.

 

  1. Set your model geolocation. With the Add Location function, you can choose to either import a terrain or display it on Google Earth. SketchUp will locate your model ready for previewing.
  2. Create accurate model dimensions. This is essential if the scale of your model is going to be comparable to the map.
  3. Minimise model faces. Complex models will take up a lot of processing power to display on Google Earth.
  4. Face orientation. Keep your front faces pointing outwards to avoid losing textures when shown on a map.
  5. Add images to faces. Import and apply images of a building to add to your model when previewing in Google maps. And if you need to see through certain faces, then check the transparency options for the image.

How to preview a model in Google earth

 

After preparing your model, you can go ahead and export it as a .KMZ file. This is the format that Google Earth will recognise. You can open the file with Google Earth and the map will appear with your model in place.

 

You can zoom in and move around the site to see how the design feels in its chosen surroundings.

 

How to place models in the ocean

 

Sometimes you’ll need to see how a structure fits into ocean surroundings. And this can be done through Google Earth thanks to its ocean layer addition.

 

In SketchUp, go to Window > Extension Warehouse and select the Ocean Modelling extension. After installing the extension, you can now preview your model in the ocean by following the above steps.

 

How to save a model in Google earth

 

Google Earth loads into Temporary Places by default. But you may wish to save the preview for future reference. To do this, context-click on the model name in the Temporary Place folder and choose to Save to MY Places instead. 

Renovation & Rendering With Mackenzie Paige Interiors

Hi Mackenzie, thanks for joining us!

Hello! My name is Mackenzie, and I have my own Interior Design business Mackenzie Paige Interiors.  My business started in 2020 and I’m thrilled to say that it has gone from success to success – through lots of hard work! Creating a business in lockdown was a great experience for me.  I offer a variety of Interior Design services to clients, from hourly advice to complete re-designs, and SketchUp plays a large part in the majority of my work. Being able to create 3D designs are models for clients has made a huge difference to the customer experience and my ability to create great concepts for them.

Being able to use Enscape and SketchUp to create ultra-realistic designs helps bring my clients ideas to life before work begins.

So, when did you start using SketchUp?

I started getting to grips with SketchUp after completing my degree in Interior Design.  I feel that SketchUp is the perfect tool to help me convey my design ideas to my clients and it was simple to start using and pick up skills as I went along!

Once you get to grips with the system and how to use it, it is a straight forward and quick way to create designs without the faff and complexities of other more intricate software’s.  Using Sketch Up alongside the rendering software I am able to create stunning, realistic visuals.  It also helps me to map out and ensure all measurements of items that I want to include work within a space – before I even start to make the models look pretty!

Taking before photos allows me clients to really see the transformation at the end of a project. It gives me such fulfillment when I can look at the before and after.

Creating interior design concepts is so simple in SketchUp and Enscape. I love it!

I use a couple of extra extensions with SketchUp.  I use Enscape to do my rendering – it’s such a great software to use and like anything, at first I struggled to get to grips with it, but now I wouldn’t be without it! The quality of the renders, how quick it works, the inventory of items and all the effects that you can do on it are mind blowing. 

I also use SU Podium Browser for additional items to add into my model that Enscape or the SketchUp Warehouse don’t have – I’ve found this invaluable when looking for digital items to represent actual items that I’ve recommended to clients for their design models. 

Taking photos throughout the process and comparing them to our render designs helps the client and us to stay on track during the build.

I’d say to anyone who is tempted to get Sketch Up but isn’t sure, to go for it.  Once you understand the controls and how to use the software it really is an amazing tool to have when you’re in the industry.  It will provide you with invaluable resources to help convey your designs or concepts to clients.  With the free SketchUp available too, there is no harm in having a play before committing to the Pro package!

To see more of Mackenzie’s work, 3D modelling designs and renders, you can find them on social media here:

So who is Mackenzie?

 
 

Our brand new SketchUp top trumps give you a speedy breakdown and the 411 on everything you need to know about Mackenzie…

 
 

From where he calls home in the digital design space, to his secret SketchUp power, you’ll find the ins and the outs of her SketchUp Journey here…

 
 
 

If you want to have a personalised SketchUp top trump made for you, email us at marketing@elmtec.co.uk and let’s get the ball rolling!

Communicating Your Designs in SketchUp

SketchUp’s 3D modelling software is robust yet simple to use. And thanks to a wealth of clever features, it’s even easier than you think to share your design ideas with other people. 

Whether you want to slice your 3D creations and share cross-sections of key aspects or offer your audience animated scenes from every angle, it’s up to you. Share your SketchUp model your way. 

Add shadows to showcase your ideas at distinct times of day. Or perhaps view your project on Google Earth to truly bring your creation to life.

Need to document your design elements?

LayOut with SketchUp Pro lets you create presentations using your designs with added extras to give documents a professional and branded feel. Add your own images, text, labels and more.

And the best way to store and share these files is via Trimble Connect.

Take advantage of the Trimble Connect for Business capability when you sign up for a SketchUp subscription. Storing your files online and auto-syncing them between devices is fast and secure. And you can even view and recover previous file versions and gain access to a host of additional project management tools too.

This guide will not only show you how to share a SketchUp model with your clients but also highlight some of the visual options you have at your fingertips as a SketchUp user. 

  • Sending a SketchUp model to LayOut
  • Using Trimble Connect with SketchUp
  • Slicing a model to peer inside
  • Walking through a model
  • Creating scenes
  • Animating scenes
  • Casting real-world shadows
  • Using the credits feature
  • Watermarking a model
  • Printing views of a model in Microsoft Windows & Mac OS X
  • 3D printing a model
  • Viewing your model in Google Earth

Sending a SketchUp Model to LayOut

Sending a SketchUp model to LayOut is easy. Simply click on the ‘Send to LayOut’ button on the Large Tool Set or Getting Started toolbars. But knowing how to make the most of the fantastic set of tools when you’re there is key to documenting your ideas perfectly.

 

3D models are amazing reproductions of your architectural visions, but they aren’t much use to a building contractor waiting to lay the foundations. Orthographic projections get your ideas across in an accurate and functional way. 

 

2D CAD drawings, elevations and floor plans are necessary for mapping out the exact footprint of a building design. And that’s where LayOut comes in.

 

But before sending your 3D models across to LayOut, you need to be sure to create your scenes first. SketchUp and Layout files link seamlessly to automatically update the designs. Setting specific scenes lets LayOut show you exactly what you want to see rather than the last saved version from your model.

 

After creating your scenes and sending a SketchUp model to LayOut, you can now input as many viewports as you need to showcase the design from various angles. Then it’s time to dimension and document the drawings.

 

LayOut’s documentation tools allow you to produce 2D plans based on the original design. From here, you’re able to produce a set of precise construction drawings that you can save and share with those who need them.

 

Any changes that you make to the original design are quickly applied to the 2D plans. Your clients can then access these updates as soon as you’re finished making the necessary adjustments.

Using Trimble Connect with SketchUp

Sharing your SketchUp model changes is fundamental to keeping all parties in the loop. And with Trimble Connect you can achieve this effortlessly.

This functionality comes with a paid SketchUp subscription and opens the door to a world of collaboration opportunities.

  • Save and store an unlimited number of creations and associated files
  • Share updated designs through the open BIM viewer
  • Grant teams access auto-sync data any time, any place
  • Recover previous file versions
  • And more…

How to sign in to the Trimble Connect website

Using Trimble Connect with SketchUp allows you to manage your designs in a simple yet productive way. And it all happens through the Trimble Connect Website.

The site stores all of your files on the cloud and gives you and other linked collaborators access whenever you need it. It’s available for Mac and Windows and is compatible with their mobile operating systems and Android too.  

Signing into this common data environment is easy. Simply head to the Trimble Connect site and enter your subscription email address and password. 

Once you’ve accessed your account, you can add your projects and begin. Select the subscription from the drop-down menu to grant access to the full range of tools and give your project a name. You can now start to add the files that you wish to share and publish your models using the Trimble Connect extension in SketchUp.

The Trimble Connect 2.0 extension

In SketchUp, head up to the main menu bar at the top of the screen and click File. At the bottom of the drop-down list, you’ll see the expandable Trimble Connect options. These include Open Model, Collaboration Manager, Publish Model, Publish As, Import Reference Model and Launch Trimble Connect.

Open Model 

This is where you can open any existing SketchUp files stored on Trimble Connect. Each file opens in a separate model window for you to view.

Collaboration Manager

Once you’ve opened your model file, you can now begin to collaborate with other users. Assign them tasks, control your ‘to do’ list, respond to comments and update reference models as well as open a Trimble Connect pane within SketchUp.

Publish Model

To share a SketchUp model, you can add it to an existing project over on Trimble Connect. Details of the new model are now available for collaborators to view and work with.

Publish As

In much the same way as a ‘Save As’ command, you can save your SketchUp files with a new name or add them to another folder.

Import Reference Model

Importing multiple files to use as a reference in an open model file is simple in the following formats:

  • .skp
  • .ifc
  • .dwg
  • .dxf

Other members collaborating on the project can work on their own design files and integrate them into a master drawing set. Any updates to those files can then be viewed within the main file by simply updating each added element.

Launch Trimble Connect

You can open the Trimble Connect web app directly with this option. From here, you can complete any necessary tasks and adjust any of the configurations as needed.

The Trimble Sync facility

Trimble Sync lets you keep your PC, laptop and mobile constantly updated with the latest project info—giving you complete access to real-time project info. Simply log in on another compatible device and pick up where you left off.

Slicing a Model to Peer Inside

Section planes in SketchUp make slicing a model to peer inside extremely simple to achieve. Planimetric views, either horizontally or vertically, give you visual access to floor plans and sectional views of multiple floors at the same time.

How to add a section plane

The first step is to deselect all other areas of the model to ensure that you aren’t working on the wrong area. Next, open the object that you wish to slice and input any height measurements for your plane.

Select tools from the menu bar and select the Section Plane tool. Or go straight to the icon on the Tool Set palette if you’re a Windows or Mac user.

Using the plane cursor, select the face where you wish to create the slice. Your section plane will appear along with a dialog box for you to name the section.

Finally, you can make any necessary adjustments to your plane by changing the placement, reversing the cut direction or aligning the camera view. You can also select an active cut if multiple planes are present and hide/show planes as needed.

How to fill voids in section cuts

Depending on the type of object that you choose to slice, your cut may result in open voids appearing. To fill these voids in a closed loop, you can open the Styles panel, click on the Edit tab, select Modelling Settings, and check the Section Fill box. You can also change the fill colour if required.

How to create a new geometry from a section plane

To create a new geometry from a new section plane, simply context-click on the section plane and select Create Group from Slice. You can now move that group to where you need it in your model.

You can also divide your model by exploding the group.

How to hide section planes and cuts

SketchUp comes complete with a versatile set of controls to adjust the visibility of a plane and cut independently. It’s possible to:

  • Hide a single section plane by right-clicking on the section plane and select ‘Hide’
  • Hide all section planes by clicking the Display Section Planes tool
  • Hide all section cuts with a click on the Display Section Cuts tool

How to export section cut effects

Showcasing and sharing your section cuts is possible with both SketchUp Make and Pro versions. But with SketchUp Pro, you can also export a 2D vector image known as a Section Slice.

You can use these 2D slices to create scaled drawings and edit them in other programs that work with vectorised images.

To do this, select the appropriate plane and head to the following: File > Export > Section Slice.

Now all you need to do is select the folder where you want to save the file, give it a name and click on ‘Export’.

Walking Through a Model

Getting up close and personal with your designs is the only way to check every intricate part of your model. Browsing an image from afar gives you a great idea of how it all feels in general. But you need access to all areas to give you complete confidence in the final product.

 

Walking through a model using a few of SketchUp’s additional tools will open the door to your design and let you step inside.

Methods for positioning cameras

You can choose to view your work from specific points by simply changing the camera position. Using the Position Camera tool will initially place the camera 5’ 6″ above where you click. After that, you can adjust the eye height to view from a different perspective.

 

To make this happen, choose the Position Camera tool from the toolbar, click and hold where you wish to place the camera and drag the cursor to the point that you would like to view. To adjust the camera height, just enter the figure in the Eye Height box.

How to use the look around tool

After positioning the SketchUp camera, you will automatically trigger the Look Around tool.

 

You will now begin to view your model from the preset height. Make your height adjustments as necessary and bear in mind that it is relative to the ground plane regardless of the surface height of your model. 

 

Click and drag the cursor in any direction to turn your head and view your design.

 

How to walk through a model

You can easily walk through your 3D model by using your mouse or trackpad. Select the walk tool that is represented by a pair of shoes and place your cursor on the screen to show the direction in which you would like to start walking. 

 

Click and drag upwards to move faster and downwards to slow down again.

 

The tool also has automatic collision detection to prevent you from walking through walls and other geometry. You can toggle the collision detection off to make it easier to pass from one side of the design to the other if necessary.

How to Set Up Templates and Improve Sketchup’s Performance

Setting up Templates

There are several templates to choose from that will help speed up your design setup. Having the model’s default settings predetermined makes it much faster to get started.

 

You can add your own elements to a template and create your own if you wish. These include changing settings in the Model Info dialog, Geometry info, Styles and Shadows. 

  • The Model Info dialog box allocates the model defaults and your template should reflect these settings 
  • Saving existing geometry to a template means that it can be instantly available when you create a new model 
  • The styles browser presents sets of styles or the alternative is to set an individual face, background and watermark value
  • Shadows aren’t switched on by default but you can add them along with their own preferences to a new template

How to change the default template

To begin, head to Windows > Preferences for Windows users and SketchUp > Preferences with macOS. Next, choose the template you would like to set as the default and click OK.

How to create a new template

Many of the designs that you create may well have a familiar group of settings. Setting up your projects is a matter of personal preference and depends on the type of models you often work on. Customising SketchUp by creating templates that match your individual needs is extremely useful.

 

You can use your existing default template to get started.

 

Simply make any of the changes you want to include in a template and select File > Save As Template. 

Improving Sketchup Performance

There are 3 key elements that combine to create the peak performance for your modelling design experience.

 

When you have everything working in harmony, you can expect fast and efficient results that won’t break your flow of concentration.

 

These areas are optimising your modelling techniques, adjusting any necessary computer settings and changing OpenGL settings.

How to optimise modelling techniques for improved performance

As you create more faces and styles etc., SketchUp will continuously render the results. This is the workload pressure that the software is constantly putting on your system and can have big effects on the overall performance.

 

By keeping models light, you reduce that pressure and help keep things running smoothly and effortlessly.

 

Here are a few fundamentals that you might want to focus on to strip things back and lighten the load a little.

 

Use simple styles. Shadows and textures add plenty of weight to a design in terms of processing power. If they aren’t essential, then keep them turned off.

 

Create components. Turning elements into a component lets you use them many times if necessary. So rather than adding the same thing over and over, make it a component and simply replicate it.

 

Use .jpeg instead of .tiff. Importing images as a JPEG will result in far less data being transferred as the files are much smaller.

 

Hide unused geometry. Everything that is visible needs to be rendered. Try grouping certain elements together in layers and turn them on and off as needed.

 

Purge unused data. SketchUp keeps copies of old styles and components after you remove them just in case they are needed in the future. If you don’t need them again, then you can always remove them to speed things up a little. Go to Window > Model Info. Choose Statistics and Purge Unused.

How to verify the computer meets Sketchup Hardware and Software requirements.

Your hardware setup is one of the biggest factors worth considering when it comes to SketchUp performance. Even with the most organised workstation and light designs, you can’t make things faster if your computer isn’t up to the task.

 

You’ll need to ensure that you’re using a suitable graphics card, have enough RAM to perform any assigned processes and an adequate processor for the job.

 

For Windows 10 versions, for example, it’s recommended to have at least a 2GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, AMG or NVIDIA graphics card, 2GB of free disk space and 3D class video card.

 

Finally, always use any available SketchUp software and operating system updates.

How to adjust OpenGL settings to improve performance.

The Open Graphics Library is the SketchUp API which renders 3D graphics within the program. This along with the Anti-aliasing of jagged edges can cause performance issues for your system. So it’s good to know that it’s possible to adjust the preferences for both if necessary.

OpenGL

Go to Windows > Preferences or SketchUp > Preferences on masOS to begin making adjustments.

 

Select OpenGL and you’ll have a couple of options.

 

Use Maximum Texture Size – SketchUp doesn’t render graphics with anything over 1024 x 1024 resolution. This should be the default setting. But if your software feels sluggish, then it’s worth checking that this hasn’t been enabled somewhere along the line.

 

Use Fast Feedback – This setting can help improve performance, especially when working on larger models. It should be on by default but check that it is still switched on, just in case.

Anti-Aliasing

If you notice issues with the SketchUp performance or the visual appearance of your model, then you might want to check this setting.

 

Head to Window > Model Info and choose Rendering. Try deselecting the Use Anti-Aliased Textures feature to see if this helps to improve things.

Developing Tools with the Sketchup Ruby API and Console

SketchUp’s Ruby API allows you to create tools and menu items along with a host of other functions. Ruby is an open source programming language that makes it possible to integrate various changes to simplify processes for the user. 

 

Naturally, you’ll need to be au fait with programming in this scripting language to add to the ongoing development.

 

The Ruby Console is also available for trying out any additions to see how they function within SketchUp.

 

SketchUp doesn’t offer any support for this at present. However, the developer’s forum is a great place to start if you have any questions.

How to Create and animate Scenes in SketchUp

Creating Scenes

Creating scenes in SketchUp allows you to generate various views of your work and save them as independent images.

 

The benefits of doing so include quick access to different angles, seeing parts of your design with various textures or rendering applied, showing your model in parts to break down a presentation, adding additional views to shared models and creating animated sequences.

How to create a scene

Creating scenes is a simple three-step process. However, you should ensure that you set the view exactly how you want it with styles etc. applied for each before you begin.

 

Step 1. Head up to the Windows tab and select Scenes from the menu.

 

Step 2. Click on the Add Scene option.

 

Step 3. A new scene will appear and you can now change the name and add any other details as necessary.

How to manage scene properties

Each new scene comes with various preset properties. You can adjust these by unselecting the options from the Scenes dialog area.

 

Camera Location. You can adjust the point of view and zoom distances to suit your requirements.

 

Hidden Geometry. Everything will remain hidden when you load a new scene. Uncheck the box to display hidden elements.

 

Visible Layers. If you have used layers to control which parts of the document are visible, then you may wish to continue showing these throughout your saved scene.

 

Active Section planes. As with the visible layers, you may have created various section planes for your model. If you don’t want these to appear in your scene, then simply uncheck this box.

 

Style and Fog. Any of the scenes that you create will have their own style settings. When you edit these, you can decide whether or not you want to save the changes.

 

Shadows Settings. Creating Shadow settings for each of your scenes allows you to view shadow aspects at various times of the day. You may or may not want these saved with a newly created scene.

 

Axes Location. If you do not want the axes display info included in your scene, then you can toggle this off as well.

How to update a scene

To update your scene, select Windows from the menu bar and then click Scenes to open the dialog box.

 

Select the scene that you wish to work with and make sure you check the Show Details option to double check any of the properties that you want to save.

 

Finally, click on the Update Scene Button.

 

How to manage scenes

 

The scenes window will present all of your scenes in order of their creation time.

 

But sometimes you may wish to adjust this order and organise them in a way that makes more sense to you.

 

To do this, context-click on the scenes tab that you would like to move and shift it to the left or right as appropriate. You can also move the tabs up and down by selecting the Move Scene Down option and choosing the appropriate arrow.

 

How to delete a scene

 

Over time, it’s possible to build up a lot of scenes associated with your model. And you may not wish to keep all of them in the long term. To delete them, simply select the scene from the dialog and click Remove Scene.

 

How to customise scene thumbnails

 

Choosing your scene thumbnails is a matter of personal preference. It is possible to remove them altogether by clicking on the Details icon and unchecking the Use Scene Thumbnails option.

 

Other options include Small Thumbnails, Large Thumbnails, View Details or a List option that provides just the names of the scenes in a list.

How to view scenes in models imported from the 3D warehouse

Downloaded models from 3D Warehouse into SketchUp arrive in the form of a component. These will not have any scenes attached to them. The solution is to open it as a model by selecting No when asked if you want to load it directly into your SketchUp model.

 

Next, choose to open the file and use any of the scenes associated with that model.

Animating Scenes

Animating scenes is a fantastic way to show how your creation looks over a period of time. This could be with people coming and going, for example, traffic or perhaps shadows moving across a building throughout the day.

 

All of this is possible after creating your initial set of scenes and can be played as an animation in SketchUp, exported as an .MP4 or as an image set.

How to animate scenes in SketchUp

You can animate your scenes in the Scenes Manager by selecting the scene and clicking View > Animation > Play. Alternatively, context-click on the scene tab and choose the Play Animation option.

 

You can also customise the animation by clicking View > Animation > Settings. 

How to export video animations

To export your animations, head up to the main menu and click on File. Select Export, Animation and finally, select Video.

 

Select or create a new folder, give your creation a name and file extension type.

 

You can make any final tweaks to the animation via the Options tab and click Export when you’re ready.

How to export image sets

Exporting your scenes as an image set is simple. Follow the path: File > Export > Animation > Image Set and the Export Animation dialog options will appear.

 

Enter the root name for your images and select an image type from either .jpg, .tif or .bmp.

 

To make any changes to resolution etc., click on Options. Click OK to finalise the changes and select Export to complete the process. 

Casting Real-World Shadows

Your project comes to life as shadows are cast across the design at various points of the day. Based on the geographical coordinates, orientation and time zone of your model, shadows show you exactly what to expect when a building takes on its constructed form.

 

How to enable and use the shadows feature

 

By default, casting real-world shadows is automatically disabled while creating your designs. But to turn them on only takes a couple of clicks. 

 

Select View > Shadows to turn the feature on. And now you can begin to customise your options.

 

Make any necessary changes to the following setting as you need:

 

  • Time Zone 
  • Light intensity
  • Shadow intensity
  • Use the sun to simulate shaded areas regardless of turning shadows on or off
  • Cast shadows on other faces
  • Cast shadows on the ground plane
  • Cast shadows from edges

 

A transparent face with an opacity of less than 70% doesn’t cast shadows. Increase the opacity to above 70% to reverse this.

Using the Credits Feature

As they say, ‘credit where credit’s due’. And that’s exactly why SketchUp allows designers and those who have contributed to a model to add their names to a project using the Credits feature.

 

This feature is a basic attribution for those creating components for each model and not does not grant legal ownership for Digital Rights Management Purposes.

 

You will need a Google account to use this feature.

 

How to claim credit

 

Open the desired SketchUp component model file and follow these steps to claim credit on a design.

 

  1. Click the Sign In Account button
  2. Enter your Google account login details
  3. Now go to Window > Model info > Credits
  4. Click the Claim Credit option and ensure that your username is in the Model Author field
  5. Save the file
  6. Import your component into any other model file and your credit will appear 

Watermarking a Model

Watermarks are fantastic for keeping your designs secure and avoiding unauthorised copies after you share your SketchUp model. And they’re also powerful marketing tools as well.

 

Company names, logos and other images can appear in front of your images and documents or behind as necessary. And watermarking a model in SketchUp is incredibly easy for whatever purpose you may employ them.

 

How to add a watermark to a SketchUp model.

 

To add a watermark, select Window > Styles. The Styles browser will now open. Click Edit and then select the Watermark Settings icon.

 

You can now head to the saved image that you wish to use as your watermark and open the file. The possible file formats are .jpg, .png, .psd, .tif, .tga and .bmp.

 

The Creative Watermark dialog will now open and you can enter a name for your watermark. Click on the Background or Overlay buttons to place the image in front of or behind your model.

 

Go ahead and click on Next and you will now have the option to create a vignette mask and adjust the transparency of your watermark.

 

Click Next and select the position of your watermark. You can now expand the image to the desired size. You can also uncheck the Lock Aspect Ratio to allow your image to cover the whole screen.

 

When you are satisfied that the watermark appears exactly as you want it to, click Finish to end the process.

 

You can use the Edit Watermark Settings icon to make any alterations after you have inserted your image. Alternatively, you can delete it and start again if you wish.

Creating a 3D Model In SketchUp

The SketchUp software package is an incredibly powerful solution for all your 3D and 2D modelling needs. The free download edition has all the tools you need to get started, while the Pro version will take your ideas to a whole new level.

 

If you’re just getting started with computer-aided design, SketchUp is the ideal environment to develop your skills. Its simple interface keeps the whole process clear and concise throughout. And with the help of our SketchUp 3D modelling tutorial, you’ll be on the way to producing your first creation in next to no time.

This guide will help you get to grips with the basics and includes the following areas:

 

  • Choosing a style
  • Drawing lines, shapes and 3D objects 
  • Applying colours, photos, materials and textures 
  • Adding premade components and dynamic components
  • Classifying objects
  • Organising a model 
  • Viewing a model
  • Placing movie cameras in a model of a production set

 

For a little help with some of the other basic elements that we don’t cover today, you can always check out the tutorials page.

Choosing a Sketchup Style

Your style says a lot about you and how you want others to perceive you. And choosing a style in SketchUp helps bring that sense of identity to your designs. 

 

In essence, styles are a group of display settings that you can quickly and conveniently select from the Styles Palette. They add a feel to your work that sets it apart from the rest with aspects such as hand-rendered lines, coloured faces and background effects.

 

There is a fantastic range of predefined styles to choose from. And you can also edit and customise them to suit your designs. In addition, Pro users can create their own non-photorealistic styles.

Choosing a style

To take your pick from the standard set of styles on offer, head to the Default tray and choose the Styles panel. You can see the name of the current style at the top.

Go to the Select tab within the Styles panel and choose a collection of style settings from the list. This will produce thumbnails for the options in that collection. There are several to choose from including Sketchy Edges and different colour sets.

To apply the desired style, you just need to click on the thumbnail and it will be applied to your design instantly.

Customising a preset style

Styles have a series of customisable settings to adjust the sky and ground appearance. These include using colours or a photo. There is also a Transparency slider should you require it. Just select the Edit tab to make these changes.

In addition, you may also alter the appearance of faces and edges to personalise your styles further.

Drawing Lines, Shapes and 3D Objects

Lines and faces make up the bulk of your modelling creation. And pulling them out into 3D objects is where the real magic starts to happen.

 

Lines are the most basic component. And without them, you wouldn’t have any faces to give your model depth. They essentially create the edges that form the faces of your model. So first, let’s take a look at the most fundamental action—drawing a line.

Drawing a line

To add a line to your drawing, select the Line tool from the main toolbar.

 

Your first step is to click where you wish to begin drawing your line. You can press the Esc key to reset.

 

Move your mouse around the screen and you’ll see that the line begins to follow you around. When you want to stop drawing, you can simply click once more. And depending on the units set in your template, you’ll see the length of the line in the Measurements box.

 

The colour of your line will change as it relates to one of the coloured axes (x, y or z). This helps maintain your creation’s perspective as you progress.

 

If you need to adjust the length of a line, then choose the Move tool and click and drag the end of the line to where you require it.

Creating shapes (faces)

By connecting your lines into a closed shape, you’re effectively producing your first face. 

 

But this isn’t the only way to create faces for your model. You can also use the various shape tools to instantly create the basic shapes that you require.

 

You can fill your faces too! Select your shape and then open the Shape Style panel. Here, you can click on the Fill option and choose a colour. 

 

Drawing a rectangle or square

 

Let’s take a quick look at some basic shapes; rectangles and squares. When creating a 3D model, these shapes are going to be your bread and butter.

 

You can draw these basic shapes anywhere on the ground plane, vertical plane and on existing faces too.

 

On the toolbar, select the Rectangle tool and you’ll see the pencil with a rectangle appear in place of the cursor.

 

Click where you wish to start drawing and drag the cursor to expand the shape. The Measurements box will show exactly how big the rectangle is. You can now manually change the shape measurements to suit your needs.

 

Basic 3D objects (pulling a 3D object from a face)

 

To bring the shapes out of themselves and create a third dimension, you’ll need to select the Push/Pull tool—it’s the one with a square and a small arrow pointing upwards.

 

Click the shape that you wish to add volume to and the face will now become shaded.

 

Next, move the cursor away from the face to expand the shape and click a second time to finish. Again, you can use the Measurements box to enter precise figures. To add an identical 3D shape on top of the original, hold the Ctrl button (Windows) or Option (macOS) and double click on the face.

Inspecting an entity

Any line and face in SketchUp is considered an entity. And you can easily bring entities together to form a group that is called a Component Entity.

 

All of these entities have various characteristics that you can change via the Entity Info panel. To access the panel, go to Window > Default Tray > Entity Info on a Windows machine or Window > Entity Info for macOS.

 

You’ll find info regarding the entity’s size, layer, type and more.

Applying Colours, Photos, Materials and Textures

Adding effects to your design helps to make faces stand out from each other. They add a realistic touch and make models easier to imagine in their natural surroundings as a finished concept.

 

You can add basic colours to lines and faces or go a step further and give them a textured feel to show how that element fits with the design. These may be roofs, gardens, walls or windows, for example.

 

You are able to add these textures by going to Tools > Paint Bucket and click the Select tab. Choose your material from the list and click on the face onto which you wish to apply the texture.

 

Furthermore, you can use photos to add more textured effects where necessary.  

 

Material images are usually a tiled photo displayed on an individual face. But it’s also possible to use a single image to create the same result. You might even want to try taking a snippet from a Google Street View image that fits your model. This is a great way to keep your design in keeping with where it will eventually sit in the real world.

 

To add an image, go to File > Import and choose the file you want to use. You can import the image as a standard image, a texture or a matched photo.

 

Beware of the image resolution and the effect it may have on SketchUp’s performance. The higher the resolution, the more RAM your system needs to process the job. This can slow things down considerably, depending on your setup.

Wrapping textures

After importing an image file as a texture, you can wrap it around a shape such as a box or cylinder. 

 

  • Click on the lower-left corner of a face and then the upper-right corner
  • Click on the Paint Bucket tool and hold down the Alt key for Windows users or Command key for macOS
  • You’ll now see the Eyedropper appear
  • Click on the existing texture and release the Alt or Command key
  • Select the adjacent face to apply the wrapped texture

Modelling terrain and other rounded shapes

Modelling a landscape or a terrain for your model to sit on is done through SketchUp’s Sandbox tools. It uses hidden geometry to create a Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) that you can then sculpt into the form you require.

 

The easiest way to begin is to import an existing terrain from Google Earth. Alternatively, you can draw a plain flat TIN to start working on.

Adding Premade Components and Dynamic Components

Components such as windows, for example, appear several times on a building. And rather than creating everything yourself and repeating the process, you can simply use a premade component to add to your design.

 

Components use edges and faces, like all of SketchUp’s geometry. And you need to make sure that each component has a definition and an instance.

 

The definition tells you how the component appears. It’s basically a description of what it is and how it looks.

 

And every time you add the same component repeatedly, you’re creating a new instance of it in your design.

Dynamic Components

Dynamic components are like regular ones, except that they can produce more advanced effects.

 

These will include at least one of the following:

 

  1. Constrained values. Certain aspects of a component may need to stay the same regardless of the overall size. This could be the width of a fencepost, no matter how tall it is.
  2. Repetitive elements. Subcomponents within a component can multiply as you increase the scale—such as stairs, for example.
  3. Configurable values. Predefined values in a kitchen appliance, or something similar, are useful when adding some components.
  4. Animated features. Animated dynamic components make use of the Interact tool to move them. Windows and doors, for instance, can open and close.

How to insert a component

It’s simple to insert a component through the Components panel. There’s a sampler that shows a number of possibilities. You can use one of these or go for the more complete selection at the SketchUp 3D Warehouse.

 

Just enter a word into the 3D Warehouse search box and find the best match for your needs. 

 

It’s also possible to insert your own components from a file on your device. Select File > Import and go to where your component is saved. Click Open.

 

After downloading or selecting one of SketchUp’s components, click on the area where you would like to enter it into your design.

 

You can later replace the components if necessary. To do this, go to the Components panel and choose the Model icon to show the components in your model’s collection.

 

Select the component or components that you want to replace. Now context-click the new component and click Replace Selected.

Editing and developing components.

Developing components and dynamic components is fairly straightforward once they’re inserted. And some of the most commonly used edits include scaling, flipping and rotating.

 

Scaling a component only affects the individual instance that you select. To do this, use the Scale tool.

 

Flipping means mirroring the component along an axis. Simply context-click the component and select Flip Along.

 

Rotating a component utilises the Rotate tool and the Move tool. 

 

If you want to reload a component from its original file, then this will override any changes. And to create a separate file from any changes, context-click and choose Save As.

About Elmtec

Elmtec have been the UK distribution partner for SketchUp since 2010, and service a network of UK and Irish resellers. We have over 22 years’ experience within the digital design community.

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